Staff Reports
Raina's Japan Travel Journal
by Raina, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2014/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

Maples near the pagoda at Shinnyodo

Today I headed to Kyoto to check out a few of the city's popular autumn color spots. As Scott reported last week, the colors in Kyoto are a little earlier than recent years. The places I visted today had a mix of trees at their peak and some approaching peak. Overall, I would say that the autumn colors at the places I visited today were just under peak and are expected to develop further in the coming days.

I started my day at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, 30 minutes northwest of Kyoto Station. The shrine is dedicated to the scholar and politician Sugawara Michizane, who is also associated with the god of education. As a result, it is a popular spot for students to pray for success in their studies. The maple tree garden will remain open until December 7 with daily autumn illumination from sunset to 20:00. Admission to the maple tree garden costs 600 yen inclusive of a small snack. Most of the trees in the maple garden were mostly green when I was there, with a few trees at a more advanced stage compared to the rest.

Maples at different stages along the Maple Garden at Kitano Tenmangu
Close up
Tourists in line to pray
Trees at various stages with a traditional looking bridge in the front

From Kitano Tenmangu, I headed to my next stop Shinnyodo Temple in the same general district as Ginkakuji. While most of the grounds are free to enter, there is an entrance fee of 500 yen for the inner chambers and gardens. I saw many tour groups being led into to the temple and some smaller groups having lunch in the garden. Overall most of the maples here were still before peak; maple trees at the back of the main hall still very green and the maples at the front of the temple at their peak.

Colors near the main hall at Shinnyodo not at their peak yet
Front of the temple were at their peak
Colors reflected in the water
Maples at the back of the main hall still pretty green
Maples and the pagoda

Moving northeast towards Enkoji Temple, where I was wowed by the garden in the courtyard. I didn't expect what looked like a small temple to have a beautiful garden and feel somewhat spacious. There were many tourists sitting on the viewing platforms enjoying the autumn colors. I climbed the small hill to have a bird's eye view of the surroundings and thought that the view would be even better had the weather been better. It was amazing to see the cluster of densely packed trees in the courtyard of the temple and walk in it later. Entrance to the temple grounds costs 500 yen. The autumn colors here were almost at their peak and should remain beautiful for the next couple of weeks.

Gravel garden the entrance of Enkoji
Looking out from one of the two viewing platforms
One of the two viewing platforms
This reminded me of a tiny village
Looking down at the colorful trees at the temple and the city
Walking on the greener side of all that color

My last stop for today was Manshuin Temple. It is about a 15 minute walk from Enkoji, or a 10-15 minute walk from Shugakuin Imperial Villa. The trees in the garden inside the temple had just a touch of color and were in the early stages. However, the maple trees in the small garden just outside the temple and along the road leading to the temple are almost at their peak and look to remain beautiful for at least the rest of this week. Manshuin Temple is open till 21:00 until November 30 with daily illumination from sunset until closing. Entrance to the temple costs 600 yen.

Maples along the road leading to the temple
At the east gate of the temple
Garden inside Manshuin Temple
Close up deux
Walking path along the garden
Trees at the small garden just outside the temple
Colors at the garden outside

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List of Posts:
2019/03/20 - Moominvalley Park opens near Tokyo
2018/12/31 - 2018 Travel Highlights
2018/10/25 - Business as usual at Tsukiji Outer Market
2018/08/19 - Hello Kitty Shinkansen
2018/05/16 - Cruising Tokyo's waterways
2018/04/17 - Wisteria blossoms in Ashikaga Flower Park
2018/01/18 - Shinanomachi, the Backcountry of Nagano

2017/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2017
2017/10/25 - The 45th Tokyo Motor Show
2017/10/11 - Dipping into the three onsen towns of Yamanaka, Yamashiro and Katayamazu
2017/07/24 - Remote Riches in Toyama
2017/07/03 - Spiritual Chichibu
2017/05/02 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2017/04/14 - Sneak Peek from Ginza Six
2017/03/21 - A bit of everything in Fukui
2017/03/13 - Nikko Toshogu Uncovered
2017/02/15 - Subculture in Ikebukuro
2017/02/07 - Travel to the Goto Islands
2017/02/06 - Nagasaki Lantern Festival

2016/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2016
2016/12/19 - Winter Illuminations in Tokyo
2016/10/24 - The way of old on the Kunisaki Peninsula
2016/10/11 - Following the Tadami Line in Oku Aizu
2016/08/27 - Fool's Dance at Koenji Awa Odori
2016/08/16 - The three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan
2016/06/20 - Train travel into the Ise-Shima region
2016/04/03 - Setouchi Triennale 2016
2016/03/08 - The hunt for Namahage on the Oga Peninsula
2016/03/02 - Sake Sangria
2016/02/20 - Tokyo Plum Blossom Report
2016/01/26 - Tour de Reinan: Obama, Oi and Takahama
2016/01/25 - Tour de Reinan: Tsuruga, Mihama and Wakasa

2015/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2015
2015/12/10 - 48 hours in Tokushima
2015/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Kankakei
2015/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2015/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/10 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/09 - Autumn Color Report: Koyasan
2015/11/08 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2015/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Dazaifu
2015/10/28 - The 44th Tokyo Motor Show
2015/10/21 - Hirado, where East meets West
2015/10/20 - Kujukushima Islands and Winter Illumination at Huis Ten Bosch
2015/10/19 - Navigating the Christian sites in Nagasaki
2015/10/18 - Cosplay at Haco Stadium Tokyo
2015/10/15 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2015/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2015/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2015/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2015/09/16 - Nakanojo Biennale 2015
2015/08/19 - Traditional culture and hot springs of the Aizu Region
2015/08/17 - Nature and Hot Springs at Naruko Onsen
2015/08/04 - Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 2015
2015/04/30 - Sapporo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/29 - Hakodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/23 - Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/22 - Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/21 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/16 - Sendai Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/09 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/08 - Fukushima Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/06 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/02 - Nara Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/01 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/31 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/27 - Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/26 - Kumamoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/25 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report

2014/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2014
2014/12/15 - Seasonal Illumination: Sendai
2014/12/09 - Seasonal Illumination: Tokyo
2014/12/04 - Autumn Color Report: Kanazawa
2014/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2014/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2014/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2014/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/10/31 - Autumn Color Report: Karuizawa
2014/10/21 - Autumn Color Report: Bandai
2014/10/20 - Autumn Color Report: Towada
2014/10/01 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2014/09/29 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2014/06/19 - Toranomon Hills opens in Tokyo
2014/04/24 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/23 - Morioka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/22 - Aizu-Wakamatsu Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/16 - Matsumoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/15 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/14 - Yoshino Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/13 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/10 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/06 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/05 - Hiroshima Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/04 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/02 - Nagoya Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/31 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/26 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/04 - Early Tokyo Blossom Report