Autumn Color Blog 2008

This is the official autumn color blog for 2008 about our reporting trips to various autumn leaf spots across Japan. Check our page on Autumn Leaves for general information.

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2008/11/21 - Kyoto Report (4/4)

With the autumn leaf season kicking off in Kyoto, we are spending four days (November 18-21) reporting from famous koyo spots across the city.

On our last reporting day from Kyoto, we visited the Philosopher's Path, Tofukuji, Kiyomizudera and Kotoin.


I spent today at two of Kyoto's best loved fall colours locations; Tofukuji Temple just southeast of Kyoto Station, and Kiyomizudera Temple near the Gion district.

Tofukuji was first, and its colours did not dissapoint. Alongside dozens of other visitors, I managed to get some nice pictures of the temple and its trees. It looks like the leaves will continue to improve at Tofukuji, as many of the momiji were still green.


At Kiyomizudera, the crowds were as abundant as the fall colours! School groups, bus tours and travelers such as myself crowded onto the temple's balconies to snap pictures of the views.

Kiyomizudera looked to be in peak colour, and I expect it will stay lovely for the crowds that will arrive over the coming long weekend.

For anyone who does not have time to see Kiyomizudera in the day, or who wants another view of this beautiful temple, there is currently a special evening illumination event. Kiyomizudera's "Light Up" show is on between 18:30 and 22:00 (entrance closes at 21:30), until December 7. It costs 800 yen to enter.

Philosopher's Path

Today I travelled the Philosopher's Path in northeastern Kyoto. My first stop was Ginkakuji, the silver pavilion at the northern end of the path. The main hall of Ginkakuji is currently under construction as they rebuild the roof. Ginkakuji's garden has many maples that were in various states of color. It appears to be before the peak season as half of them were still green.

From Ginkakuji I headed down the path south towards Nanzenji. The Philosopher's Path is lined by cherry trees which are very beautiful in spring, however they are rather unremarkable during autumn.

There are a number of minor temples just off the path, one that is particularly nice is Honenin whose main gate was framed in maples of various colors.

The last two temples on the Philosopher's Path are much larger than what I had seen so far today. The first is Eikando, an impressive temple with a spectacular garden full of maple trees.

The final temple, Nanzenji, is a large temple complex that includes the Sanmon Gate, which you can climb for an impressive view over the area; a brick aquaduct that dates from the Meiji Period; along with a number of smaller subtemples, each with their own gardens which were showing off some nice fall colors.

Eikando has a special autumn illumination of its gardens held the last three weeks of November. The different temple buildings are illuminated every night from 17:30 to 21:00 along with the temples spectacular garden of maple trees.


Kotoin is one of the many subtemples of Daitokuji Temple, a leading Zen temple in Kyoto. Dozens of maple trees stand along Kotoin's entrance way and in its lovely garden, making the temple a very attractive koyo destination.

When I visited Kotoin today, some trees have already turned beautifully red, but all in all, the peak of the autumn colors has not been reached yet.

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List of Posts:
2008/12/03 - Kamakura Report
2008/11/26 - Tokyo Report
2008/11/21 - Kyoto Report (4/4)
2008/11/20 - Kyoto Report (3/4)
2008/11/20 - Miyajima
2008/11/19 - Kyoto Report (2/4)
2008/11/18 - Kyoto Report (1/4)
2008/11/18 - Mino Park
2008/11/12 - Fuji Five Lakes
2008/11/05 - Nikko (2)
2008/10/29 - Lake Towada
2008/10/28 - Shirakami Sanchi (2)
2008/10/27 - Shirakami Sanchi
2008/10/21 - Nishizawa Valley
2008/10/16 - Nikko
2008/10/10 - Akagiyama
2008/10/08 - Shiretoko Peninsula
2008/10/07 - Lake Mashu and Kussharo
2008/10/06 - Lake Akan
2008/10/03 - Tateyama Alpen Route
2008/09/26 - Sounkyo Onsen
2008/09/25 - Daisetsu Kogen Onsen
2008/09/24 - Mount Asahidake