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Autumn Color Report 2011
Official autumn color reports by japan-guide.com
Guide to Autumn Colors - Schedule of upcoming reports - Post your own report

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2011/11/13 - Kyoto Report
by schauwecker

Green was still the most prominent color today

As the fall colors (koyo) are gradually descending into the lower elevations of central Japan, we made our first visit to Kyoto. The peak of the season in central Kyoto is not expected to be reached for another one to two weeks. Therefore, we first headed to Ohara, a small rural town in the mountains just north of central Kyoto, where the autumn colors are usually a few days ahead of those in the city center.

The trees are starting to change colors at Sanzenin Temple

The maple trees in Sanzenin Temple, the main attraction and koyo spot in Ohara, have only started to change their color and are likely to take another week to reach the peak of their autumnal beauty. Like last year, however, quite a few maple leaves looked dried out and brownish, making me wonder whether this year will become a particularly good one at Sanzenin.

Unfortunatelly quite a few leaves have dried out and turned brown prematurely
Carps at Sanzenin Temple
Shops and mostly green trees line the approach to Sanzenin Temple

The colors around Jakkoin Temple on the other side of the town of Ohara were at a similarly early stage with green still dominating.

Jakkoin Temple
Maple tree covered approach to Jakkoin Temple

Next we returned into central Kyoto and visited Kiyomizudera Temple whose trees were still mostly green. I do not expect the season to reach its peak here until late November.

The sea of leaves surrounding Kiyomizudera's main hall is still mostly green

A secondary purpose of today's visit to Kiyomizudera was to check on the 2-year renovation works which have started earlier this year on two of the temple's many structures, the Amida and Okunoin Halls. Like Kiyomizudera's main hall, the Okunoin Hall is well known for its wooden balcony, which is smaller than the main hall's balcony but offers some the best views of the main hall and the city beyond.

Renovation works have started on the Amida Hall (left) and Okunoin Hall (right)

A temporary pathway and small balcony have been constructed for visitors to circumvent the construction site and enjoy the famous views. Efforts to keep the impact of the construction works as small as possible are - in my opinion - successful. I felt the works to have only very little impact on the visit at this point of time.

Temporary pathway in front of the Amida and Okunoin Halls
Temporary pathway in front of the Amida and Okunoin Halls
Temporary pathway in front of the Amida and Okunoin Halls

We finished the reporting at Tofukuji Temple, one of Kyoto's best and most popular autumn color spots. Tofukuji is also one of the earlier spots to see colors. Indeed, the season here has already further progressed than at nearby Kiyomizudera. Several trees have started to provide some seasonal colors, although overall green was still predominant. I estimate the autumn colors in Tofukuji to peak in about a week.

Tofukuji Temple
Tofukuji Temple
Tofukuji Temple

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List of Posts:
2011/12/13 - Tokyo Report
2011/12/08 - Kamakura Report
2011/12/05 - Tokyo Report
2011/12/02 - Kyoto Report
2011/12/01 - Nara Report

2011/11/30 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/29 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/28 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/27 - Tokyo Report
2011/11/27 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/23 - Kanazawa Report
2011/11/22 - Tokyo Report
2011/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/21 - Miyajima Report
2011/11/20 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/18 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/15 - Tokyo Report
2011/11/13 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/12 - Unzen Report
2011/11/09 - Sakurayama Report
2011/11/08 - Fujigoko Report
2011/11/04 - Kurobe Report
2011/11/02 - Mitakesan Report

2011/10/27 - Nikko Report
2011/10/27 - Towadako Report
2011/10/26 - Hakkodasan Report
2011/10/21 - Fukushima Report
2011/10/20 - Zao Report
2011/10/19 - Naruko Report
2011/10/12 - Nikko Report
2011/10/12 - Oze Report
2011/10/07 - Nasu Report
2011/10/03 - Nikko Report

2011/09/27 - Norikura Report
2011/09/14 - Ginsendai Report
2011/09/13 - Asahidake Report

Tours and Experiences