During the 9 months that I have been the owner and teacher of Smith’s School of English, Kawanishi スミス英会話川西校, I have done quite a lot of exploring in the area around my English school. I never cease to be amazed by the very special places that I have found in this part of Japan.
I had been discussing with Megumi, my wife, where to go to view momiji 紅葉 (red leaves of maple trees in autumn) last month. Last year we had gone to Kyoto, but the crowds had been overwhelming. So I asked one of my students, who has a deep interest in the culture of the Takarazuka 宝塚市 and Kawanishi 川西市 area, if there was anywhere local that she could recommend for viewing the wonder of Japan’s red leaves. She immediately told me of Manganji Temple 満願寺, which is in Hibarigaoka 雲雀丘, a part of Kawanishi City. This old temple is on the mountain top above the Takarazuka University of Art and Design 宝塚造形芸術大学. My student told me that the momiji at Manganji were special as there are many different species of maple, and they turn many different shades of gold and orange and red.
We travelled there on a Sunday morning. The temple is a short but very steep bus ride from Hibarigaoka Hanayashiki Hankyu Line Station 雲雀丘花屋敷駅. When we arrived there I understood what she meant. The colours were spectacular, and the temple itself is a delight. Not very big, but very lovely. There is also a forest walk lined with small statues of the Buddha dressed in red bibs.
It was wonderful to be able to enjoy this special time of year in Japan in comparative quiet: there were few people there, and it seems to be a special place for young couples. Made me feel young again.
My student was happy when I told her how much we had enjoyed ourselves, and how beautiful we had found Manganji Temple.
Smith’s School of English, Kawanishi