The 15 breathtaking view locations of autumn leaves in Kyoto! Also, we tell you the best time to see and illuminate time.
In autumn Kyoto, when we feel the little winter in the morning and evening air. The autumn leaves are at their best of see.
Beautiful autumn leaves in the historical temples, fallen leaves in the mossy garden, the mountains are covered by autumn foliage, illuminated autumn colors in the dark night…..
Over the thousand nights, the magnificent scenery which is fascinating every Kyoto people. In this year, which spot do you want to visit in autumn Kyoto?
1．The synonymous with autumn leaves in Kyoto 【Eikando (Zenrin-ji temple )】
From the ancient time, MiyakoBito(Ancient Kyoto citizen) usually say “We should visit Eikando for watching autumn leaves.” That scenery is one of the most popular in Kyoto. It is visited by many sightseers every year.
There are colored 3,000 trees they make a picturesque scenery which is like a Japanese brocade.
「おく山の（ Oku Yama no )岩がき紅葉( Iwa Gaki Momiji )散りぬべし( Tirinu besi )
照る日の光（ Teruhi no Hikari ) 見る時なくて（Miru Toki Nakute) ( Composed by Fujiwara no Sekio )」
※It means, deep inside the mountain, this autumn colored tree surrounded by outstanding rocks.
It leaves will must be fallen without any opportunity to see the shining sun light.
This waka is written in the Kokin-wakashu it is named “Iwagaki Momiji”. It displays the autumn tree in the back shrine of Eikando. Even though it is over 1000 years ago, still we can see the same situation.
The official name of Eikando is Zenrin-ji temple. It is originally Shinjo(Kukai’s apprentice) was given the mountain villa by Fujiwara, and he use it as the Dojo of Shingon sect in 853.
Jiho-ten (temple treasures show) is held in every November. At the same time, Eikando opens to the public.
Fantastic illuminated autumn leaves view, it becomes unforgettable scene for you.
【The illumination time in 2018】
3-November (Sat.) to 2-December (San.)
【How to access Eikando (Zenrin temple)】
・Get off at Subway Tozai Line “Kegami” station, and about 15 minutes on foot from the station.
・Get off at Kyoto city bus “Nanzenji Eikon doodo” bus stop, and about 3 minutes on foot from the station.
2.The magnificent autumn colors view from 22m height of Sanmon (Three gates) 【Nanzen-ji temple】
Nanzen-ji temple is the headquartersof the Nanzen-ji branch of the Rinzai Sect of Zen Buddhism.
If you enter here, sublimity gates of Sanmon will catch your eyes. It is also called as 「Tenka Ryumon」(It means The whole world dragon gate. ) It is counted as a part of Japan’s three major gates.
▲The scenery from San-Mon.
「Zekkei kana, Zekkei kana」(Meaning = What an amazing view.)
This is in the kabuki drama “Sanmon Gosan-no-Kiri,” Goemon Ishikawa’s famous word. When he watch the scenery from Sanmon of Nanzenji-temple, he said like this.
This autumn leaves view from 22m height of Nanzenji-temple Sanmon, it is absolutly amazing view exceeding
Also, speaking of Nanzenji-temple, Lake Biwa Canal which was built to transport water Lake Biwa to Kyoto City is famous spot too.
The arch of red bricks “Suirokaku Aquaduct” and autumn leaves, they made beautiful contrast.
【How to access Nanzenji-temple】
・Get off at Subway Tozai Line “Kegami station” and about 10 minutes on foot from the station.
・Get off at Kyoto city bus “Higashi-Tenno City” or “Minami-Nanzenji-temple Eikando”
and about 10 minutes from the bus stop.
3. Amazing view of Yama-Momiji (Mountain maples) which beyond the time of thousand years.
Arashiyama, it was loved by ancient Kyoto people. This place is foremost Kyoto’s scenic spot.
Togetsukyo Bridge is the best locate for enjoying beautiful Yama-Momiji.
This bridge is historical. It begins in 834 to 848.
The name of Togetsukyo is derived from Kameyama emperor’s Haiku. This bridge and Arashiyama make symbolic and fascinating view of Kyoto for a long time.
【How to access Arashiyama Togetsukyo-bridge】
・Get off at Keifuku Electric Rail Arashiyama Line · Hankyu Arashiyama Line ”Arashiyama
station”and about 5 minutes on foot from the station.
・Get off at Kyoto city bus “Arashiyama Tenryuuji mae” and about 5 minutes from the bus stop.
4. Related Heike stories spot, mossy hermitage autumn leaves 【Gion temple】
From Arashiyama to the end of bamboo grove, Gion temple quietly standing in front of a nallow alleys of the road of Oku Saga. It is known to famous temple for watching autumn leaves.
The name of Gion temple is derived from Gio a dancing girl who won Taira no Kiyomori’s favor. She is exiled from Kyoto because of Kiyomori’s change of mind. After that, she was joined this temple with her mother and sister.
Green mossy garden, red falling leaves… Repeating season shift and her tragic love episode, they are on my heart together with the end of fall.
【How to access Gion temple】
・Get off at Keifuku Electric Rail Arashiyama Line or JR Sagano Line ”Saga Arashiyama
Station” and about 20 minutes on foot from the station.
・Get off at Kyoto city bus “Saga Syakado mae” and about 15 minutes from the bus stop or get off
“Saga Shogakko (elementary school) mae” and about 17 minutes on foot from the bus stop.
5. The picturesque autumn view 【Houkyouin】
Houkyouin is a temple of Rinzai sect which os located in Arashiyama Sagano. The brilliant autumn leaves garden is broadcast and too much tourist visit here. This fascinating garden view, wherever you see, it takes your breath away.
Especially the scene from the main temple, it is the best of view.
Firstly, you visit the Honzon (principal image of worship), and look back, you can watch the breathtaking autumn view which is framed by the shoji frame.
※Even though we can take a photo by phone’s camera or hand-held camera, we cannot full-fledged shooting such as while use a camera with tripod.
【How to access Houkyouin】
・Get off at Keifuku Electric Rail Arashiyama Line or JR Sagano Line ”Saga Arashiyama station”
and about 12 minutes on foot from the station.
・Get off at Kyoto city bus “Saga Syakado mae” and about 4 minutes from the bus stop.
6.Fantastic autumn leaves which reflects on the floor 【Jisso-in】
Jisso-in is a head priest of Temple of Jimon School of the Tendai sect which is one of construction of the Kamakura period. The honzon is Hudo-Myouou that is grant the people’s wishes widely. So, a lot of people visit here to pray and many temple treasures are left behind.
▲「Stone garden」 Picture provider : Jisso-in
The one of famous autumn leaves spot is storn garden of Karesansui (dry-garden style) which is borrowed landscape of Mt. Hiei. It commands a distant view of Mt. Hiei, peacefulness neat stone garden, and red maple trees, they create breathtaking view.
▲「Floor Momiji(Red maples)」 Picture provider : Jisso-in
Also, the another spot is Floor Momiji which is reflected on the floor in the Taki (water fall) room. Reflected autumn leaves on the black polished floor, this fantastic view becomes unforgettable memory for you.
※It is prohibited to take a Floor Momiji pikture.
【How to access Jisso-in】
・Get off at Hiei Electric Rail Arashiyama Line or JR Kurama Line ”Iwakura station” and about 16 minutes on foot from the station.
・Get off at Kyoto city bus “Iwakura Jisso-in” and nearby here.
7. Warabe Jizo(Child Jizo) and fallen colors in the mossy garden.【Sanzen-in】
Sanzen-in is a one of the five Monzeki temples of Tendai sect, a lot of cultural assets including a national treasure Amida Sanzon statue are settled in here.
It is too famous spot to us to watch autumn leaves, this scenery spreading on a large site and too much sightseer is fascinated.
Even though there are a lot of famous spot, we recommend Yuusei-en garden. In the green mossy garden, there are a lot of Warabe Jizos which are created by Kosaku Sugimura, they are smiling to the visiters.
The collaboration view of fallen leaves, moss and Jizos. We only can watch it in this place.
【How to access Sanzen-in】
・Get off at Kyoto city bus “Ohara” and about 10 minutes on foot from the station.
8. Luxurious autumn leaves view reflected on the pond. 【Daigo temple】
▲「Benten-do」 picture provider:Daigo temple
Daigo temple has a lot of scenery spot in the 2 million tsubo (Approximately 6.6 million ㎡）extensive precincts.
The best of autumn leaves spot is 「Bentendo」of Shimo-Daigo which enshrines a one of the seven deities of good fortune Benzaiten.
From the other side of the hall, you can watch vermilion Bentendo and the bridge, and trees dyed in color they are reflected on the pond and create gorgeous autumn view.
(Editional note: In 08/08/2018, we have stopped entering the mountain to Kami Daigo Because of the typhoon 21 that landed on September 4, the same year, if you plan to visit here, please check the official website.)
【How to access Daigo temple】
・Get off at subway Touzai Line ”Daigo station” and about 15 minutes on foot from the station.
・Get off at Kyoto city bus “Daigoji” or “Daigoji Mae”and nearby here.
9. Decorated long approach by scattered red leaves 【Bishamonndo】
Bisyamondo which enshrines a one of the seven deities of good fortune Bishamonten. Surrounded by trees, there is a quaint Ikezumi grand garden 「Banuien」. Not only it but also there are a lot of autumn leaves spot in this popular temple.
Especially a long approach to Tyokushi Gate. In the deep autumn, the scattered leaves from the trees dyed the road like a red carpet.
【How to access Bishamondo】
・Get off at JR Toukaido line or subway Touzai Line ”Yamashina station” Keihan or Electric rail
Keihan Dentetsu line “Keihan Yamashina station”and about 20 minutes on foot from the station.
10. The autumn leaves garden of Kyoto citizen’s relaxation place 【Umekouji Park・Suzaku garden】
Umanokouji Park, 15 minutes on foot from Kyoto station. It is popular spot with wide lawn space, Kyoto aquarium and Kyoto railway museum. Not only sightseer but also local people gather this place.
There is a Japanese garden 「Suzaku garden」in the park, this is a tourist spot for watching autumn leaves. There is a shallow called 「Mizu Kagami(Water mirror)」in the central Ikeizumi stroll garden. It reflects surround beautiful leaves.
Illumination event 「Umenokouji park autumn leaves festival」is held in middle of November to early December. In the event, you can enjoy a different view from the daytime.
【How to access Umekouji Park・Suzaku garden】
・Get off at every rail way “Kyoto station” and about 15 minutes from the station.
・Get off at Kyoto city bus “Umenokouji Kouen mae” or “Shitijou Omiya・Kyoto suizokukan
mae” or “Umenokouji Kouen・Kyouto tetsudou hakubutukan mae” and nearby here
11. A world-wide autumn leaves spot loved by various countries people.【Kiyomizu temple】
There is no need any explanation spot 「Kiyomizu temple」. Even if you don’t live in Kyoto, didn’t you visit on a school trip?
4 million tourists visit this temple each year. If you visit here in the autumn season, it becomes more attractive spot.
Even though you can enjoy autumn view everywhere in the precincts, especially we recommend Kinunkei gorge under the Kiyomizu stage. If you watch it, you can enjoy breathtaking view.
Also, there is an another famous spot 「Sanjuuno To(Triple tower)」. This 60m vermilion tower and autumn leaves, they make us the atmosphere of Kyoto.
This temple is illuminated in middle of November to early December. Especially in this season,there are a lot of tourists gather here. Just before and after the resuming gate in the evening, there is a long queue up to Sannen Zaka(three year slope) So, we recommend after a few hours from it or just before the closing gate time.
Furthermore, in November usually gets crowded, if you want to avoid it, then you should visit during December.
【Illumination time in 2018 (Special view time in the autumn night)】
17-November (Sat.) to 2-December(San.) 17:30~21:00
※Kiyomizu temple is under construction until 2021. So, it possibly you cannot watch the temple like a picture. However we can enter here as usual.
【How to access Umekouji Park・Suzaku garden】
・Get off at electric rail Keihan “Kyoto station” and about 25 minutes from the station.
・Get off at Kyoto city bus “Gojouzaka” and about 10 minutes from the station.
12. Autumn leaves spot where 35 thousand tourist visit in the peak season.【Toufuku temple】
Toufuku temple, it has the biggest and oldest Buddihist temple. It is the one of best historical temple.
Also, there is a famous garden handed by garden artist Mirei Shigemori who is representing the Showa era.
In the past, monk afraid cherry blossom viewers interrupt their training. So, they cut the all trees from the precincts.
After that, they planted the maple trees as a replacement of it. As a result, Tofuku temple was become a famous autumn leaves spot.
The three bridges that cross the ravine Sengyokukan crossing the east and west in the premises. Those bridges are called Ganun Bridge, Tsuuten Bridge and Engetsu Bridge. Tourists usually take a photo of collaboration between each bridge and autumn leaves. So, a lot of photo enthusiasts visit here for it.
▲It will be fun to watch the autumn leaves while walking through Tsuten Bridge.
Autumn leaves of Tofuku temple that has been appointed as a TV commercial and tourist poster. If you have never watched this superb view, then you should visit here in the autumn.
【How to access Toufuku temple】
・Get off at JR Nara line or electric rail Keihan “TofukuJI station” and about 10 minutes from the station.
・Get off at Kyoto city bus “Toufukuji” and about 5 minutes from the station.
13. Autumn leaves of a shrine where there is a god of maridge 【Kibune shrine】
▲Kibune shrine settled in the mountainous area Sakyo Kyoto city.
About 40 minutes north from Kyoto city by car. 「Kibune shrine」which is settled at the foot of Kurama mountain,
It shows beautiful appearance every season, such as spring fresh green and illuminated event in the winter snow day.
Many worshipers visit every year for watching photogenic shining shrine in the nature.
▲Kasuga lanterns with the approach which is frequently posted on TV and magazine.
The approach to the shrine which representative place. In the autumn season, it and the autumn leaves show more beautiful scene.
Also, all the inside of precincts, besides along the highway leading leading to Okumiya are lighted up, surrounding area is surrounded by gentle light. Why do not you visit enjoying the beauty of eternity that makes you almost forget about the time?
【Usual lighted up season】
Early November to late November.
【How to access Kifune shrine】
・Get off at electric rail Eizan “Kifuneguchi station” and about 30 minutes from the station.
・Get off at Kyoto city bus “Kifune” and about 5 minutes from the station.
14. The autumn leaves garden which is opened only twice a year【Rurikoin】
「Rurikoin」 is in the place which walked about 5 minutes on foot from Yaso Hieizanguchi station at the end of station of Eizan main line. It is a famous temple in a quiet mountain. On the about 12,000 tsubo (about 40 thousand ㎡), there is a famous garden with nature as a landscape, it gives pease of mind to the hearts of visitors.
This Rurikoin previously it was only for people involved to enter. However, it is now open to public only twice in spring and autumn for protecting cultural properties and public interests.
▲The spectacle like a movie scene is in front of us! Such a “Kinshu” (Beautiful autumn view which is like brocade).
If you visit here in the autumn public season, you can watch at the beautiful autumn garden. However, if you want to look around, you must purchase a limited ticket for that day.
Start selling tickets every morning 9:00. If you get surely, we recommend you should go to the store before sales start time.
【Special release term in autumn 2018 】
1-October (Mon.) to 10-December (Mon.)
【How to access Rurikoin】
・Get off at electric rail “Yeze Hieizan station” or Hieizan cable “Yeze station” and about 5 minutes from the station.
・Get off at Kyoto city bus “Yeze Ekimae” and about 7 minutes from the station.
15. The Takao autumn leaves which fascinated the ancient Kyoto citizen for long times.
Takao located in the middle of Takao Mountain which is settled in the northwest of Kyoto city.
Tsuganoo located in the upper streanmof Kiyotaki River and Masanoo located in the middle of the river.
They are called as Mio (Three “o”), and have been popular as a famous autumn leaves spots.
Here is dotted with three red leaves sights, 「Shingo temple(Takao)」,「Saimyou temple(Makinoo)」,「Kosan temple(Tsuganoo)」 each of which is on a short walking distance.
▲Shigetsukyo bridge crossing over the Kiyotaki River. Attractive autumn view spreads before enter the precincts.
▲ The famous Buddhism priests Kukai and Saicho, they stayed in Shingo temple. You should show the temple treasure as well.
The recommended way to sightseeing, firstly, go to Kosan temple in the upper stream of Kiyotaki river by bus.
From there to the Saimyou temple and Shingo temple while watching the valley. Each place has different sights, so, you can enjoy autumn leaves over half a day.
Even though it is nearby famous spot Arashiyama, it atmosphere is far from hustle and bustle. So, if you want to enjoy
Kyoto autumn quietly, we recommend it.
(Editional department note: As of 10/10/2018, we are stopping the admiraion of Kosan temple because of typhoon 21 in 4/9 of the same year. Regarding current situation, please check the official website.)
【How to access Rurikoin】
・Get off at Kyoto city bus “Takao” or JR bus “Yamashiro Takao”, “Makinoo” or “Suganoo”
In the end
How was it? Although we could not introduce, there are a lot of Red leaves spot in Kyoto. Such as 「the way of philosophy」 that can walk around in front of the gate of Ginkaku temple, 「Fushimi-Inari Taisha」 is popular for foreigner and 「Maruyama park」 for the relaxation place of Kyoto citizen.
In this season, every spot of Kyoto is crowded. However, depends on a time such as early morning, you can look around the spots smoothly.
Let’s plan well in advance such as time and place by a map or guide book. It is also good idea to organize a schedule together with the unique Kyoto culture and experience.
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※the pictures are before 2016.
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