I have been to the wonderful Arashiyama district in the suburbs of Kyoto many times, starting from the school trip at the age of 15. For some reasons, I have never crossed the Togetsukyo bridge. I do not have the faintest idea why I have not gone to the other side. It is a famous bridge, a popular tourist destination, and may people make a point of crossing the bridge, and see the river from the other side. Coming to think about it, it is strange that it never occurred to me to venture into the other side. But then I have never thought about it consciously, as if to avoid something.
Seen from the familiar Sagamino area, the other side of the Togetsukyo bridge always seemed to belong to another world. It was as if the beyond belonged to some fairy kingdom, or, more aptly, "Higan" ("The Other Side"), an important concept in Buddhist philosophy.
Yesterday the precedent was broken. I did cross the Togetsukyo bridge and go to the other side. As the fantasy materialized, it transfigured itself into a rather mundane collections of contemporary buildings, with commonplace souvenir shops and restaurants. My Higan of 30 years has disappeared.