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Ah-yup. That's Kiyomizu Dera (Kiyomizu Temple) up there, one of Kyoto's more famous -- and crowded -- attractions. (Martha, hurry up and take a picture! The bus is leaving!)

During Steve's first year in Japan (1979!), he lived by the lake just over the mountain from Kyoto, so he considers these environs to be his ol' stompin' grounds. But since moving to Kobe in 1980, he hasn't done as much stompin' in Kyoto as he'd like. Not that Kyoto is too far away (about an hour by train)...Kobe simply has enough going on to keep him busy. Still, Kyoto is full of good memories and great stompin' sites, so when Yoko suggested spending a Sunday in Kyoto viewing the fall foliage, Steve grabbed his camera and a couple handfuls of kids, and took off running for the train station.

Our idea was to go first to Maruyama Koen to view the fall foliage, then walk down a back alley to Kyomizu temple and view some more foliage.

Not many changes since Steve was last here. Temples are still a thousand years old. Some of the trees, too, judging from the one at right.

Note: One of the goals of the trip was to get a nice picture of the family to use on our nengajo (new year postcard). Alas, as you can see from the picture at right, it is astrophysically impossible to get four people to look at the camera long enough to get their picture taken. This was one of 4 attempts, after which I gave up. So what does our nengajo look like?

Naturally, we happened to pick the one weekend that was considered best for fall foliage viewing in Kyoto, so we got to meet the entire population of Japan wending its way along this very narrow alley. Hi, guys!

Yoko mentioned that Keri wanted a fan. Well, here's where to get them. Which one do you want, Keri?

Goal! That's Kyomizu temple in the background. You can't see the crowds from this angle, but all of those people we met on the side street on the way to Kiyomizu finally ended up here.

From Kyomizu Dera, a trail wanders around the side of the mountain to a much smaller temple, but not many people seem to know about it or have time to walk the trail. Yet it offers quite a spectacular view of the main complex.

See the masses of white dots on the platform? Them's people. Say hello to the national population!

Oh, and yes, the fall foliage WAS spectacular.

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