The Sound of the Japanese Autumn

japan autumn leaves takao

Like the little stream
Making its way
Through the mossy crevices
I, too, quietly
Turn clear and transparent.

– Ryōkan

The other day I travelled out to the Takao region of western Tokyo. At this time of year – and because it was a long weekend – I knew it would be packed. So as soon as I got out of the station I started walking up the main road, across a freeway towards the mountains in the distance. I cut through a graveyard and got lost, somehow ending up in the grounds of a traditional Japanese inn (pictured above) hidden away from everything. If you’ve ever had an image of what Japan looks and sounds like in autumn, this is it: red maple leaves, birds happily singing, and the gentle sound of a shamisen. 

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