Japan 2015: Sagano Romantic Train, Hozugawa River, Arashiyama Travel This was a day of romantic sights in Kyoto. Our morning was spent aboard the Sagano Romantic Train (also known as the Sagano Torroko Rail among other variations), excitedly standing up from our wooden seats just to get a better glimpse of the fiery red and orange momiji as the train rumbled past. Tickets for three! It was already mid-December, so we were actually quite surprised to find that the autumn leaves had yet to depart for the year. For some reason, there stands a huge family of Tanuki on one of those stations we briefly slowed down at. Half an hour later, we found ourselves alighting at the Torokko Kameoka Station in order to make room for passengers bound for the opposite direction. It was pretty sad that our romantic journey was over so soon, but thanks to Keiko-mama’s recommendation, there was little time to grieve as we had to bustle for the next stretch of our journey back to Arashiyama on the Hozugawa River Boat. We had to wait inside the terminal until our boat number was called, only then could we make our way down to the pier. Our boat had three men of varying ages taking turns to row, steer, and helm the wooden vessel – one of them was so old he looked like he should be at home resting! Felt bad that there were so many of us tourists on board. Since we were seated at the end, we were lucky to have short conversations with the rowers. They were also so kind to accommodate our requests to lift up the tarp and stand during the calmer parts of the journey! Not to say that the small rapids we encountered weren’t fun, but I wanted to take pictures too. We bought some dango and amazake at a floating food store just before our journey ended. Fun! Arashiyama beckoned with its red leaves and bamboo groves upon our shore-landing. Somehow we managed to miss a turn onto the main path, and took a smaller one up onto the parks. No regrets though, it gave me this beautiful capture. Wearing Uniqlo sweater & jeans, H&M coat, Spurr shoes. Photo assist: Ai & Ru. Photo assist: Ai & Ru. We chanced upon some breathtakingly pretty picture postcards by Nakamura Kinji among the bamboo groves! Nakamura-sensei was so patient and good-humoured when I spent so long deliberating over which ten pieces I wanted to buy – they were all so pretty! The surreal depictions of the famous landscapes – Arashiyama bamboo, Kinkakuji, Mount Fuji etc. – are painstakingly rendered in a stipple effect, and the colours are so carefully intimate within the frame of the postcard. We were loath to leave his wonderful world, but I guess some pictures would have to do. Do say hi when you visit his stall in the middle of Arashiyama! We finally headed out of the tourist spot and took a train to our next destination. Not the train tracks depicted above, but the JR subway further away (might as well, since we bought the JR Rail Pass). Came across so many pretty gingko leaves! Had a field day picking nice ones from the ground while Ai educated me on how to spot the male and female variants.