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Kyoto: Beyond Peak

Fallen leaves in Kyoto

Today we bring to you the last autumn color report for this year. In a span of almost three months, we covered a total of about 40 reports. We started in Hokkaido in September, moving down to the main island of Honshu and visiting places with higher elevations, before finally hitting the major cities from November. This year's autumn colors kicked of smoothly and overall, the length of the season was quite average. It seemed that some cities had a shorter season due to the colors changing later and ending around the same time. Weather-wise, it has been warmer compared to the previous years with the cold front only arriving in the last few weeks. The unexpected snowfall in the Kanto Region and strong winds in the last week also affected the longevity of the leaves in the major cities.

For our final report, I visited Kyoto and found that the season in almost all the places I visited was over. I managed to see a lot of the blue sky as many of the trees had bare branches. There are a few remaining spots for autumn colors (koyo) in the city, but those will not last much longer as we make way for winter.

Daikakuji Temple

Beyond Peak

My first stop for the day was Daikakuji Temple, which is about a 10-minute walk from JR Saga Arashiyama Station. The spacious temple grounds were not crowded and were very pleasant to stroll in. The main autumn color spot in the grounds are near the Shingyo Pagoda where maple trees line a gravel path. The leaves here were at the tail end of their peak and it wouldn't be long before they start falling in larger numbers.

Hello Autumn
Maple leaves in the small garden at Daikakuji
Garden view
Pond view
Shingyo Pagoda
Maple tree grove
Maple curtain
Tunnel near the pagoda
Can never get sick of this view
Torii gate and autumn colors


End of Season

My next stop was around the main Arashiyama area where I visited Nisonin Temple, Jojakkoji Temple and Togetsukyo Bridge. I found that the season here was over as the ground had more leaves compared to the trees. However, the lack of leaves did not deter the many visitors that were there.

Almost bare entrance at Nisonin Temple
These are all maple trees
A bit of color left in the back garden
Visitors can all ring the bell
Roof koyo
Yellow maple leaves
Entrance to Jojakkoji Temple
My first time to see so much sky at Jojakkoji
Not many trees with leaves like that
Much carpet, very (end of) koyo
On the way out of Jojakkoji
Togetsukyo Bridge and the mountains at the back
Koyo's over here

Kiyomizudera Temple

Beyond Peak

From Arashiyama, I made my way to eastern Kyoto to the extremely popular Kiyomizudera Temple. The temple is currently almost free from of construction sites but parts of the main hall will be covered up for renovation works in the coming year. I found the autumn color season here to be beyond peak, with the trees sporting bald tops. There are still enough leaves on the lower branches to make for a pretty koyo viewing and I expect them to last through the coming weekend and not much longer after that.

Never a quiet day at this temple
They've changed their tickets to the winter version
Looking down from the main stage
Main stage and maple trees
View of the main stage
Trees along the pathway
Two electrical birds in the sky
Maple trees losing their leaves
The views here were pretty good
This particularly full group of trees drew a lot of people
Kiyomizudera Temple

Shoseien Garden

Beyond Peak

My last stop for the day was Shoseien Garden, a detached residence of Higashi Honganji, and had few visitors compared to the other popular places I visited today. The main koyo spot in the garden is in the eastern end where there is a grove of maple trees. The colors here were at the end of their peak and I expect them to remain good for the rest of the week.

Inside the maple tree grove at Shoseien Garden
Bridge with the tea house in the back
The reflection captures its real colors
Kaito-ro, a chinese style bridge that had a really low roof
Little islands in the pond

We hope you've enjoyed's 2016 Autumn Color reports as much as we have enjoyed bringing them to you. All of this year's koyo reports can be viewed here, and we'll be back in a couple of months for the 2017 cherry blossom reports. Until then, stay warm this winter!