Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

Raina's Japan Travel Journal
by Raina, staff writer of

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2015/11/10 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

Enjoying the fall colors

Today, I found myself in the old capital of Kyoto, a favorite sightseeing spot amongst locals and tourists alike. When Joe visited the city ten days ago, the trees were still mostly green. I am pleased to report that the colors have since progressed beautifully and are slowly but surely, approaching their peak. It should be another week or so before there's an explosion of vibrant colors in the city. I was also a little excited to see bits of blue skies today as it reminded me that I had not seen the sun for a couple of days.

My first stop for the day was Sanzenin Temple in the rural town of Ohara, in northern Kyoto. It takes about 40 minutes by both train and bus from central Kyoto to Ohara, and from the bus stop, another ten minutes to walk uphill to the temple. I arrived early to overcast skies and a slight drizzle. The shops along the walk up to the temple were just starting to open and it was all very peaceful. The entrance to the temple only opens at 8:30 and there were a few of us taking pictures of the scenery while waiting for the doors to open. The Sanzenin compound is fairly large and there is a lot to see. The autumn colors here were slightly more advanced compared to the other places I visited today, and it will not be long before they reach their peak. My favorite part was the moss garden where the Ojo Gokuraku-in Hall is located.

Ohara is pretty much in countryside Kyoto

Sanzenin lies above these steps

Approach to the temple

Everything about autumn, momiji and mushrooms

Part of the Shuhekien Garden where you could also enjoy tea and snacks

Looking at the Ojo Gokurakuin Hall

Warabe-jizo and autumn leaves

Band of brothers by the Gotenmon gate

Bridge and autumn colors

Like an artist's palette

Colored leaves blocking the Shinden

From Ohara, I headed west to Arashiyama. Ever the popular sightseeing spot and on the must-go list of most tourists, Arashiyama was unsurprisingly crowded. I joined the crowds and checked out a couple of spots. The maple trees at Tenryuji Temple were colored orange and green, and while not at their peak yet, further enhanced the beautiful scenery of the garden.

Togetsukyo Bridge

Katsura River

Sightseeing boats awaiting passengers

Jinrikisha (rickshaw) race about to start

Garden in Tenryuji Temple

Pretty regardless of season

It would be rude to call these trees bald, they are just pre-sakura

Soon, soon these trees will be fiery red

Bamboo trees do not produce maple leaves

So gentle, so fragile.

I exited Tenryuji Temple and walked through the bamboo grove to get to Jojakkoji Temple. Jojakkoji was my favourite spot for today, there was a variety of colors ranging from green to red with lots of yellow and orange. The layout of the complex also made for an interesting visit as there were lots of short walking paths that led to different views of the area. The main hall was under construction when I was there, but it did not have any impact on my visit nor of the autumn color views.

Band of brothers at the bamboo grove

The entrance to Jojakkoji Temple

The view that greets you after paying the entrance fee

Step across the threshold and this greets you

There should be a Rorschach test based on fallen leaves

Kyoto city in the small clearing between the leaves

Pagoda and a red maple tree

My last stop for today was Tofukuji Temple, in southeastern Kyoto. It takes about ten minutes to walk from Tofukuji Station to the temple and during the autumn color season, security staff are dispatched to direct traffic and pedestrians. The trees in the garden have taken on a reddish hue, but are not at their peak yet. Nevertheless, there was still a sizeable crowd when I was there enjoying the autumn colors as I was. I expect the area to get even more crowded during the peak of the season.

Looking at Tsutenkyo

This old man, he played well and got a good shot

Posing beneath the trees

Life can be so colorful

All these green leaves will be red in a matter of time

Tour group heading to Tofukuji Temple

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List of Posts:
2017/02/06 - Nagasaki Lantern Festival
2016/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2016
2016/12/19 - Winter Illuminations in Tokyo
2016/10/24 - The way of old on the Kunisaki Peninsula
2016/10/11 - Following the Tadami Line in Oku Aizu
2016/08/27 - Fool's Dance at Koenji Awa Odori
2016/08/16 - The three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan
2016/06/20 - Train travel into the Ise-Shima region
2016/04/03 - Setouchi Triennale 2016
2016/03/08 - The hunt for Namahage on the Oga Peninsula
2016/03/02 - Sake Sangria
2016/02/20 - Tokyo Plum Blossom Report
2016/01/26 - Tour de Reinan: Obama, Oi and Takahama
2016/01/25 - Tour de Reinan: Tsuruga, Mihama and Wakasa

2015/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2015
2015/12/10 - 48 hours in Tokushima
2015/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Kankakei
2015/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2015/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/10 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/09 - Autumn Color Report: Koyasan
2015/11/08 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2015/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Dazaifu
2015/10/28 - The 44th Tokyo Motor Show
2015/10/21 - Hirado, where East meets West
2015/10/20 - Kujukushima Islands and Winter Illumination at Huis Ten Bosch
2015/10/19 - Navigating the Christian sites in Nagasaki
2015/10/18 - Cosplay at Haco Stadium Tokyo
2015/10/15 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2015/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2015/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2015/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2015/09/16 - Nakanojo Biennale 2015
2015/08/19 - Traditional culture and hot springs of the Aizu Region
2015/08/17 - Nature and Hot Springs at Naruko Onsen
2015/08/04 - Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 2015
2015/04/30 - Sapporo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/29 - Hakodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/23 - Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/22 - Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/21 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/16 - Sendai Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/09 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/08 - Fukushima Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/06 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/02 - Nara Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/01 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/31 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/27 - Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/26 - Kumamoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/25 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report

2014/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2014
2014/12/15 - Seasonal Illumination: Sendai
2014/12/09 - Seasonal Illumination: Tokyo
2014/12/04 - Autumn Color Report: Kanazawa
2014/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2014/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2014/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2014/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/10/31 - Autumn Color Report: Karuizawa
2014/10/21 - Autumn Color Report: Bandai
2014/10/20 - Autumn Color Report: Towada
2014/10/01 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2014/09/29 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2014/06/19 - Toranomon Hills opens in Tokyo
2014/04/24 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/23 - Morioka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/22 - Aizu-Wakamatsu Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/16 - Matsumoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/15 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/14 - Yoshino Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/13 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/10 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/06 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/05 - Hiroshima Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/04 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/02 - Nagoya Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/31 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/26 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/04 - Early Tokyo Blossom Report

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