A hush has fallen over the city of Kyoto: no buses rumble, no wandering masses tourists clog the streets, no tour guides spout history nor wave flags. The fall foliage season is over.
Kyoto is famous for its spring and fall, for the cherry blossoms and the maple leaves that is, and it seems that every year the television advertises more and more the secret places that only locals once enjoyed. This year whole busloads of gaping out-of-towners paraded through my neighborhood and gawked at the foreigner on his bicycle, all headed up to a tiny temple that is normally both quiet and pleasant but is neither once a thousand shutterbugs descend upon it.
That’s the problem with anaba, or secret places — once they are no longer secret they lose their hidden charm and become merely small and crowded. In any case, December is one of the best seasons for visitors to Kyoto as the city’s reputation for cold keeps most tourists away. At present it is sunny and 13 degrees Celsius — so if you can handle that much, you’ll love it.
Just stay out of my neighborhood.