It’s that time of year now when the Japanese get very excited about the brightly coloured red and yellow leaves which appear all around Japan between mid-October and mid-December depending on the part of the country. Yesterday was supposedly the best day for ‘koyo‘ in Saitama so when my Japanese teacher asked me to join her and two friends I thought I might as well. Now, I’ve never been that bothered about these leaves but fancied a day-trip and thought it would give me something to write about as, apart from a fairly vague and ever-so-slightly sexist article back in December 2006, I have never really written anything about the Autumn foliage. It has to be said that they really do highlight the beauty of all areas in much the same way that the cherry blossom does in Spring time.
It was a very early start (I had to be at one of the ladies’ nearby house by 6.50am!) yesterday and after almost a three hour drive we set out with the idea to do a 3-4 hour hike along the Arakawa river amid the maple leaves. However, that would have meant the driver taking a bus back along the route to get her car to drive back and pick us up so as a result we ended up doing parts of it by car. This meant we could just stop at the areas where the vivid colours were the most mesmerising which was usually where there were a few old men with huge cameras and tripods. Nothing compared to the madness of Tokyo’s flame-coloured leaves sights where this ‘specimen’ all seem to gather and fill the place.
The most strenuous walk we did was a steep 30 minute ascend of a mountain to see a cave which only offered a very short climb inside. Not so exciting really but it was compleltely deserted so we had our lunch there.