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Kyoto in motion: Fresh greenery adds touch of vibrancy to 'Path of Philosophy'

KYOTO -- Fresh greenery has added a touch of vibrancy to the popular tourist spot "Path of Philosophy," but few people have been seen strolling in the area due to the coronavirus state of emergency.

    Every May numerous people visit the walking path, dubbed Tetsugaku no Michi in Japanese, but the number of tourists has decreased this year due to the emergency, so many restaurants and souvenir shops around the path are not open.

    Fresh greenery adds color to the Path of Philosophy in Kyoto's Sakyo Ward, as seen in this photo taken on May 10, 2021. (Mainichi/Kazuki Yamazaki)

    Despite many people opting to stay at home, this reporter recently walked along the path in Kyoto's Sakyo Ward early in the morning with a camera in hand to convey the charm of the area to those who can not visit. Birds singing, the murmuring of water, and the swaying of leaves echoed throughout the area.

    The Path of Philosophy runs for about 1.5 kilometers from around Ginkaku-ji temple to Kumano Nyakuoji shrine. It's located along a branch of Lake Biwa Canal, and visitors often enjoy the scenery of cherry blossoms in spring and red leaves in autumn.

    About 400 cherry trees, including the Someiyoshino, were planted along the path after Japanese-style painter Hashimoto Kansetsu donated them in the Taisho era (1912-1926). Small red fruits swell on the branches of the cherry blossoms after the flowers fall from around the end of April, signaling a change in the seasons.

    A residents' group named the path after Kitaro Nishida, a prominent Japanese philosopher who worked as a professor at the then Kyoto Imperial University (present-day Kyoto University), who often strolled along the site while indulging in deep thought.

    Around 1980, stones that were originally used to pave an abandoned municipal tram line replaced the gravel on the path to make it easier to walk on. The Path of Philosophy was selected as one of the best 100 roads in Japan in 1986 by the former Ministry of Construction.

    (Japanese original by Kazuki Yamazaki, Osaka Photo Department)

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