by Francois, staff writer of japan-guide.com
2009/11/22 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Ohara
Today, I headed back to northern Kyoto in search of autumn colours ("koyo"). Having visited the rural town of Kurama for the November 16, 2009 Koyo Report, I went today to the nearby town of Ohara instead, which is also rural, nestled in a valley and known to see autumn colors a few days earlier than central Kyoto.
Schauwecker visited the town's famous Sanzen-in Temple for the November 12, 2009 Koyo Report. At that time, the temple's colours were near their peak. Now, ten days later, many of the leaves have fallen. Schauwecker was able to capture some nice pictures of bright red trees around the temple's paths, but people today were likely disappointed by how few of the leaves remain.
As some leaves fall, there are still others that have yet to turn, so there will still be a few more opportunities for koyo viewing in the next few days. Many trees provided rich colours in the forests behind the main temple building's.
One particularly nice example of koyo I found today was about a 15 minute walk from Sanzen-in at the Otonashi waterfall. Only a few people had taken the hike, allowing the waterfall and koyo to be enjoyed without large crowds.
The next stop was Jakko-in Temple, located on the other side of the valley. The koyo situation was quite similar to Sanzen-in, with more leaves on the ground than on the trees. Because Jakko-in is much smaller than Sanzen-in, there were no forest areas to provided a koyo alternative to the trees around the paths and buildings.
The staff at both temples said that the colours came early this year, reaching their peak about a week ago. However, similar to Kurama on November 16, the mountainside trees were very colourful despite the fact that those on the temple grounds were becoming bare.