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

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2010/11/24 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

Koyo surrounds one of the gates of Nissonin in Arashiyama

For the second day in a row reporting from Kyoto, today I visited the Arashiyama district, Kitano Tenmangu Shrine and Myoshinji Temple. It seems once again that many spots within the city are at or very near their peak of this year's autumn colors.

A walkway surrounded by Koyo in Kitano Tenmangu Shrine's Odoi area
A bridge in the Odoi area
Although there are many red leaves, many are also still very green
Some nice ginko trees behind Kitano Tenmangu's main shrine building

The first destination of the day was Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. There are a few nice trees around the main shrine grounds, but the best spot for koyo is the paid Odio area that only has special opening during the fall and plum blossom seasons. There are many nice trees and viewpoints across a valley just beside the shrine, and although the trees haven't all reached their peak it is still a great time to visit. The full koyo peak should come this weekend. There is also a light up tomorrow night and the evenings of the next two Saturday and Sundays.

The garden of Daihoji temple, one of the subtemples of Myoshinji
Admiring Daihoji's garden from within the temple building
Some color in the garden of the Tanzoin subtemple
Koyo along one of the temple complex's many paths

My next stop was Myoshinji Temple, which is a large Zen temple complex a bit west of Kitano Tenmangu. The area was not spectacular for koyo, consisting mostly of a large building complex of temples and subtemples. However, in some of the subtemples the fall colors made the gardens more attractive. The Daihoji subtemple is only open temporarily for the month of November and I was told it is Myoshinji's most attractive spot for koyo. The garden was quite nice but pictures from previous years showed a fuller color than there was today.

The Togetsukyo Bridge
Today the area was packed with cars and sightseers

For my final stop of the day I went to the Arashiyama district. The area was very attractive and there was a lot of color on the mountainside. The place was packed with sightseers and cars and it was hard to get through the crowds, particularly in the area near the Togetsukyo Bridge.

Koyo outside Tenryuji Temple
Colors alongside the Sogenchi Pond Garden

Tenryuji Temple is a Zen temple located close to the Togetsukyo bridge. The walking path to Tenryuji Temple also had a lot of koyo and people. Within the temple the Sogenchi Pond garden in particular benefited from the added color of the season.

Fall colors beside the large pond of Daikakuji Temple
A bit of koyo beside Daikakuji's walkways

I also went to the northern area of the Arashiyama and Sagano district to see the current state of the leaves at Daikakuji Temple. Here as well the colors are around their peak, and there are a few trees that add to the view of the large pond beside the temple. There are also some trees beside the walkways that connect the buildings of the temple complex.

The walkway up to Nissonin
Sightseers enjoy a beautiful gate surrounded by color on the temple grounds
The view on the way to the temple's exit

Unable to visit last year because of a visit by the Emperor, today I was able to pass the front gates of Nissonin and see what was inside. I was happy to find some of the best koyo of the day, particularly around a gate just near the main temple building. For me, the small temples of Arashiyama can offer some of the best koyo opportunities in the area.

Photographers line the paths of Jojakkoji Temple during the koyo season
Fallen leaves on a moss hill
Fall colors serve as a background for the temple's bell
Koyo in front of one of the temple's gates

Last year the best koyo I found in Arashiyama was in Jojakkoji Temple, another of the area's small temples. Naturally I made a point of including it in today's itinerary. I was not disappointed as the colors were again fantastic, though I am between Nissonin or Jojakkoki which I enjoyed more. The colors at Jojakkoji are also at their peak and will likely continue to be very beautiful into the weekend.

A friendly traveler poses for a photo at Nissonin Temple

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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