This are the official japan-guide.com autumn color reports for 2009 from our trips to various autumn leaf spots across Japan. Check our page on Autumn Leaves for general information.
2009/11/19 - Kyoto: Arashiyama
I began the day at the area's most famous attraction, the iconic Togetsukyo Bridge. I arrived by train at 9:00 to pick up a rental bicycle, which I found to be a very pleasant way to travel between attractions. There were only a few people around the bridge when I went in the morning. When I passed back through the area in the afternoon the sidewalks were packed with sightseers, and I was happy not to have had to navigate through the crowds when I was there earlier.
The leaves on the mountainside behind the bridge were very colourful, and I spent quite a while admiring the scenery of the river, bridge and fall colours. The colours are not at their peak yet, and will get increasingly attractive over the next few days, but the atmosphere today was nonetheless very enjoyable. Unfortunately, in the morning the weather was overcast and the light conditions were not favourable for photographs.
From the bridge I headed north to a few small atmospheric temples in the woods. The first, Jojakkoji Temple, was by far the best. It is definitely at, or very near, its koyo peak at the moment. As a bonus, the temple had good views onto the city as well.
The next small temple I visited was the Gioji temple. This temple, unfortunately, was just starting to change colour, and offered little in terms of dramatic autumnal scenery. It seems as if it will be quite attractive when the colours do turn, which according to the staff is in about a week.
I didn't have to wait long for more colours, as my next stop, Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple, was also at its peak. Though not as impressive as Jojakkoji Temple, it was also very attractive. The area used to be a graveyard hundreds of years, and there are now many rocks and graves on the temple grounds. The combination with red and yellow colours was quite attractive.
The last destination of the day was Daikakuji Temple. Unlike the other temples, Daikakuji was a large complex. One side of the temple grounds had the main buildings, while the other was centered around a large pond. There wasn't much for koyo on the side with the main temple buildings, though in some gardens the koyo added a bit of color. Most koyo could be found in the other half of the temple grounds, around the large pond. Many trees were at their peak, and it is a good time to visit. However, a tunnel of maple trees which would be a very attractive koyo spot was still fully green.
List of Posts:
2009/12/08 - Tokyo
2009/12/02 - Kamakura
2009/11/27 - Tokyo
2009/10/28 - Mount Fuji