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Autumn Color Report 2015
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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2015/11/09 - Koyasan Report
by raina

Passageway to the Garan

After Miyajima yesterday, I headed for another important religious site, this time in Wakayama Prefecture. My destination was Mount Koya, center of Shingon Buddhism, and where the sect's founder, Kobo Daishi is believed to rest in eternal meditation. This year is the 1200th anniversary since Kobo Daishi was led to Koyasan and established the sect's headquarters there. The town of Koyasan lies about 1000 meters above sea level, and autumn colors here can be seen earlier compared to cities like Osaka and Kyoto. Today, most of the fall colors at Koyasan were at their peak and should remain beautiful for a while more before the leaves start to fall.

Koyasan lies about 50 kilometers south of Osaka. It takes about 1.5 hours from central Osaka to get to the town where the main temples are. The skies were overcast as I made my way towards the mountain and it drizzled on occasion while I was there. From Koyasan Station, I took the local bus to Okunoin, my first stop of the day. I was glad that most of the buses are timed to the cable car arrivals, which means there was almost no waiting time. It was unusually crowded once we entered the town and the bus driver had to call for a back-up bus as ours was almost overflowing with passengers.

View from the walkway between the cable car and train stations
The cable car goes up a pretty steep incline
There were many small pockets of autumn colors along the way to the town center
Colored leaves and the Manito Pagoda in the background
Ginkgo leaves and a solo maple

From the Okunoin-mae bus stop, I started my walk through the cemetary towards Okunoin Temple. There were some interesting gravestones as well as some that were very old. The overcast skies and slight fog lent a hand in adding an air of mystery and mysticism to the area. Most of the trees in the cemetary park were evergreens and there were few autumn colors to be seen, save for the area near Eirenden Hall. I also took the chance to visit Kobo Daishi's Mausoleum.

Heading into the cemetary
It wasn't difficult to spot all these colors in a grey-green cemetary
Everything in this picture is under super clear waters
Fallen leaf
Fall colors
Came across this stupa-like structure
These leaves reminded me of the pokemon Pikachu and Charmander
Just before the Gobyonohashi Bridge
A Matsuo Basho haiku engraved in stone

From the Okunoin area, I made my way towards Kongobunji Temple, the head temple of Shingon Buddhism. I entered the building and walked through the relatively large complex with its many rooms. There are explanations for almost every room, explaining the design of each room's fusuma. One of the rooms was where Toyotomi Hidetsugu commited ritual suicide, but there is no gory crime scene left to see and I'm sure the tatami mats have been changed at least once since then.

Tree just outside Kongobunji Temple
Entrance to Kongobunji Temple
Fallen leaves and visitors on a pilgrimage tour
This makes my head hurt a little
A little bit of red peeping out in the Banryutei Rock Garden

After that, I went to the Garan which is a stone's throw from Kongobunji Temple. There were more autumn colors to be seen at the Garan complex compared to the head temple and the Okunoin area. Another bright structure was the Chumon gate, which was rebuilt after 170 years, in celebrations of Mount Koya's 1200th anniversary as the center of Shingon Buddhism.

Red and yellow
Small grove littered with fallen leaves
Small lake beside the Garan, with the Chumon in the background
The Chumon gate as seen from the Kondo Hall
Old people tour group posing with the Konpon Daito Pagoda and the Koyasan mascot
Fallen leaves
Visitors heading to the Garan

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List of Posts:
2015/12/09 - Tokyo Report
2015/12/04 - Kyoto Report
2015/12/03 - Tokyo Report
2015/12/01 - Kamakura Report
2015/11/27 - Tokyo Report
2015/11/27 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/27 - Nara Report
2015/11/26 - Osaka Report
2015/11/25 - Miyajima Report
2015/11/24 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/20 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/19 - Tokyo Report
2015/11/19 - Kankakei Report
2015/11/18 - Mount Mitake Report
2015/11/18 - Korankei Report
2015/11/17 - Fujigoko Report
2015/11/17 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/16 - Mount Takao Report
2015/11/13 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/12 - Tokyo Report
2015/11/11 - Hakone Report
2015/11/11 - Fukuroda Falls Report
2015/11/10 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/09 - Koyasan Report
2015/11/08 - Miyajima Report
2015/11/07 - Dazaifu Report
2015/11/06 - Fujigoko Report
2015/11/04 - Tokyo Report
2015/10/30 - Kyoto Report
2015/10/28 - Nikko Report
2015/10/26 - Bandai Report
2015/10/22 - Northern Alps Report
2015/10/21 - Northern Alps Report
2015/10/20 - Mount Fuji Report
2015/10/15 - Hachimantai Report
2015/10/15 - Nikko Report
2015/10/14 - Alpine Route Report
2015/10/14 - Towada Report
2015/10/13 - Hakkoda Report
2015/10/08 - Nasu Report
2015/10/06 - Nikko Report
2015/10/05 - Route 292 Report
2015/09/28 - Oze Report
2015/09/24 - Alpine Route Report
2015/09/17 - Daisetsuzan Report
2015/09/16 - Daisetsuzan Report

Tours and Experiences