Natsukashii: Fall Temple Strolls

If I had to look through the many memories I experienced in Japan, I would have to say that the most favourable of them were during the fall. Canada and Japan may share many similarities in experiencing seasonal variation, however there are a few things they do in Japan that really makes this season come alive.

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From the smell of burning fields in the inaka, the roasting flavours of konbini sweet potato, to enjoying a steaming outdoor onsen surrounded by reddening foliage and momiji trees. These are a few of the highlights of fall in the Japanese countryside. It is a moment of cool relief from the summer’s blistering heat before the wet and numbing cold of winter. It is also a time to reflect on the highlights of nature, at which can be done by sending seasonal post card greetings or embarking on a pilgrimage to see the autumn landscape in Kyoto.

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In fact, venturing to and climbing up mountain temples in the fall was one of my most revered memories and one I miss most of all. For me there was no better feeling than to breath in crisp air while climbing along the moss speckled steps of a mountain temple. The reward was getting to the top and being able to see the glorious view and symphony of autumn’s brightest colours shimmering on a sea of trees. Then after a moment of taking in the spectacular view I would enjoy a nice cup of roasted brown rice tea (genmai-cha) either from the mountain snack shop or a vending machine, which I was always surprised to find at the top of a mountain.

These outings to temples in the fall were always a great day to spend the afternoon. Although it is a bit more difficult to share the exact experience in the surrounding Toronto area, there are plenty of beautiful hilltops and cliffs overlooking just as magnificent Canadian Maple Forests. Just don’t forget to bring the tea, since it will be hard to find vending machines.

Written by Judy Cerovski

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