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Autumn Color Report 2016

Below is a list of some of Kyoto's most popular koyo spots with the approximate timings of the best viewing in the average year. Generally speaking, they are usually best in the second half of November.

Early Season

Takao••

Mid November
Illumination 2016 (Jingoji): 11/5 to 11/20, 17:00 to 19:00, 800 yen
The spectacular autumn colors around the temples in this forested valley north of Kyoto are usually at their best a few days before the autumn colors in the city center. Jingoji Temple is particularly nice and offers evening illuminations.

Sanzenin

Mid November
The autumn colors in the beautiful gardens of Sanzenin, a popular temple in rural Ohara, a 30 minute bus ride north of Kyoto are usually at their best a few days before the trees in central Kyoto.

Main Season

Tofukuji•••

Mid to late November
Usually best in the second half of November, Tofukuji Temple displays some of Kyoto's most spectacular autumn foliage. The views of and from the Tsutenkyo Bridge are particularly impressive, and the temple gets very crowded.

Arashiyama•••

Late November to early December
Arashiyama is a district at the outskirts of Kyoto. The forested mountains in the background and the trees on the grounds of Arashiyama's temples usually turn colors in the second half of November. Tenryuji, Jojakkoji, Nisonin and Gioji are some of the best temples for autumn colors.

Kiyomizudera••

Late November to early December
Illumination 2016: 11/12 to 12/4, 17:30 to 21:00, 400 yen
The highly popular Kiyomizudera is also a spectacular autumn color spot. The trees around the temples large wooded stages usually turn red in the second half of November.

Eikando••

Late November to early December
Illumination 2016: 11/8 to 12/4, 17:30 to 21:00 (entry until 20:30), 600 yen
With their abundance of autumn colors, the temple grounds of Eikando are another of Kyoto's most popular koyo spots. It is one of several temples that offer special illumination opening hours in the evenings.

Yoshiminedera••

Mid to late November
Illumination 2016: 11/8 to 12/4, 17:30 to 21:00 (entry until 20:30), 600 yen
Similar to Kiyomizudera on Kyoto's eastern mountains (Higashiyama), Yoshiminedera is a temple on the slopes of Kyoto's western mountains (Nishiyama) with nice views over the city and beautiful autumn colors.

Kodaiji••

Late November to early December
Illumination 2016: 10/21 to 12/11, sunset to 22:00 (entry until 21:30), 600 yen
Kodaiji Temple, not far from Kiyomizudera, is also known for its evening illuminations. The sight of the lit up maple leaves, reflecting on the surface of the temple's pond, are particuarly breathtaking.

Shinnyodo

Mid to late November
This lesser known temple in a calm residential neighborhood not too far from Ginkakuji and the Philosopher Trail is a favorite autumn color spot among the locals. Shinnyodo's temple grounds feature a 3-story pagoda and dozens of maple trees that turn spectacular in late November.

Enkoji

Mid to late November
A small temple within walking distance of Shugakuin Imperial Villa (see above), Enkoji offers beautiful autumn colors. Be sure not to miss the spectacular bird's view of the temple from the hill behind.

Daigoji

Mid to late November
The highlight at Daigoji is the Bentendo Hall in the back of the Shimo Daigo temple compex, surrounded by a pond and lots of maple trees.

Nanzenji

Late November to early December
Illumination 2016 (Tenjuan): 11/15 to 11/30, 17:30 to 21:00, 600 yen
Besides the temple's main grounds, the subtemples Nazenin and Tenjuan are particularly popular autumn color spots with the latter featuring nice illuminations in the evenings.

Kitano Tenmangu

Late November to early December
Illumination 2016: 11/12 to 12/4, sunset to 20:00, 700 yen
Kitano Tenmangu opens its maple tree garden to the public every fall. Illuminations are held during the peak of the autumn leaf season. The admission fee includes a cup of green tea and a snack.

Chionin

Late November to early December
Illumination 2016: 11/3 to 12/4, 17:30 to 21:30 (entry until 21:00), 800 yen
The massive head temple of the Buddhist Jodo sect attracts autumn leaf viewers by illuminating its freely accessible temple grounds and its gardens, for which an admission fee applies.

Shorenin

Late November to early December
Illumination 2016: 10/28 to 12/4, 18:00 to 22:00 (entry until 21:30), 800 yen
This temple in the Higashiyama District is known for its evening illuminations, which include a dry garden decorated with hundreds of blue LED lights.

Hotels around Kyoto

Recommended Hotels
Backpackers Hostel Ks House Kyoto
One of Kyoto's most popular hostels. A ten minute walk from Kyoto Station.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Located inside Kyoto Station, this is Kyoto's most convenient 4-star hotel.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Hyatt Regency Kyoto Hotel
Elegant luxury hotel located near Sanjusangendo Temple.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Khaosan Kyoto Guest House
Cheap and popular hostel located in the heart of the city near Kawaramachi Station.
Book:
Agoda Booking
New Miyako Hotel Kyoto
Reasonably priced 3-star hotel located just across the street from Kyoto Station.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Royal Park Hotel The Kyoto
Modern hotel along Sanjo Street close to Pontocho and other dining options.
Book:
Agoda Booking

Tours and Experiences

Page last updated: January 10, 2017