by Raina, staff writer of japan-guide.com
2015/11/10 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
Today, I found myself in the old capital of Kyoto, a favorite sightseeing spot amongst locals and tourists alike. When Joe visited the city ten days ago, the trees were still mostly green. I am pleased to report that the colors have since progressed beautifully and are slowly but surely, approaching their peak. It should be another week or so before there's an explosion of vibrant colors in the city. I was also a little excited to see bits of blue skies today as it reminded me that I had not seen the sun for a couple of days.
My first stop for the day was Sanzenin Temple in the rural town of Ohara, in northern Kyoto. It takes about 40 minutes by both train and bus from central Kyoto to Ohara, and from the bus stop, another ten minutes to walk uphill to the temple. I arrived early to overcast skies and a slight drizzle. The shops along the walk up to the temple were just starting to open and it was all very peaceful. The entrance to the temple only opens at 8:30 and there were a few of us taking pictures of the scenery while waiting for the doors to open. The Sanzenin compound is fairly large and there is a lot to see. The autumn colors here were slightly more advanced compared to the other places I visited today, and it will not be long before they reach their peak. My favorite part was the moss garden where the Ojo Gokuraku-in Hall is located.
From Ohara, I headed west to Arashiyama. Ever the popular sightseeing spot and on the must-go list of most tourists, Arashiyama was unsurprisingly crowded. I joined the crowds and checked out a couple of spots. The maple trees at Tenryuji Temple were colored orange and green, and while not at their peak yet, further enhanced the beautiful scenery of the garden.
I exited Tenryuji Temple and walked through the bamboo grove to get to Jojakkoji Temple. Jojakkoji was my favourite spot for today, there was a variety of colors ranging from green to red with lots of yellow and orange. The layout of the complex also made for an interesting visit as there were lots of short walking paths that led to different views of the area. The main hall was under construction when I was there, but it did not have any impact on my visit nor of the autumn color views.
My last stop for today was Tofukuji Temple, in southeastern Kyoto. It takes about ten minutes to walk from Tofukuji Station to the temple and during the autumn color season, security staff are dispatched to direct traffic and pedestrians. The trees in the garden have taken on a reddish hue, but are not at their peak yet. Nevertheless, there was still a sizeable crowd when I was there enjoying the autumn colors as I was. I expect the area to get even more crowded during the peak of the season.