After a number of reports from Hokkaido and other popular autumn color spots at higher elevations, today we visit Kyoto to check out the autumn colors for the first time this season. In major cities like Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo, the autumn colors typically start appearing in end October and reach their best from mid November to early December. I went to four popular autumn color spots in Kyoto, and found that the leaves had started taking on some reds, yellows and oranges. However, the predominantly green leaves indicate that it will be a few more weeks before the autumn colors are at their best viewing in Kyoto.


Starting to Change

I started my day bright and early at Arashiyama in western Kyoto. There were few visitors and traffic in the early morning, which made it relatively easy to get nice shots of the place. The maple trees along the Katsura River were still mostly green, with some leaves progressing faster than the others. I expect the leaves to develop more color over the next couple of weeks and the best viewing to start from mid to late November.


Starting to Change

From there, I cut across the city and made my way to Kiyomizudera in eastern Kyoto. The popular temple was crowded with students on their school trips and tour groups by the time I arrived. The maple trees in the small valley below the main stage of Kiyomizudera were still sporting mostly green leaves, and I expect the colors to improve over the next few weeks. From November 18 till 30, the temple grounds are illuminated from sunset till 21:30. Admission to Kiyomizudera costs 400 yen.

Eikando Temple

Starting to Change

Next on my itinerary was Eikando Temple, which is an approximately 30 minute walk from Kiyomizudera. The temple is a popular autumn color spot in Kyoto and draws large crowds during the peak of the season. From November 3 till December 3, admission into Eikando Temple costs 1000 yen, and the day time opening hours are from 9:00 to 17:00 (admission until 16:00). The temple grounds are illuminated from 17:30 till 21:00, and evening admission cost 600 yen.

Tofukuji Temple

Starting to Change

My last spot for the day was Tofukuji Temple, another one of Kyoto's famous autumn color spots. The maple trees on the temple grounds transform the place into an autumn color wonderland, especially in the small valley below the Tsutenkyo Bridge. Today, the crowns of the trees sported a slightly red blush, but the leaves were still predominantly green. From November 11 till December 3, admission to see the autumn colors around Tsutenkyo Bridge costs 1000 yen. The temple is an approximately ten minute walk from Tofukuji Station, which is one stop south of JR Kyoto Station.