Joe's Japan Travel Journal
by Joe, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2015/10/30 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

With much of the autumn colors in northern and central Japan's high mountain areas coming to an end quickly this week, leaf watchers around the country are gearing up for the second half of the season. After a few weeks up in the mountains, today we're turning our sights south, where the season is just about to warm up.

Today, I made my way to Kyoto, famous not just for its many temples and historical sites, but also for arguably being the Kansai Region's most well-loved autumn color destination. While the autumn here pretty reliably begins to pick up in early-mid November each year, I was here today to get a preview of the early season's first colors around the city.

My first stop today was the Arashiyama district, just to the west side of Kyoto proper. Walking along the lovely riverside paths that flank the Togetsukyo Bridge, I was a little surprised to already see a tiny bit of red and yellow up on the hills around the town. While the area is clearly a couple weeks from reaching its peak color, it was exciting to see the season has indeed begun here in Kyoto.

After a pleasant stroll through the Tenryuji Temple grounds (which boast some spectacular colors during the peak of the season) and the famed Arashiyama bamboo groves, I briefly checked out the very lovely Jojakkoji Temple. The small, quiet temple features a grounds littered with momiji (Japanese maple) trees. Being later-turning trees, this early in the season, the trees were barely showing any signs of color yet today. Happily, though, the temple's main hall, which had previously been under scaffolding last season, was now visible today (though the interior is still under construction and unopen to the public).

My next destination for the day was the Takao area of Kyoto, a few kilometers north of Arashiyama. I made my way today to the area's main attraction, Jingoji Temple. Located in a river gorge, the colors of the hillside foliage was a bit further along here, though clearly still only just at the beginning of its fall cycle.

After exploring some of the outer regions, I made a brief stop at Tofukuji Temple on the opposite side of town. Again, the trees at this temple, which are breathtaking at their peak, were still very green today.

My last stop in Kyoto was the hugely popular Kiyomizudera Temple in eastern Kyoto. Again, the trees here were still very green today, but I was able to get a small update on the status of the ongoing construction around the temple grounds. Under scaffolding last year, the three-story pagoda near the main entrance to the temple looked to be finished with renovations, while the Todoroki-mon gate is now fully under scaffolding. The main building, however, is still open and construction-free this season, which should make for a pleasant leaf-watching season this year for visitors.

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List of Posts:
2020/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2020
2019/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2019
2018/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2018
2017/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2017
2016/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2016
2016/03/24 - Setouchi Triennale 2016
2015/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2015
2015/12/04 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2015/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2015/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Mount Mitake
2015/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Mount Takao
2015/11/12 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2015/11/11 - Autumn Color Report: Fukuroda Falls
2015/10/30 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/10/26 - Autumn Color Report: Bandai
2015/10/22 - Autumn Color Report: Northern Alps
2015/10/21 - Autumn Color Report: Northern Alps
2015/10/20 - Autumn Color Report: Mount Fuji
2015/10/15 - Autumn Color Report: Hachimantai
2015/10/14 - Autumn Color Report: Towada
2015/10/13 - Autumn Color Report: Hakkoda
2015/10/08 - Autumn Color Report: Nasu
2015/10/06 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2015/04/14 - Cherry Blossoms 2015: Yoshino
2015/04/13 - Cherry Blossoms 2015: Miharu
2015/04/08 - Cherry Blossoms 2015: Matsumoto Report
2015/01/29 - Crabs, Peonies and Castle Cruises in Shimane

2014/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2014
2014/12/16 - Seasonal Illumination: Osaka
2014/12/15 - Seasonal Illumination: Kobe Luminarie 2014
2014/12/09 - Seasonal Illumination: Ashikaga Flower Park
2014/12/05 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2014/11/28 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Nara
2014/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2014/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2014/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2014/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Hakone
2014/10/29 - Autumn Color Report: Shima Onsen
2014/10/21 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2014/10/16 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2014/10/08 - Autumn Color Report: Nasu
2014/10/07 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2014/09/26 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2014/08/20 - Kusatsu Onsen Beautification