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Kyoto: Starting to Change

Leaves and an single umbrella along the way to Jingoji Temple

We're now one week into November and as the temperatures continue to get cooler, the autumn colors are also progressing along nicely. Last month we reported mostly from the north and areas in higher elevations, but the colors are now moving down towards the cities. I last visited Kyoto about a week ago and reported that the colors were mostly green in the city. The colors were definitely more obvious in my visit today and I'm pleased to report that the autumn color season has definitely started.

Overall, the colors were less than midway to peak, and it should be another couple of weeks before they reach their best. The weather for the rest of this week forecast to be chilly and it should encourage the colors to develop further.

Togetsukyo Bridge

Starting to Change

My first stop for the day was Arashiyama where I visited the iconic Togetsukyo Bridge. The trees in the forest behind the bridge were just showing a bit of color and it need more time before they become fiery red.

Colors by the Nakanoshima Bridge near the Hankyu Arashiyama Station
Togetsukyo Bridge with the forested mountainside behind
Pockets of color
Couldn't have asked for better weather

Tenryuji Temple

Starting to Change

Moving on to the garden at Tenryuji Temple, a world heritage site. I found the colors here to be developing nicely. The front view of the garden is beautiful, but the walking trails behind provide lots of opportunities to get up close to the maple trees. The maple trees along the trails were just starting to show a bit of color and would require at least a week before they start to look anything like the front of the garden.

Tenryuji's Kuri building and koyo
Spotted a bird in the walking trail
Tenryuji's garden
Colorful inside
Inside the bamboo forest on the way to Jojakkoji

Jojakkoji Temple

Starting to Change

I was eager to move on to Jojakkoji Temple, one of my favourite autumn color spots in Arashiyama. The pathway up to the main temple grounds is lined with maple trees and moss, creating an amazing atmosphere with lots of komorebi, dappled light under the canopy. The colors here were slightly more developed compared to the ones at Tenryuji Temple, but still under the halfway mark.

Stairs up to the main temple grounds at Jojakkoji
Extremely friendly temple cat sat on my lap and refused to leave
Tahoto Pagoda surrounded by color

Nisonin Temple

Starting to Change

Nisonin Temple is about a five minute walk from Jojakkoji Temple, and my next stop for the day. Nisonin has a long approach lined with maple trees, aptly named Koyo no Baba or Autumn colors horse carriageway. The colors I saw today along the approach were just starting to change and it should be another week for the leaves to develop more red. The trees surrounding the cemetary on the top of the temple grounds on the other hand, had more intense colors.

Koyo no Baba
The trees beside and behind the main gate will turn fiery red in no time
One tree, many colors
Up in the hillside amongst tombstones
Just a little red spot
A maple tree corridor
Hanatoro here from December 9 to December 18

Jingoji Temple

Starting to Change

My last stop for the day was Jingoji Temple in Takao, and one of Kyoto's popular koyo spots. The only way to get to the temple is by crossing an incredibly long flight of stone stairs, but the views along the way should help take your mind off the climb. Along the way up, I found the maple trees that were planted in the valley to have a developed canopy but were still slightly green underneath. Up at the temple, colors were progressing nicely and it should be another week or so before they reach their peak.

The approach to Jingoji Temple will be illuminated until November 27 from 17:00 to 20:00 while the main hall at Jingoji will be illuminated till November 20 from 17:00 to 19:00. Admission to Jingoji costs 600 yen in the day time and costs an additional 200 yen during the evening light up.

Houseboat in a sea of color
It was this flight of stairs to the main gate and another three like that further down
Made it to the top
Colors leading up
Hidden Kondo, Crouching colors
Pals hanging out
Another flight of stairs leading to the main hall
View from above
Eaves and leaves
Peeking at the main gate
Tea house before you reach the temple gates
These will be illuminated until November 27
Riverside dining sounds like a great idea
Green below, orange on top
The red Takao Bridge and stairs that lead up towards Jingoji