The autumn color season is well underway across Honshu, the main island of Japan. I reported that the colors at Miyajima not far from Hiroshima was at its peak three days ago, while Schauwecker reported that Kyoto was approaching peak two days ago and finally, Lori reported yesterday that Tokyo was also reaching its peak.
Today, I headed back to Kyoto to check on how the colors have progressed. Instead of central Kyoto, I made my way to the western Kyoto to Yoshiminedera and Arashiyama. Here, the autumn colors had progressed to their best and should remain at their peak over the coming weekend and into next week. Good weather is also forecast till next week and I expect the next few days to be perfect for chasing autumn colors.
Yoshiminedera Temple is a quiet temple outside of central Kyoto and takes about 30 minutes to get to by hourly buses from the JR Mukomachi Station or the Hankyu Higashimuko Station. The approach to Yoshiminedera from the bus stop was very promising and the colors did not disappoint when I arrived at the temple. The maple trees were vibrant and colorful, and drew lots of wows from many visitors. I expect the autumn color spectacular to remain at its best all the way through into next week.
Next, I visited Arashiyama and started my tour from the Hankyu Arashiyama Station. Given that it was the start of the long weekend and the peak of the autumn color season, it was extremely crowded at Arashiyama today. At Togetsukyo Bridge, I found the colors on the slopes of the mountain and along the riverside to be approaching their best and only requiring a few more days of cold weather to reach that. I expect the best viewing period here to continue into next week and possibly into early December barring inclement weather.
At Tenryuji Temple, the colors have improved even more since my last visit and become even more amazing. The leaves under the canopy have also taken on beautiful hues of orange and red, and creating lots of lines as people stopped to take pictures under the pretty leaves. I expect the colors here to continue into next week and predict that the leaves may start falling by early December.
Jojakkoji Temple is one of my favourite autumn color spots to visit and I am pleased to report that the colors are at their best with a little bit of room to improve over the coming days. The maple leaves here were amazing shades of yellow, orange and red, and I expect this stunning show to continue into next week.
Nisonin Temple's approach is lined with maple trees and today I found that they were over the halfway mark and on their way to their best. I expect the colors here to improve more over the coming days and the best viewing period to continue till at least the end of next week and possibly into early December.
Daikakuji Temple was my last stop for the day and I found the colors here to be almost at their best. Most of the maple trees can be found around the Osawa Pond on the eastern end of the temple grounds. While visitors used to be able to walk around the pond, walking trails are closed this year due to damage sustained during the recent typhoons. Visitors can still walk in the area in front of the pagoda and a small section along the pond. The area around Osawa Pond is illuminated until December 2 from 17:30 to 20:30 (entry until 20:00).
Until November 30, there is a special event at Daikakuji Temple, the Bojutsu Kaifu Hoe event, celebrating the 1200th anniversary of the Buddhist scripture, Hannya Shingyo, transcribed by the Emperor Saga in the Heian Period. The former emperor wrote the scripture to pray for the health and longevity of the citizens who were tend facing an epidemic, on the recommendation of the priest Kobo Daishi. During this event, visitors will be able to enter the Chokufu-shingyoden Hall, which is only opened once every 60 years to the public, to view the encased scripture. Entrance to both Daikakuji Temple and the garden around Osawa Pond costs 1000 yen during this period.