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

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2009/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

Tsutenkyo bridge seen from the Engetsukyo bridge

Today's autumn color report covers three popular koyo spots in Kyoto; Tofukuji Temple, Kinkauji Temple, and Daitokuji's Kotoin Temple.

The first stop of the day was Tofukuji, which is located just one station east of Kyoto Station. The temple has a few bridges, and its Tsutenkyo bridge is one of the city's most popular spots for autumn colours. The bridge crosses over a small valley whose trees are now at their peak. There are trails around the valley as well, and two other bridges that have good views of Tsutenkyo. The leaves and scenery today were really spectacular, and, because it was a Saturday, so were the crowds. At some points in the temple it became very congested with sightseers, and the Tsutenkyo bridge itself was packed like a crowded subway car.

Tsutenkyo seen from below
The bridge packed with sightseers

The next stop was Daitokuji's Kotoin Temple. Daitokuji is a large temple complex of which Kotoin is a subtemple. A path leading to one of the temple's gates is lined with maple trees and becomes quite popular. The trees along the path are still mostly green, but within Kotoin itself there is a fair amount of colouring trees.

A path and gate popular for koyo at Kotoin isn't yet very colourful
Paths inside the temple have some more colour
Bright oranges and reds over some of Kotoin's buildings

Today's last stop was Kinkakuji, also known as the Golden Pavilion. There are more coloured leaves lining the approach to the temple than there are inside the paid area. There are a fair number of trees changing color inside though, including beside the temple's pond. Of those trees though, a few are bare and the rest have all changed colours, so the colour will be decreasing from now.

Bright colour on the approach to Kinkakuji
Some changing color beside the temple's pond
Kinkakuji seen from one of the paths behind the temple

The attractions today were very busy with crowds, especially in the more famous koyo spots. The crowds will continue to be dense tomorrow, and likely on Monday as well, which is a national holiday. On the bright side, it is a great time to see autumn colors at many attractions.

A dense line of people at Tofukuji
A dense line of people at Kinkakuji

Because of the popularity of fall colour viewing, many attractive spots in Kyoto have an evening "light up", where the area is illuminated so that the colours can be seen at night as well as in the day. This evening I revisited a couple of sights that I had visited in the day for the November 18, 2009 Koyo Report.

The first spot was the Eikando Temple. The area was very attractive, and has become more colorful since I last visited. The light up runs from 17:30 to 21:30 and costs 600 yen. There is live traditional Japanese music three times a night.

Eikando's pond illuminated
Posing for pictures with the illuminated koyo and pagoda

The second spot I visited was Tenjuan Garden, which is the only spot in the Nanzenji Temple area that has a light up. In the day time, visitors have to walk around the main building through the paths outside, but at night the paths are closed and the illuminated gardens are viewed from inside the building. Both the rock garden and the pond garden were very attractive. Tenjuan costs 500 yen to enter and runs from 17:30 to 21:00.

Tenjuan's rock garden
Tenjuan's pond area seen from inside the temple building

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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