Autumn (Tokyo Studio)

Soukou: Leaves turn yellow and fall/ snakes hide away (1 of 5)

October 30th, 2008

Soukou 6 of 15The ‘red leaves front’ (or ‘Autumn leaves front’) is sweeping through Japan from Hokkaido down to Touhoku and North of Kanto; yellow and red momiji (maple) leaves are also starting to make an appearance in other regions of the country. Tokyo-to though seems to be holding out to the front in Kanto with many momiji(s) in the public parks still boasting their emerald green leaves.

Regardless, we have been experiencing perfect autumn weather with lovely cool days and chilly nights (that require dunars!). Today presents another perfect day for walking a stretch of the Kandagawa. We chose to head upstream towards the water source. But judging from our ususal slow progress (due to frequent stopping for photographs or cups of tea), we decided on a short 4km walk from Fujiminogaoka in Suginami-ku to Inokashira Park in Mitaka city.

Some say that Inokoshira means ‘the source of water’ or ‘the source of the best drinking water’ – reflecting on the role Kandagawa played at the beginning of the Edo period on supplying drinking water to the growing population of the new captial (although this soon proved inadequate and the supply had to be largely drawn from additional Tamagawa riverworks).

It always seems amazing how quickly the landscape around the river changes. The walkways themselves are also quite different: some are plainly paved, some have seasonal plantings; some have elaborate sitting areas, some even have vegetable gardens. Upstream in the Kandagawa, there is also evidence of effort to green-ify or ‘naturalise’ the waters with plantings and introduction of a more natural habitate. Ducks and koi are plentiful in this stretch of the river. It is also intersting to see that between Fujimigaoka and Kugayama the council/ ward has closed down one side of the walk to allow the plants to grow towards the water and, perhaps in time, re-establish some form of riparian zone.

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