The scene : by the river, Ashiyagawa, Japan

Rivers seemed to be everywhere on this trip to Japan.
I grew up only a few hundred meters from the Seine and always loved watching the flowing stream and the idea of living by a river. Alas my childhood fantasies were put to rest by the rather unclear waters and my mother’s fear of seeing me drown.
Now living in Paris, I more than often think about how great it would be if our famous Seine river was a tad cleaner and if we would really walk by the water and wet our feets when we feel like it.
This is pretty much how it was in Japan. The waters were crystal clear and the banks arranged so you could really interact with the river.
Ashiyagawa was our first encounter with such a place. The small town up in the hills is forty minutes away from Osaka by train, and right below the tracks is the eponymous Ashiyagawa river.
In May, the water is pretty low, and if at times the river bed is completely filled with leafy bushes, other portions offer a simple yet fabulous spectacle of children playing in the shallow waters, families gathering under umbrellas and young men sleeping in the shade.
This was the first of a long list of moments where we looked at each other puzzled by how Miyazaki-esque the scene was.

A few days ago I was marveling at an embankment in Tomo No Oura, but today is another fine example of a beautiful man-made arrangement in Japan.
There are more than two hundred cherry blossom trees lining the river, making it a sakura watching hotspot in the Spring!


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