Kyoto, Japan 12/12/2016








take the JR line to Saga-Arishiyama
she hums along
clickety clack, clickety clack

see the town fan out below

apartment houses
wooden walls
ninnen-ji pagoda
rising in the distance

the hills loom large as we head west
great green rollers specked with brown and
cresting towards the north

the city whizzes by all chock-a-block
cut this way & that with hills and temples

we come to a stop at the station

a hum of tourists
station workers

into the streets
past kimono rentals
curry shops and
noodle houses

souvenirs &
second hand stores

a warren of restaurants
rickshaws & cafes

soon we come to the katsura river
white gleam of water rippling beneath the mountain sun
the famed togetsu-kyo bridge stretches over
forested hills plunge down to the far shore
flecked with temple roofs &

we stop for lunch along the riverside

a feast of soba, two different ways
cold for dipping
hot in a mushroom soup
later we add warm miso water to the dipping sauce

tempura-don & sardines on rice
pickles too
while the river rolls

we walk along it come afternoon
watching boatmen pole the river bottom

white cranes
a dam pushing water over

we turn into kameyama-koen park
past flowers & the
poet’s statues

come to okochi sans villa
and explore her rambling hillside gardens
moss, bamboo
japanese maple

from a rise on the hill we see the river and mountains beyond
all red & glorious
ravens sing out above in the hills circling

there’s a temple there
in the crook of the mountains
rising from the forest
colored flags a-flying

stepping stones lead us down to the tea house
matcha tea & cookies
overlooking a bamboo garden

soon we find ourselves within arishiyama bamboo grove
towers of green as far as the eye can see
a forest of poles blotting out the sky above

we explore the zen gardens of tenryu-ji beside
full of rivers, carp ponds
camelias & mountain views

from there it’s on to more temples still
jojakko-ji with her poet’s shrine
and sacred lotus sutra pagoda

purifying water
the hill rolls down through the grounds
there are gravestones here
of ancient sages
a view of the city & mountains beyond

we descend into the neighborhood once more
past a poet’s house
old friend of Basho’s
stop at a french bakery for garlic bread

then it’s back on the train bound for Nijo &












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