10 Best Spots in Kyoto for Viewing Autumn Leaves in 2016 | FAST JAPAN
Bishamondo Temple
Arashiyama・Sagano

10 Best Spots in Kyoto for Viewing Autumn Leaves in 2016

View autumn leaves at peaceful temples in Kyoto in 2016. Some of the best temples are not major tourist attractions yet. Enjoy walking through UNESCO World Heritage Sites and learn about Japanese culture.

You might have heard about the beauty of Kyoto during the cherry blossom season, but for Japanese people, autumn foliage in Kyoto is also one of the most popular seasons to visit and to enjoy its breathtaking beauty. The autumn leaves usually turn colors in mid-November around the temples and the gardens in central Kyoto. Winter is the best time to visit Kyoto to see the leaves changing.

 

#1. Kodai-ji Zen Temple

Kodai-ji Zen Temple

Kodai-ji Zen Temple is a Zen style temple located in Higashiyama in Kyoto. This temple was built in 1606 for the well-known feudal lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi. His widow Nene wanted to established this temple to commemorate the death of her husband. The temple is known for the beautiful gardens that attract many tourists all year around. During autumn the temple is open late at night so people can enjoy the magnificent autumn colors illuminated by lighting. The best period for the autumn leaves would be from mid-November to early-December. The magical scenery of the trees reflecting off of the pond is a must see.
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Kodaiji-ji Zen Temple

Address: 526 Shimogawara-cho, Higashiyama ward, Kyoto

Access: 5 minute walk from Hankyu Higashiyama Yasui Station

Hours:
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Normal Seasons)
9:00 AM – 9:30 PM (For autumn lights, Oct/21 – Dec/11, 2016)

Admission: 600 yen

Phone: 075-561-9966

Website: Kodai-ji Temple

 

#2. Kiyomizu-Dera Temple

Kiyomizu-Dera Temple

Kiyomizu-Dera Temple is a designated World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This is one of the most famous and popular temples in Kyoto that attracts tourists from both Japan and overseas. The temple was originally founded in 780, but the temple we visit today was constructed in 1633. The temple’s main building is built on the edge of a hill where you can enjoy a superb panoramic view. In autumn, gorgeous Japanese maple trees under the temple turn colors and become a beautiful bright red that creates a dynamic scenery. In the autumn leaves seasons, you can enjoy the special lighting at night. The best period for the autumn leaves would be from mid-November to early-December.
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Kiyomizu-Dera Temple

Address: 1-294 Kiyomizu Higashiyama ward, Kyoto

Access: 25 minute walk from Gojo Station using Keihan Kiyomizu

Hours:
6:00 AM – 5:30 PM (Normal Seasons)
6:00 AM – 9:00 PM (For autumn lights Nov/12 – Dec/4, 2016)

Admission: 300 yen

Phone: 075-551-1234

Website: Kiyomizu-Dera Temple

 

#3. Bishamondo Temple

Bishamondo Temple

Bishamondo Temple is a small temple hidden in a great spot to view the superb autumn leaves. This temple is was not well-known among tourists but recently they started doing leaf illuminations in 2013. The peaceful autumn colors can be enjoyed with less people at this temple. The pretty Japanese maples trees are planted alongside the temple’s main path to create a magical tunnel of the autumn foliage. Every year the Momiji Festival is held to enjoy the autumn foliage. For this year, it is scheduled on November 23rd from 1:00 PM. The best period for the autumn leaves would be from mid-November to late-November.
[map lat=”35.001659″ lng=”135.818752″] [/map]

Bishamondo Temple

Address: 18 Ansyuinariyama-cho, Yamashina ward, Kyoto

Access: 20 minute walk from Yamashina Station

Hours (Daytime):
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Mar/1 – The first week of Sunday in December)
9:00 AM – 4:30 PM (After the first week of Sunday in December – Feb/28)

Hours (Autumn lights):
The sunset – 7:30 PM (For the autumn lights, Nov/15/ – Nov/29, 2016)

Admission:
500 yen (Normal seasons)
800 yen (For autumn lights)

Phone: 075-581-0328

Website: Bishamondo Temple (Japanese)

 

#4. Kifune Shrine

Kifune Shrine

Kifune Shrine (Kibune Shrine) is located in the north of Kyoto between quiet mountains. The shrine was established more than 1,600 years ago. Though the shrine might be a little far from the center of Kyoto and might not be the easiest to travel to by train, it is worth visiting for the great autumn foliage scenery which provides a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. Every year in November (Nov/5 – Nov/27 for 2016 ), there is a special lighting of the autumn leaves around the Kifune Shrine at night. The Japanese lanterns along the footpath towards the shrine, the trees leaves’ along the river, and the train tracks of the Eizan Electric Railway, called “Tunnel of autumn leaves (Momiji Tunnel)” will be illuminated until 9:00 PM. The best period for the autumn leaves would be from early-November to late-November.
[map lat=”35.121642″ lng=”135.762906″] [/map]

Kifune Shrine

Address: 180 Kuramakibune, Sakyo ward, Kyoto

Access: 30 minute walk from Kifuneguchi Station using Eizan Dentetsu Line

Hours:
6:00 AM – 8:00 PM (May/1 – Nov/30)
6:00 AM – 6:00 PM (Dec/1 – Apr/30)
6:00 AM – 8:00 PM (Jan/1 – Jan/3)

Admission: Free

Phone: 075-741-2016

Website: Kifune Shrine (Japanese)

 

#5. Eikando Zenrinji

Eikando Zenrinji

Eikanzo Zenrinji (永観堂 禅林寺) is known for its exceptional beauty since ancient times. The temple is in the middle of a small mountain range that is surrounded by beautiful landscapes with traditional Japanese gardens. There are more than 3,000 Japanese maple trees planted in the gardens and the leaves turn into a magnificent red color. Because the temple is located outside of central Kyoto, people can enjoy silence and tranquility within the magical scenery of autumn colors and the autumn lighting at night. The best period for the autumn leaves would be from mid-November to late-November.
[map lat=”35.014375″ lng=”135.795581″] [/map]

Eikando Zenrinji

Address: 48 Eikando, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto

Access: 15 minute walk from Keage Station using Tozai Subway Line

Hours:
9:30 AM – 5:00 PM (Normal Hours)
5:30 AM – 8:30 PM (For autumn lights, Nov/8 – Dec/4, 2016)

Admission:
1,000 yen (For all exhibitions)
600 yen (For autumn lights: Amida-do, Gasen-do and garden only)

Phone: 075-761-0007

Website: Eikando Zenrinji

 

#6. Tofukuji Temple

Tofukuji Temple

Tofukuji Temple is one of the largest temple complex in Japan and was established in 1236. The gardens are designated as a World Heritage Site in Kyoto by UNESCO. To enjoy the autumn foliage, the best and most popular place within the temple is the view from the wooden-roofed bridge called Tsutenkyo Bridge (通天橋). The bridge is built above a small valley in the garden where tons of colorful Japanese maple trees are planted in between. The Japanese autumn colors are breathtaking. It is recommended to arrive at 8:30 AM to enjoy the superb landscape with less people since the it is such a popular spot. The bridge may be packed with people during the season. The best period for the autumn leaves would be from mid-November to early-December.
[map lat=”34.976516″ lng=”135.774227″] [/map]

Tofukuji Temple

Address: 15-778 Honmachim Higashiyama ward, Kyoto

Access: 10 minute walk from Tofukuji Station

Hours:
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM (Apr/1 – Oct/31)
8:30 AM – 4:00 PM (Nov/1 – Dec/4)
9:00 AM – 3:30 PM (Dec/5 – Mar/31)

Admission: 400 yen

Phone: 075-561-0087

Website: Tofukuji Temple

 

#7. Arashiyama District

Arashiyama district in Kyoto

The Arashiyama district is located in the western suburban part of Kyoto, it’s popular among tourists for the spectacular scenery looking at the mountains and the river. It makes you feel as if you are in ancient Japan. In autumn, you will be amazed by a superb panoramic view of multi-colored autumn leaves in the mountains. The ancient wooden bridge Togetsukyo Bridge and the Tenryu Temple are both designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. If you want to enjoy the beautiful autumn leaves at night around the temple, Hogonin Temple is a must visit. The area has much more to see such as shops and restaurants, it is one of the best district to stroll around. The best period for the autumn leaves would be from mid-November to early-December.

 

#8. Daigoji Temple

Daigoji Temple

Daigoji Temple is one of the largest temple complex in Kyoto and it is a designated World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Since the temple is so large, walking through could take several hours or even a whole day to visit. The temple is divided into the three sections, Sanboin (三宝院 – Lower ground of the complex), Reihokan (霊宝館 – Museum), and Garan (伽藍 – Upper ground of the complex). One of the best spots to see would be Bentendo (弁天堂) in the Sanboin area, there is a gorgeous view of colorful leaves, the temple, and the reflection pond. The Reihokan Museum is also a must visit, there are elegant collections of Japan’s important art and cultural productions such as crafts, paintings, and Buddha statues etc. The best period for the autumn leaves is from mid-November to late-November.
[map lat=”34.950592″ lng=”135.822130″] [/map]

Daigoji Temple

Address: 22 Higashioji-cho,Daigo,Fushimi ward, Kyoto

Access: 15 minutes walk from Daigo station

Hours (Daytime):
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Mar/1 – The first week of Sunday in December)
9:00 AM – 4:30 PM (The first week of Sunday in December – Feb/28)

Hours (Autumn Lights): 6:00 PM – 8:10 PM (Nov/12 – Dec/4, 2016)

Admission:
800 yen (For daytime visit)
1,000 yen (For Autumn lights)

Phone: 075-571-0002

Website: Daigoji Temple

 

#9. Komyoji Temple

Komyoji Temple

Komyoji Temple was first established in 1198. The temple is known for the elegant cobblestone pathway to the temple surrounded by Japanese maple trees. The leaves turn to into a magnificent red in autumn. Since the temple is located a little bit outside of central Kyoto not too many tourist know about the temple. The beauty of the autumn foliage can be view is a peaceful and quiet atmosphere. The best period for the autumn leaves would be from mid-November to early-December.
[map lat=”34.938402″ lng=”135.675161″] [/map]

Komyoji Temple

Address: 26-1 Aosaijonai, Nagaokakyo City, Kyoto

Access: Take JR Line to Nagaokakyo Station, then get on to Hankyu Bus to Asahigaoka Home Mae Station

Hours: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Admission:
Free (for normal season)
500 yen (for autumn leaves season, Nov/12 – Dec/4, 2016)

Phone: 075-955-0002

Website: Komyoji Temple (Japanese)

 

#10. Nanzenji Zen Temple

Nanzenji Zen Temple

Nanzenji Zen Temple was first built in 1264 at the bottom of the mountains in the Higashiyama district. It is a temple that has a large garden and people can walk around the garden for free. Before entering the temple, there is a large wooden gate to walk through called Sanmon (三門), walking up past Sanmon gate leads to a superb view of the autumn leaves within the gardens. In autumn, the leaves within the gardens will be illuminated starting at 7:30 PM. The best period for the autumn leaves would be from mid-November to late-November.
[map lat=”35.011267″ lng=”135.793786″] [/map]

Nanzanji-Zen Temple

Address: Nanzenji-Fukuchi-cho, Sakyo ward, Kyoto

Access: 8 minute walk from Keage Station

Hours:
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM (Dec/1 – Feb/28)
8:30 AM – 5:00 PM (Mar/1 – Nov/30)

Admission:
500 yen (Hojo Gardens)
500 yen (San Mon)
300 yen (Nanzenin Temple)

Phone: 075-771-0365

Website: Nanzenji Temple

 

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