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Kyoto: Peak Colors

Eikando's shimmering gardens

The autumn colors have, over the past weeks, slowly leaked down from the north and high lands down towards the more southern cities of Japan. Today, I took a journey to Kyoto, one of the country's most popular and spectacular autumn color spots.

My travels were concentrated on the east of this city of autumnal delights, as I checked out how the colors were progressing at some of the city's many great autumnal locations. I can report that Kyoto has progressed relatively quickly this year, now well in peak in many spots. This is largely due to the low temperatures that the city has seen over the last three weeks.

Eikando Temple:
Peak Color

My first stop today was at Eikando Temple in eastern Kyoto. The grounds of this gem of northeast Kyoto were alive with color and tourists jostling to find space for good photos (me included). The garden surrounding the temple's pond is particularly spectacular at the moment, with some really vivid reds and golds on show. colors here seem to have freshly burst into color, leaving me confident that they'll be here for at least another week. For night viewing, the temple will be illuminated from November 8 till December 4 from 17:30 to 21:00 (entry until 20:30).

Looking over the bridge in Eikando's vibrant gardens
Golden leaves
Stone torii and bridge in the gardens
Photographers were out in full force today
Stunning yellows and reds
Looking down from Eikando's pagoda

Kodaiji Temple:
Peak Color

Next was Kodaiji Temple, whose picturesque gardens are ever so slightly more understated than those of Eikando; as were the autumn colors today. Although there are quite a few shimmers of red and orange, there is still a little further left to go before the bright colors have completely leaked through the green.

Kodaiji's grounds were very pleasant this morning
Autumnal ambience but still a fair bit of green about
Tiles and tantalizing colors
Seeing red

Kiyomizudera Temple:
Peak Color

Next on my list of spots to check out today was the greatly-revered Kiyomizudera Temple. The temple is known for being packed with visitors and today was true to form with hundreds of autumn admirers lining the observation points to catch a glimpse of the color. While some trees may need just a little longer to burst into color, the vast majority of foliage was a brooding, deep red, making for some great scenes. I expect that the colors will continue to be vibrant here for another week or so. Kiyomizudera Temple will be illuminated from November 12 till December 4 from 17:30 to 21:00.

The famous stage surrounded by a sea of red leaves
Down near the entrance
The famous stage was full of photographers
Nice colors
Great autumn views

Tofukuji Temple:
Peak Color

The last stop of the day was Tofukuji Temple, a Zen temple famous for its many maple and other trees that burst into color every autumn. As Joe revealed, there is a photography ban on the temple's Gaunkyo and Tsutenkyo bridges to keep crowds moving and avoid congestion at this busy time of year. The temple requests that no photographs be taken on either bridge between November 12 and 30. It seemed as though the enforcement of this temporary rule was very much enforced on the smaller Gaunkyo bridge, but was much more lax up on the Tsutenkyo bridge.

The shutter sound echoed through the air as people photographed the colors, which were fantastic and very much in peak. There was an array of deep reds, golds and oranges that seem to have just recently reached their peak. This being said, I expect the colors to be well in here for another week, so get down if you can!

Looking up at the valley and Tsutenkyo bridge
The valley is ablaze with color
Visitors look out from the Tsutenkyo bridge
The enforcement of the photography ban is lax on Tsutenkyo bridge
Today was rather crowded as people filed in to see the spectacular colors

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