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Friday Photo: November 2015

I am sure that it comes as no surprise to anyone that my photo from this month is one of foliage.

What IS it about that season that just makes my heart sing? Even from the time I was young, I always felt an affinity towards the months of fall and the idea of anything apple, pumpkin or maple-themed … well, color me happy. The only thing I “failed” on was my dreamed-of autumn wedding. Instead, my husband and I got married on a spring day in April with the cherry blossoms of Washington DC in full bloom.

If that wasn’t a sign that we’d end up in Japan, I don’t know what was.

But you won’t find any blossom pictures here (until spring, that is). Nope, November’s photo of the month is all about leaves.

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Having spent the past three Novembers on trips to Kyoto, I can safely say I have managed to see most of the major sights at their autumn best. But I love when I stumble across a place I’ve either overlooked previously or that simply takes my breath away. On my most recent trip last week, that location was Tenjuan.

Tenjuan is a subtemple of Nanzen-ji, a large temple complex on the eastern side of Kyoto that is known for having one of the largest entrance gates in Japan. (It’s huge – you should check it out.) I’ve eaten tofu here, ended an autumn hike here and even popped into one or two of the smaller subtemples. But somehow I never factored in a visit to Tenjuan, tucked away in the southeast corner of the complex.

Tenjuan appeals to any kind of garden lover as it has so many components. You enter to a¬†karesansui¬†(raked stone) garden and then proceed into a stroll garden centered around a pond. There’s stepping stones, a tea house, a bamboo grove, a bridge and gorgeous scenery at every turn. Someday I will master the art of making every turn in my own garden a revelation. Until then, I will simply return over and over again to Tenjuan and soak up the atmosphere of this supremely appealing place.

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