Francois' Japan Blog
by Francois, staff writer of japan-guide.com

previous post
list all posts
next post

2009/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Kurama

The view over Kurama-dera Temple and the surrounding valley

Kurama is a rural town in northern Kyoto, and is one of the best places to see fall colours ("koyo") in the region at the moment. Today I did a loop around the area, checking out the colors in the neighbouring town of Kibune as well.

About an hour north of central Kyoto, getting to Kurama and Kibune is usally most conveniently done along the Eizan Kurama Line from Demachi-Yanagi Station (detailed access information is available on the Kurama page). One of the best instances of koyo today was along the train line, in the section between Ichihara Station and Ninose Station known as the "koyo tunnel". Special panoramic trains with large windows allow travellers to really enjoy the scenery, and these special "Kirara" trains depart about once or twice an hour.

Riders enjoy the koyo tunnel in the panoramic Kirara train

I got off at Kibune-guchi Station, as my plan was to walk up to Kibune and then across to Kurama, allowing me to travel the area without retracing my steps. After being impressed by the koyo tunnel, I was happy to find plenty of examples of colorful koyo on my walk up to Kibune. Within the town itself, I was a little let down with some of the trees around the namesake shrine, as well as many of the trees alongside the river. Nonetheless, there was still quite a bit of colour to be found.

Some vibrant koyo on the way to Kibune
The leaves are rather sparse above the steps leading to Kibune Shrine
Some nice colour behind Kibune Shrine's main building

After exploring Kibune, I hiked across the mountain, which took about an hour. Though the hike was pleasant, there was almost no koyo to be found whatsoever.

The koyo situation improved greatly upon reaching Kurama-dera Temple. The temple complex is most impressive for the views that it gives onto the surrounding valley. The trees in front of the main temple building had lost most of their leaves, but many others were very colorful. The trees in general are nearing their peak, and I was told by the temple staff that their peak should come in about a week.

A few remaining leaves on the trees in front of Kurama-dera's main building
Admiring the colour in the valley
Stairs leading up to Kurama-dera

After descending from the temple I decided to end my day at the hot spring baths of Kurama Onsen, a ryokan whose baths are open to day visitors. Though a little pricey (1100 yen for the outdoor bath, 2500 yen for all facilities), it was a nice way to end the day, and I was treated to one last bit of koyo along the river outside the ryokan. Kurama Onsen provides a free shuttle bus to and from Kurama Station, from where I returned to downtown Kyoto.

Koyo outside Kurama Onsen, not quite at its peak

previous post
list all posts
next post

List of Posts:
2011/09/01 - Final Post
2011/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sapporo
2011/05/06 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2011/04/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Aizu
2011/04/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai
2011/04/16 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2011/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2011/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2011/04/13 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2011/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2011/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2011/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2011/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2011/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2011/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima
2011/03/31 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2011/03/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2011/02/11 - Shiretoko Fantasia 2011
2011/02/11 - Asahikawa Winter Festival - by night
2011/02/10 - Asahikawa Winter Festival - by day
2011/02/09 - Sapporo Snow Festival 2011 - by night
2011/02/08 - Otaru Yuki Akari no Michi 2011
2011/02/07 - Sapporo Snow Festival 2011 - by day

2010/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2010
2010/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2010/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/24 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/23 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2010/11/05 - Autumn Color Report: Yamadera
2010/10/27 - Autumn Color Report: Kuju
2010/10/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kirishima
2010/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2010/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2010/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2010/04/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2010/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2010/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2010/03/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2010/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagoya
2010/03/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagasaki
2010/03/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2010/03/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2010/01/23 - Wakakusa Yamayaki

2009/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2009
2009/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2009/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Light Up
2009/11/23 - Autumn Color Report: Nara
2009/11/22 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Ohara
2009/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2009/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Higashiyama
2009/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Kurama
2009/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Hakone
2009/10/07 - Autumn Color Report: Hachimantai
2009/10/06 - Autumn Color Report: Mount Akita-Komagatake
2009/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Kamikochi
2009/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2009/06/18 - Biking the Shimanami Kaido
2009/06/01 - Gunkanjima
2009/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2009/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Himeji
2009/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kobe
2009/04/13 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2009/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2009/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nara
2009/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kobe
2009/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/03/31 - Cherry Blossom Report: Himeji
2009/03/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/03/29 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2009/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2009/01/19 - Bears in Hokkaido

2008/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kamakura
2008/10/06 - Autumn Color Report: Lake Akan
2008/08/18 - Miyajima Trip
2008/06/09 - Post Towns
2008/05/08 - Baseball Game
2008/04/14 - ASIMO and Aoyama Cemetery
2008/04/08 - Ninja Restaurant