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Autumn Color Report 2012
Official autumn color reports by japan-guide.com

Where to see autumn leaves? - When do trees turn colors? - What trees turn colors?
Schedule of upcoming reports - Post your own report

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2012/11/07 - Kyoto Report
by schauwecker

Even though the peak of Kyoto's fall foliage season is still about two weeks ahead, I visited the city for an early first autumn color report today. We plan to continue reporting from Japan's koyo capital at least once per week until the season approaches its end in about a month from now.

Unlike Eastern and Northern Japan where the summer was an exceptionally hot one, Kyoto experienced only a somewhat hotter summer than usual, while temperatures during the past month were average or even below average. Accordingly, the pace of the colors in Kyoto is only moderately delayed. Comparing today's colors with past years, it seems to me that this year's pace is more like the pace in 2010 rather than in the more heavily delayed 2011.

I started the day with a visit to Arashiyama, at the northwestern outskirts of the city. The trees in the district have noticeably started to color, but were generally still at a rather early stage of the season. A few exceptionally advanced trees delighted tourists here and there.

The trees behind the Togetsukyo Bridge have only just started to change colors
Nisonin Temple's approach starts to get colorful
Featured in this year's advertising campaign by JR Central, Nisonin will surely grow more crowded soon
A pocket of advanced colors at Nisonin Temple
The gate of nearby Jojakkoji is still surrounded by green maple trees
Some colors around Jojakkoji's pagoda
Jojakkoji Temple
The trees in Tenryuji Temple's garden have started to change colors
Close-up on some particularly nice colors at Tenryuji

Next I headed to Takao, a small town in a forested valley just north of the city center. Jingoji Temple is a spectacular autumn color spot, known to peak a week or so ahead of the city center. Consequently, it is a recommended destination for early koyo hunters. While still not at the peak of its autumnal beauty, Jingoji offered already some quite spectacular colors. Illuminations around Jingoji Temple are held every evening through the month of November from 17:00 to 20:00.

Down in the valley of Takao, the colors are still at an early stage
Along the steep approach to Jingoji
Up on Jingoji's temple grounds, some trees are already quite advanced
The best colors of the day at Jingoji Temple

After returning into central Kyoto, I next visited Eikando, another prime destination among Kyoto's autumn color spots. However, colors were still at an early state at the temple, which still charged the 600 yen admission fee instead of the 1000 yen it requests during the peak of the season. Seasonal illuminations will be held daily from November 11 to December 5 from 17:30 to 20:30.

Approach to Eikando
Green is still dominant at Eikando
View onto Eikando's temple grounds from the pagoda
One of the more colorful perspectives at Eikando

Kiyomizudera is one of the later autumn color spots in Kyoto, not usually peaking until late November. Nevertheless, I paid a visit to the popular landmark to confirm that Kiyomizudera's temple grounds are still predominantly green. Illuminations will be held daily from November 10 to December 2 from 18:30 to 21:30.

Trees have only just started to change colors at Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera's Koyasu Pagoda has recently been uncovered after years of renovation

I concluded the day with a visit to Tofukuji, one of Japan's most outstanding koyo spots. Tofukuji is among the earlier places in central Kyoto to start coloring, but was also still at a rather early stage of the season. A few more cool nights will soon turn it much more busy.

Tofukuji at an early stage of the season (and in bad light conditions in the late afternoon)
In a few days, Tofukuji's Tsutenkyo Bridge will be much more crowded
Green maple trees and moss at Tofukuji Temple

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List of Posts:
2012/12/11 - Tokyo Report
2012/12/07 - Tokyo Report
2012/12/05 - Kamakura Report
2012/12/02 - Kyoto Report
2012/12/01 - Tokyo Report

2012/11/29 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/29 - Himeji Report
2012/11/27 - Tokyo Report
2012/11/26 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/25 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/23 - Miyajima Report
2012/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/21 - Tokyo Report
2012/11/21 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/19 - Takaosan Report
2012/11/16 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/15 - Mount Fuji Report
2012/11/15 - Shosenkyo Report
2012/11/14 - Hakone Report
2012/11/13 - Tokyo Report
2012/11/09 - Sakurayama Report
2012/11/08 - Koyasan Report
2012/11/07 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/07 - Nikko Report
2012/11/07 - Yamadera Report
2012/11/06 - Naruko Report
2012/11/05 - Hiraizumi Report
2012/11/05 - Mount Fuji Report
2012/11/01 - Kuju Report

2012/10/31 - Towada Report
2012/10/30 - Bandai Report
2012/10/26 - Minakami Report
2012/10/24 - Nikko Report
2012/10/22 - Alpine Route Report
2012/10/18 - Noboribetsu Report
2012/10/18 - Sounkyo Report
2012/10/17 - Shiretoko Report
2012/10/16 - Norikura Report
2012/10/16 - Nikko Report
2012/10/15 - Kamikochi Report
2012/10/12 - Oze Report
2012/10/11 - Hachimantai Report
2012/10/10 - Bandai Report
2012/10/09 - Nikko Report
2012/10/05 - Route 292 Report
2012/10/04 - Alpine Route Report

2012/09/28 - Kurodake Report
2012/09/27 - Kogen Onsen Report
2012/09/26 - Asahidake Report
2012/09/21 - Asahidake Report
2012/09/20 - Kurodake Report
2012/09/18 - Asahidake Report