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Autumn Color Report 2013
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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2013/11/13 - Kyoto Report
by schauwecker

In Kyoto, too, nighttime temperatures have recently started to drop below the mark that induces the maple trees to produce autumn colors. While the season is still at an early stage in central Kyoto, some spots in the mountains north of the city center already make for some pleasant leaf peeping. In central Kyoto, the season should reach its peak in the last third of November.

Arashiyama in the northwestern outskirts of Kyoto suffered some damage by a typhoon in September this year when the Hozu River (known as Katsura River beyond the Togetsukyo Bridge) flooded parts of the popular tourist district. Fortunately, the damage was limited, and there are almost no signs left of the damage.

The forested slopes of Arashiyama have started to change colors but were still at an early stage of the season. Most of the temple gardens around the district were still predominantly green with just a minority of trees having started to change their appearance. It is likely to take at least another week until the season peaks here.

Arashiyama's Togetsukyo Bridge
The coloring of Arashiyama's forested slopes is still at an early stage
Tenryuji's pond garden displays some first pockets of color
Walking trail at Tenryuji
Vegetation around Tenryuji
Jojakkoji Temple's entrance gate is still surrounded by green maple leaves
Higher up the slopes of Jojakkoji's temple grounds some trees have turned colorful already
A yellow maple tree at Jojakkoji Temple

Next I headed to Takao, a small town in the mountains north of Kyoto's city center whose temples are known to be among the first places to display autumn colors. Takao's best koyo spot is Jingoji Temple, which is accessed via long stone stairs that take between 10 and 30 minutes to climb depending on physical condition.

The colors along the ascent to Jingoji were still at a rather early stage, but the temple grounds themselves were already offering a lot of yellow, orange and red colors. Illuminations are held at Takao during the entire month of November from 17:00 to 20:00, while Jingoji's temple grounds are lit up until November 23 from 17:00 to 19:00.

Along the ascent to Jingoji Temple
Restaurant along the ascent to Jingoji Temple
The final set of stairs towards Jingoji Temple
Colorful maple trees on Jingoji's temple grounds
Colorful maple trees on Jingoji's temple grounds

I concluded the reporting at Tofukuji Temple, one of Kyoto's most spectacular koyo spots. Despite being located just a short train ride from Kyoto Station, Tofukuji follows a slightly earlier coloring schedule than the average temple in the city center. And indeed the temple's hundreds of maple trees have already started to change colors, and probably require about another week of cold temperatures to reach the peak of their seasonal beauty.

Colors have started to appear at Tofukuji Temple
Luxurious times - in one week from now this balcony will be packed with four tourists per square meter
Dry garden lacking autumn colors
Moss garden with fallen maple leaf

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List of Posts:
2013/12/11 - Tokyo Report
2013/12/10 - Kyoto Report
2013/12/06 - Kamakura Report
2013/12/03 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/29 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/28 - Kanazawa Report
2013/11/27 - Osaka Report
2013/11/26 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/26 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/21 - Miyajima Report
2013/11/20 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/19 - Korankei Report
2013/11/18 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/18 - Fujigoko Report
2013/11/13 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/12 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/11 - Sakurayama Report
2013/11/08 - Karuizawa Report
2013/11/06 - Fujigoko Report
2013/10/30 - Towada Report
2013/10/29 - Nikko Report
2013/10/29 - Yamadera Report
2013/10/28 - Urabandai Report
2013/10/22 - Gunma Report
2013/10/18 - Nasu Report
2013/10/17 - Nikko Report
2013/10/14 - Fujisan Report
2013/10/12 - Hakkodasan Report
2013/10/10 - Oze Report
2013/10/08 - Nikko Report
2013/09/27 - Tateyama Report
2013/09/21 - Kurodake Report
2013/09/20 - Asahidake Report

Tours and Experiences