Kyoto is a heaven of autumn colors, this is what I actually think of every time I visit to this oldest city of Japan. Indeed it is! Kyoto itself is very famous destination for hosting many breathtaking seasonal annual festivals such as Gion Matsuri, Jidai Matsuri, hanami, ume and koyo/momijigari. Kyoto is amazing because it has many Buddhist temples & shrines, beautiful Japanese style gardens, tea houses, mountains, ponds, garden bridges and etc. All these together make Kyoto outstanding place to hunt for autumn colors.

Tsuten-kyo Bridge in Autumn. Photo Credit: Ann Hung at Flickr.

Here, in this article, I have featured a complete guide for every tourist who wants to see autumn foliage in the oldest city of Japan “Kyoto.” You are going to see the most beautiful autumn foliage photographs of Kyoto as well. Useful travel tips are also given in this post. I know, that you have got enough time to finish reading this but make sure that before you visit Kyoto in autumn you must know its top autumn leaves viewing spots. These Kyoto trip ideas will point you in the direction of shimmering yellows, oranges and reds this mid-November to early-December.

When to See Autumn Foliage in Kyoto?

Maple Leaves at Tenryuji Temple. Photo credit: [cipher] at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.
When does fall foliage arrive in Kyoto? It is a pick season of autumn foliage in Kyoto, since it is mid November now. So here is the Kyoto’s autumn foliage forecast for you. Come over there in mid November to early December, then enjoy the natural beauty of autumn. I think, you must not leave Japan without seeing Kyoto autumn nature because it is as famous as cherry blossom festival (Hanami).

If you are fond of traveling a lot who has a special taste in nature then Kyoto is one of the top destinations you must make a visit during its autumn season. I have been to many places for seeing colorful autumn foliage throughout Japan. From my own experience, I have found that Tohoku’s autumn nature is far better than Tokyo’s autumn foliage. While on the other hand Kyoto’s autumn leaves is much more beautiful than Tokyo. In fact, Tohoku and Kyoto seem to me the all time best autumn leaves viewing spots in Japan. If you don’t believe me then why are you waiting for? Explore these and judge my opinions here.

Is Kyoto Worth Visiting Kyoto During Autumn Season?

Autumn Leaves in Katsura River, Arashiyama. Photo credit: Ann Hung at Flickr.

Oh god! You should not even think of this question. You will be ashamed of yourself once you experience the autumn beauty of Kyoto. Just stay out of it which would be much better for you to concentrate on how to explore its seasonal beauty in fall season. The more you look at the colorful autumn foliage the more you get attracted to it. Indeed, this happens in Kyoto! It is 100% worth visiting Kyoto during its autumn season because you find the best places to explore them throughout its region. In fact, Kyoto hosts the most beautiful and famous autumn leaves spots in Japan. For example, you will be overwhelmed seeing the autumn foliage of Tofuku-ji and the colorful mountain slopes of Arashiyama.

The Best Places to View Autumn Leaves in Kyoto

Colorful Autumn Foliage in Kyoto. Photo credit: marufish at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

1) Kodai-ji Temple: A perfect spot and one of the best autumn leaves viewing spots is Kodai-ji temple. Walk through the walking trails and enjoy the utmost beauty of autumn colors. (Late November to early December)

2) Arashiyama: It is a beautiful district of Kyoto that offers you several beautiful Zen Buddhist temples to visit. These temples have maple tree gardens to please you in autumn. (Late November to early December)

3) Takao: It is a mountainous area with three famous temples. This is place has been recognized as one of the most popular autumn leaves viewing spots in all over Japan. (Mid November)

4) Tofuku-ji Temple: Enjoy the autumn foliage beauty from the famous Tsutenkyo bride and Hojo garden. (Mid to late November)

Takao’s Autumn Nature! Photo credit: Marufish at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

5) Kitano Tenmangu Shrine: It is one of the most famous shrine in Kyoto, Kansai region which offers spectacular view of autumn leaves during fall season. I think about 250 colorful maple trees could make you happy to be there. (Late November to early December)

6) Nanzenji Temple: Nanzenji Temple makes me happy whenever I get there, it does not matter whether I go there in Autumn or spring. I think you will feel the same. You are welcome if you wish to see autumn color in the evening time. (Late November to early December)

7) Shisen-do Temple: It is a residence of an Edo period samurai that turned into Buddhist temple after his death. It is a highly recommended place for seeing fall foliage. (Late November)

Nanzenji Temple Autumn Foliage, Kyoto. Photo credit: hyougushi at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

8) Enko-ji Temple: A lovely place to have a day tour with all family members during autumn season. (Mid to late November)

9) Sanzen-in Temple, Ohara: You could comfortably reply on this spot. Everything looks marvelous and clean in autumn. (Mid November)

10) Kurama and Kibune: These are the most popular hiking destinations in Kyoto with many maple trees around them. (Mid November)

In order to get more information about the best autumn leaves of Kyoto in details then please visit this recommended article. You will find colorful pictures as well as the address of every spots you wish to go.

Experiencing A Historic Zen Buddhist Temple While Seeing Autumn Leaves

Colorful Autumn Leaves in Tofuku-ji. Photo Credit: Ann Hung at Flickr.

When we use the word “Historic” – it means something  special like a treasure. There is a historic zen Buddhist temple in southeastern part of Kyoto called Tofuku-ji temple. I have visited this famous Japanese temple only twice in my entire life. Does it sound interesting to you? Or do you think I should have visited this place many times before? Well, the first time I had visited this temple was in Autumn. I knew about it from a friend who resides in Kyoto city. He invited me to visit this temple with him. It was an amazing experience, no doubt about that.

I was impressed seeing beautiful autumn leaves from Tsutenkyo Bridge, that is considered to be the best spot for viewing autumn foliage. It gets crowded during the autumn season! When the trees of the leaves planted on the temple grounds start to change their colors it becomes one of the most peaceful places on earth. It is not a joke but the truth! It has several gardens inside the temple’s boundary. Four things you must see in Tofukuji are: The Sanmon Gate, Kaisando Hall, Hojo Garden and the Mystic Autumn Foliage.

Things to Do During Autumn Season in Kyoto

At Kyoto Botanical Garden. Photo Credit: Nobuhiro Suhara at Flickr.
  • It is certain that you are in Kyoto because you want to experience its autumn colors. So, try to visit every spots which are well known for their autumn colors.
  • Stay a night in a ryokan and spend some times in hot spring there. It will be a relaxing moment for you.
  • When you are out for hunting autumn foliage, make sure you take your camera with you. You know, you will be sorry yourself if you don’t take photos of autumn colors in Kyoto.
  • Kyoto is renowned for having beautiful temples along with traditional Japanese gardens. Therefore, make sure you hunt most of the best ones.
  • While visiting shrines and temples in Kyoto, try to put some coins in the donation boxes.
  • You could eat traditional Japanese dishes during your entire trip.
  • When you are in Arashiyama, please visit its bamboo grove. It will give you much pleasure.
  • You can meet with geisha or at least you could see in Gion district. It will be a great experience for you.
  • Autumn in Japan brings a cool atmosphere. So, wear light a jacket or sweater.

Accommodation in Kyoto During Autumn Season

How Colorful! Kyoto’s Autumn Nature. Photo credit: marufish at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

Historically, Kyoto is renowned for its ryokan. There are so many popular ryokan operate throughout Kyoto which are well known for hot spring baths as well. You can learn some important ryokan customs before you decide to stay one of these.It is a traditional Japanese style inn which gives you the real Japanese living atmosphere. Apart from this, you could stay in hotels, hostels, apartments and guest houses. Check here to find out your rooms there. You could find many hotel deals online but not every hotel could satisfy you with their services. So, I recommend you to read several hotel reviews in order to get useful information. I know you must be thinking about the following questions:

  • Where should I stay in Kyoto?
  • Can I get cheap hotel there?
  • Is ryokan perfect for me to stay?
  • Can I stay in an apartment for a night?

However, finding cheap hotel or apartment is available in Kyoto. Though, I would suggest you to stay in an apartment when you think about the word “Cheap” accommodation. Apartment owners could speak in English and Japanese, so don’t worry. Enjoy your time!

Hotel MyStays Kyoto-Shijo is the cheapest hotel to stay in the heart of Kyoto. I stayed there few nights there, everything was great. During autumn season, Kyoto gets crowded, as a result demand of hotel increases and unfortunately you might not get your room. So, make sure you book your room in this hotel, please check your room here

Transportation Around Kyoto – How to Get to Kyoto?

Spectacular View of Autumn Leaves, Arashiyama. Photo Credit: Nobuhiro Suhara at Flickr.

Having a JR pass for a foreign traveler is good but having a Kansai Area Pass is AWESOME! It features special offers and discount for those who wish to explore Kansai Region’s Top tourist destination. It is possible to visit koyo spots by buses, trains, subways, cars and bicycle. Though my advice to you is that – you better don’t think of relying on taxi, they are quite expensive than other available transportation. Bicycle could be rented but you have got to know traffic rules for bicycling around the city.

Getting a map of Kyoto city, you can easily understand the distance of every koyo spots. Depending on this, you have to choose which transportation would work best for you. Here, you can get a Kyoto city map.

In addition, many inbound Japan tour agencies and city bus operators offer various courses which could be very effective and less expensive. Last year in the autumn, a friend of mine took 1-Day Kyoto & Nara tour package from Osaka. He said, it was just well organized and he was happy to take the service.

Kyoto Travel Guide Information

A Beautiful Autumn Leaves Photo, Kyoto. Photo credit: Marufish at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

Kyoto is a wonderful place to discover at any time in a year. If you are new to this city then I must suggest you to find as much as travel information you could get so that you trip to Kyoto be unforgettable. Here, I want to share few links that will help you to have a perfect holiday in Kyoto during autumn.

I hope this article helps you to get some travel information on your Kyoto autumn trip. I would be just happy if this page amuses you. Have a nice trip to Kyoto!

Copyright 2014 @ takkhis