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Vivid autumn in Nara

I went to Nara last weekend to stay with my old high school host family.  It was about 8 months since I was last there, and I timed it just right to see Nara Park and the surrounding hills ablaze with orange, red, yellow and crimson colours as the trees put on their annual display. Tea House

The Japanese love their four seasons.  So unique, some people apparently think, that I’ve sometimes been asked whether or not my country has four seasons too.  But the koyo (紅葉) – coloured leaves – is a time when the trees put on a spectacular display and make everyone feel happy.

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As I often do when I visit Nara, I walked from home in the southern outskirts into Nara city centre, which takes about 2 hours.  The route I take is always a little different, but it follows the foothills that limit the eastern edge of the Yamato Plain, then enters Nara Park near Wakamiya Jinja at a point where the tourists don’t venture.  It’s then a walk through Nara Park to the town centre, with a quick visit, if I’ve got time, into Nara Machi, which is the city’s old quarter.  This walk passes most of the World Heritage sites that central Nara has to offer.  This time, the colours were vivid the whole way.  In particular, the ginkgo trees were bright yellow, and the maples bright red.

The next day, we took young Hiroto-kun up Wakakusayama to see the Kasuga Primeval Forest.  The colours through the forest were amazing alive, and the view across the Yamato Plain tinted with an autumnal glow.

Gingko deer

Nara from Wakakusayama

Wakakusayama to the north

Sangatsudo gingko

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