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Autumn Color Report 2015
Official autumn color reports by japan-guide.com

Where to see autumn leaves? - When do trees turn colors? - What trees turn colors?
Schedule of upcoming reports - Post your own report

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2015/12/04 - Kyoto Report
by joe

Amazing color today at Kyoto's Shinnyodo Temple

After an unusually warm and rainy mid-season, this year's autumn color season cast some doubt about how it would finish in its last few weeks. While the colors in Tokyo seemed to be pushed back a little later than usual by the weather, the Kansai Region has seen its trees losing their leaves rather quickly.

Today, I made my way to Kyoto to find out how this trend affected some of the old capital's best koyo spots as the city quickly reaches the end of its season.

My first stop on this sunny morning was to eastern Kyoto's Shinnyodo Temple, a quiet, off-the-beaten-path temple of the Tendai Sect that sports some spectacular autumn colors starting around late November. When I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to find the colors were still gorgeous today, though slightly past their peak. The trees look to remain nice for another week or so before losing most of their leaves.

The still-blazing red approach to Shinnyodo Temple
Warm welcome
Plenty of leaves still showing some great color
Man on fire? Burning bush? Puffy bubblegum person with legs? What do you see?
While many trees were past their peak today, they should still carry some nice color for another week or so
Yellow around the bell tower
We heard you like fall colors, so we put some fall colors in your fall colors
A beautiful place to start the day

From Shinnyodo, I took a 15-20-minute stroll from the temple along the Philosopher's Path to my next destination: Eikando Temple. Eikando's huge grounds are extremely popular for leaf watching, and today hundreds of people flocked to the temple to catch the end-of-the-season colors.

Today, Eikando was definitely past its peak color in most spots (particularly around the large central pond). In many other spots, though, hundreds of the momiji (Japanese maple) trees around the garden were still at their peak color (though also towards the end of it).

A stroll along the Philosopher's Path
Philosopher cats drooling over some cat food
The entrance to Eikando Temple, still with plenty of red around
The central pond was definitely past its peak...
...but even late-season colors can still be beautiful
An inner garden at Eikando
Brilliant red momiji at peak color
A wall of fire around the upper temple buildings
There's a small area set up for sitting and enjoying some hot tea or amazake while watching the colors
Soaking in the colors while they're still here

My next stop today was just next door Eikando at Nanzenji Temple. The huge temple grounds feature a few spots with some nice autumn colors, but in particular, the small subtemple called Tenjuan Temple shines. The small Zen garden around the temple was definitely far past its peak today, but still had a few lovely late-changing momiji that made the atmosphere wonderful.

The path leading to Nanzenji Temple's Hojo from the Sanmon Gate still had some good color
Elementary school students exploring the old aqueduct
The entrance to Tenjuan Temple's back garden
Some beautiful colors still twinkling around Tenjuan Temple
Take a walk across the pond

My next stop was to Kodaiji Temple, another 20-minute walk south from Nanzenji. Kodaiji, another autumn color all-star in Kyoto, was also past its peak color today. Again, though, several later-changing momiji trees still provided some nice color which should stick around probably for another week or so.

While mostly past their peak, some trees were still showing some nice color around Kodaiji
Some of the best colors at Kodaiji today
Rawr
Enjoying the gardens in style

My last destination for the day was none other than Kyoto's iconic Kiyomizudera Temple. Though I was worried I may be too late for good colors here, my qualms quickly abated as the afternoon sun lit up the hundreds of bright red momiji all around the temple's main hall. Like the rest of the city's koyo spots today, the trees were arguably a bit past their peak, but still have a solid week of some great color left.

Kiyomizudera wearing its best color
Koyasu Pagoda surrounded by plenty of color
Ain't no dress code for taking great pictures
A blast of red momiji
Some junior high school students strolling down stone steps to the fountains
The afternoon might be my new favorite time of day to visit Kiyomizudera
Plenty of color still going strong here in Kyoto
Basking in the afternoon light

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List of Posts:
2015/12/09 - Tokyo Report
2015/12/04 - Kyoto Report
2015/12/03 - Tokyo Report
2015/12/01 - Kamakura Report
2015/11/27 - Tokyo Report
2015/11/27 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/27 - Nara Report
2015/11/26 - Osaka Report
2015/11/25 - Miyajima Report
2015/11/24 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/20 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/19 - Tokyo Report
2015/11/19 - Kankakei Report
2015/11/18 - Mount Mitake Report
2015/11/18 - Korankei Report
2015/11/17 - Fujigoko Report
2015/11/17 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/16 - Mount Takao Report
2015/11/13 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/12 - Tokyo Report
2015/11/11 - Hakone Report
2015/11/11 - Fukuroda Falls Report
2015/11/10 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/09 - Koyasan Report
2015/11/08 - Miyajima Report
2015/11/07 - Dazaifu Report
2015/11/06 - Fujigoko Report
2015/11/04 - Tokyo Report
2015/10/30 - Kyoto Report
2015/10/28 - Nikko Report
2015/10/26 - Bandai Report
2015/10/22 - Northern Alps Report
2015/10/21 - Northern Alps Report
2015/10/20 - Mount Fuji Report
2015/10/15 - Hachimantai Report
2015/10/15 - Nikko Report
2015/10/14 - Alpine Route Report
2015/10/14 - Towada Report
2015/10/13 - Hakkoda Report
2015/10/08 - Nasu Report
2015/10/06 - Nikko Report
2015/10/05 - Route 292 Report
2015/09/28 - Oze Report
2015/09/24 - Alpine Route Report
2015/09/17 - Daisetsuzan Report
2015/09/16 - Daisetsuzan Report

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