Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Togetsukyo bridge

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.


Anonymous said...


I have lived in Kyoto for 4 years in my college days, so I like to
visit Kyoto.I can't say the reason clearly why I like Kyoto, but we can find old and new(tradition and modern)in the city.
Buildings, life style, customs, language they are speaking, and so on.
There are people who keep tradition as their job.

These tings are so exciting to me.
Because we are living now,in the stream from the past, and today will lead to the future.
So today is a part of the past and the future.

Anonymous said...

The unknown is usually seen as fantasy because we superimpose on it our expectations of what it is like. But I wonder if, perhaps, what we call "the known" is just an elaborate fantasy, and the unknown is more real than we could imagine.

Anonymous said...

me two, the first Ms/Mr. Anonymous.

I had been living in Kyoto for 4 years in my college days, therefore the city always makes me feel very nostalgic.