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

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2014/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto

Maple leaves, a bridge and the pond at Eikando Temple

Back in the Kansai Region, I headed to Kyoto today. This time, I visited the sites that Scott and Schauwecker visited in the previous weeks. This time, all the spots I visited were at their peak and an absolute pleasure to visit. Unlike the last time I was in Kyoto, it was very crowded everywhere today and the crowd will likely increase over this long weekend. I expect the colors at all the spots I visited today to stay attractive for at least over the long weekend.

I started the day at Tofukuji, where the autumn colors are now at their peak. Even though it was still early when I arrived, many tour groups had also decided to start there. The roads leading to the temple from Tofukuji Station were crowded with students going to school and visitors going to the temple, and there were security along the way to guide traffic. There was a long line for tickets even before the temple opened its gates, and everyone was jostling for a good spot on Tentsukyo Bridge after getting in. The colors here were at their peak and there were good views everywhere, both under the trees and looking over them from the bridge.

Part of Tsutenkyo Bridge
Looking at Tsutenkyo Bridge and the maple trees in Tofukuji
Inside the garden of Tofukuji
Close up of red maple leaves
Yellow-green maple leaves

From there, I took the bus to Kiyomizudera, a Kyoto favorite. The road up to the temple was packed with visitors and there were many visitors who had rented kimono to wear while walking around Kyoto, adding to the atmosphere. During the autumn season, there is an illumination event that runs till December 12 from 18:30 to 22:00 (entry until 21:30). The colors have improved since Scott was here nine days ago. Today, they were at their peak and should remain attractive at least over the long weekend. As Scott mentioned before, more buildings around Kiyomizudera have been covered up for restoration works, but that did not stop any of the visitors from enjoying their visit.

Maple trees beside Kiyomizudera
Teahouse near the entrance
A visitor who dressed up
Almost at the edge of the platform of Kiyomizudera
Walking down the Ninen-zaka steps towards Kodaiji

Moving on towards Kodaiji Temple, a pleasant ten minute walk from Kiyomizudera through the Higashiyama District. The colors here were also at their peak and should remain attractive at least over the long weekend. There is a daily illumination until December 14, from sunset to 21:30.

Installation at the stone garden at Kodaiji Temple
Garden at Kodaiji
Maple trees at Kodaiji Temple

Nanzenji Temple was next on the list, in particular Tenjuan Temple. The garden in the temple was beautiful with a stone garden section and a pond that is surrounded by maple trees that were at their peak. Daily illumination at Tenjuan Temple will carry on until the end of November from 17:30 to 21:00, entry costs 500 yen during the illumination timing (the usual price is 400 yen). From Tenjuan, I walked around the grounds of Nanzenji Temple, taking in the sights and visiting the aquaduct. The maple trees around the Sanmon Gate and the aquaduct were at their peak, making for very picturesque images.

Maples against a building in Tenjuan Temple
Bridge to the pond
View from one end of the pond area at Tenjuan
Sanmon Gate and maple trees
In a corner of the grounds of Nanzenji

My last stop for today was Eikando Temple, a famous Kyoto autumn color spot. The temple was definitely very popular and the number of people there were comparable to the visitors at Kiyomizudera. I followed the viewing route of the temple buildings, went to Tahoto Pagoda and viewed the garden. The view from the pagoda was great as I could see the cluster of red maple trees in the garden and the rest of Kyoto city. Many visitors also enjoyed snacks and tea at the teahouse in the garden. Daily illumination until December 4, from 17:30 to 21:00 (entry until 20:30).

Bridge to the pond
Bridge to the pond
The view midway up to Tahoto Pagoda
Fallen ginkgo leaves remind me of thinly shaved slices of cheese sometimes
Lots of people at the teahouse
Near the Miei-do building at Eikando Temple
Yellow and red maple leaves against the roof of a building

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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