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Kyoto: Peak Colors

This week has seen cities like Tokyo and Kyoto showing off their best autumn colors. Temperatures have dropped considerably in the last couple of weeks and that also encouraged the colors to improve quickly to now.

Today, I was back in Kyoto to check out some of the other popular autumn colors spots in the city. I found the colors to be at their peak, with some places displaying more intense hues than others. The best viewing period should continue through to this weekend, but I am not hopeful for them to last till the beginning of December.

As it was a national holiday today, the crowds were amazing and I expect the coming weekend to be even more crowded. For those who plan to be in the city this coming weekend, be prepared for long lines to get into temples and lots of people everywhere.

Arashiyama:
Peak Color

My first stop was Arashiyama, where I visited Tenryuji Temple and Jojakkoji Temple. The colors here were at their best and made for extremely spectacular strolls through the individual temples.

The exterior of the Arashiyama mountains have seen better leaves
Lots of colors left on the other side
Boats on the river
Color situation at Arashiyama
Bamboo grove stays green all year
Fiery entrance to Jojakkoji
Leaves on moss
Stepping into the temple
Jojakkoji was a joy to walk through today
Red and orange this time of the year
Colors guide you home
Garden at Tenryuji Temple
Modern times at Tenryuji Temple
Peeking at the top of Tenryuji
Sudden downpour
The line to enter the garden was quite long
View while you wait

Nanzenji Temple:
Peak Color

Moving to the eastern side of Kyoto, I visited Nanzenji Temple and found the autumn leaves to be at their peak. While the colors from the top looked amazing last week, the real show now is under the canopy where majority of the leaves have turned different shades of red, yellow and orange.

Looking at the Sanmon Gate
Autumn colors
View of Tenjuan Temple from the top of the Sanmon Gate
Hatto and autumn colors
The real view is under the canopy now
Visitors in kimono
Maple trees by the aqueduct

Shorenin Temple:
Peak Color

Shorenin Temple is about a 15 to 20 minute walk from Nanzenji Temple and my next stop for the day. Many of trees in the garden have taken on lots of colors and drawing crowds where there were vibrant colors. The temple has evening illuminations from 18:00 to 22:00 (entry until 21:30) everyday until December 3. Regular daytime admission costs 500 yen, while admission during the illumination costs 800 yen.

Garden at Shorenin Temple
Under the canopy
Resting weary legs
Like room decoration but outdoors
That's just autumn leaves, not a fire
Maple leaf and stones

Kodaiji Temple:
Peak Color

My last stop for the day was Kodaiji Temple at the base of Ninenzaka not far from Kiyomizudera. The colors here were at their best especially around the mausoleum and tea houses. Kodaiji has evening illuminations from sunset to 22:00 (entry until 21:30) everyday until December 10.

Walking up to Kodaiji Temple
Kodaiji's Tsukiyama garden with Kaizando Hall
Teahouse at the top of the hill

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