by Raina, staff writer of japan-guide.com
2014/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).