Planning your fall foliage trip to Kyoto? These 10 destinations are famous for their stunning fall colors and come alive with red, yellow and orange leaves for at least a month each fall. The ancient city – Kyoto is colorful, especially in autumn. Here, you discover the best recommended autumn leaves viewing spots of Kyoto. These fall foliage viewing spots could reveal another part of beautiful Kyoto for sure! I can recommend you more than 10 best places to view autumn leaves here in Kyoto but our time is limited. So, it is better to show you only the top 10 spots which are famous and worth a visit. To discover old Japan and the traditions one must come to Kyoto. And if someone decides to go there in autumn then there is nothing to say but “Well Done & Thank You“.

Eikando Temple Autumn Colors in Kyoto. Photo Credit: Nobuhiro Suhara at Flickr.

Kyoto is a very renowned destination for hosting many popular annual events & festivals and koyo season is just one of them. Fall is a breathtaking time to discover Kyoto’s beautiful outdoors nature. Its breathtaking views of stunningly vibrant landscapes may decide you not to leave this place ever. Want to know about Koyo? Read this recommended article here. And if you really want to visit Kyoto in Autumn then I suggest you to read this article, it was written to help tourists making their own itinerary who would like to go to Kyoto in the fall season. This complete visitor’s guide surly help you a lot.

1) Kodai-ji Temple:

Beautiful Autumn Foliage at Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto. Photo credit: Norio Nakayama at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

First of all, I would like to introduce you the most popular autumn leaves viewing spot of Kyoto now. That is Kodai-ji Temple! The landscape of this temple would amaze you with its variety of trees that includes, maple, ginkgo, cherry and other native Japanese trees. As your mission is to hunt for Kyoto’s autumn foliage, you better find those colorful maple trees there. They look very impressive as fall rolls in here.

The temple consists of a zen garden, rock garden and tsukiyama style garden. Wow! It sounds like a cool place to visit to. Well, there is a beautiful ginkgo tree on the ground of Kodai-ji rock garden. You will experience night time view of autumn colors since in the evening maple trees are lit up magnificently. Well, this temple was built in 1606 by the wife of legend Toyotomi Hideyoshi. When you visit this spot, just don’t forget to visit the bamboo grove here.

Address: Kodai-ji Zen Temple
526 Shimogawara-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto Prefecture,605-0825 Japan

 2) Arashiyama:

Katsura River Autumn Leaves Colors, Arashiyama, Kyoto. Photo Credit: Ann Hung at Flickr.

Arashiyama is a well known tourist district of Kyoto. Here, nature gives you everything else all year round. Tourists love exploring this district especially on hanami and koyo seasons. This landmark has Togetsukyo Bridge, Gioji Temple, Katsura River, Jojakkoji Temple, Nisonin Temple, Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple, Tenryuji Temple and a beautiful green bamboo grove. During the hanami and koyo seasons, this place becomes full of crowds. Sightseeing boat tour is offered to the visitors when you set off your journey to explore Katsura river fall foliage. There is a sightseeing train line called “Saga Scenic Railway” that usually runs along the Hozugawa River between Arashiyama and Kameoka. This train trip will let you to view colorful autumn leaves when you look outside of mountain slopes through train window. No doubt, Arashiyama is one of Kyoto’s most picturesque autumn destinations.

Address: Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan.
Tel. +81 75-222-4130

3) Takao:

Jingoji temple autumn foliage, Takao. Photo Credit: Yuki Shimazu at Flickr.

Takao is a forested valley and mountainous area with historic temples such as Kazonji Temple, Jingoji Temple, and Simyoji Temple. Autumn colors around the temples’ areas could give you the endless joy. To see spectacular view of autumn colors in Takao you have to go the north of Kyoto. Mid November is the best time to see autumn foliage here; it gets very busy with many tourists at the time. Reaching Takao is very easy once you know its route; just take JR buses and Kyoto city buses, and then you surly reach to this destination.

4) Tofuku-ji Temple:

Autumn Colored Forested Valley at Tofukuji Temple. Photo credit: mrhayata at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

Tofuku-ji temple is one of the best spot for viewing autumn foliage in Kyoto. It is a large Zen Buddhist temple with some beautiful Japanese style gardens, and bridges. If you have not visited any rock garden yet in your life then you would see it over there. It would surly be very amusing for you. My trip to this temple was full of mystery. I felt such when I got there for the first time in my life with my parents. I witnessed the color of autumn and thought it would not been bad to have autumn season all year round. The color of autumn is simply awesome in this place. The Tsutenkyo Bridge and Hojo Garden are the perfect spots to see colorful maple leaves.

Address: 15 Hon-machi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan.

5) Kitano Tenmangu Shrine:

Kitano Tenmangu Autumn Colors, Kyoto. Photo credit: Marufish at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

The best time to explore autumn color here is from late November to Early December. There are more than 250 Japanese maple trees you could see there. The shrine is open for all and in every autumn season the shrine authority allows public to enter in the maple tree garden. Take the walking trails which would be much more interesting to walk if you got a company than walking alone. On the grounds, you will be witnessing millions of fallen colored autumn leaves. You don’t fall down like the autumn leaves while walking in the garden. Keep your eyes open and that’s it! Typically, this place is very famous in the early spring when plum blossom festival starts here.

Address: Bakurocho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 602-8386, Japan.
Tel. +81 75-461-0005

6) Shisen-do Temple:

Shisen-do Temple Autumn Colors, Kyoto. Photo Credit: yhshangkuan at Flickr.

Shisen-do temple is also known as Jozan-ji Temple. It is an official name but most of the people here in japan know it as Shisen-do Temple. It was the residence of Edo-period samurai Jozan Ishikawa (1583-1672). He was the one who designed the whole temple garden. Whether you believe it or not that this is an amazing masterpiece of Japanese arts. Here, it is simply awesome to view the fall colors beauty. The temple transform into a new look when its deciduous maple trees change their colors. I see this place as one of the best autumn foliage spots in Kyoto. Don’t you ever try to kill your whole Kyoto autumn trip by skipping this beautiful Japanese landmark.

Address: 27 Ichijoji Monguchicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 606-8154, Japan.
Tel. +81 75-781-2954

7) Enko-ji Temple:

Enko-ji Temple Autumn Leaves Colors, Kyoto. Photo Credit: tee mugi at Flickr.

Arriving here in late November, one can enjoy the sparkle of maple leaves. Most of the Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto has maple tree garden, so this one is no different from others. Actually, not many foreign travelers know this place very well, so I would like to ask you a question: Are you going to explore it? Please visit this temple that was built in the Edo period and let your eyes staring at the colorful maple trees you find around its grounds. It is a kind of hidden autumn leaves viewing spot in Kyoto but since I have shown you this place through this article I think you better think of visiting this great place. I promise you that, nothing bad you would experience there but the pleasure!

Address: 13 Ichijoji Kotanicho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 606-8147, Japan.

8) Sanzen-in Temple, Ohara:

Sanzenin temple grounds in fall, Ohara, Kyoto. Photo Credit: m-louis .® at Flickr.

Ohara is a rural village, situated in northern part of Kyoto. This beautiful spot has Japanese style gardens, temple halls, moss garden, maple & ceder tree garden, walking paths, ponds, a statue of Amida Buddha, Rows of miniature statues of Kannon, restaurants, and shops. In fact, everything here is for you. Now you choose what to eat, what to buy and what to see first. If you don’t want to miss the Kyoto’s autumn nature then you better arrive here before mid November.

Address: 540 Ohara Raikoin-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 601-1242, Japan.

9) Nanzenji Temple: 

Beautiful Autumn Foliage Landscape at Nanzenji Temple. Photo credit: Hideyuki KAMON at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

In order to view evening autumn beauty, you have got to come here. Maple trees are lit up with lights as a result it creates an amazing place to stay and enjoy for a long time in the evening. There is no access fee for entering the main temple grounds of Nanzenji, but in order to visit sub temples you have to pay separate amount of fees . There is a beautiful pond garden at Nanzenin temple (A sub temple of Nanzenji Temple) which is a perfect location for taking picture of yours. In addition, enjoy the natural beauty of the Hojo rock garden and Tenjuan’s rock garden during the autumn. Everything here sounds pretty wonderful, peaceful, silent and relaxing. Who wanna miss this?!

Address: Nanzenji-Fukuchi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-city, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan.
Tel. 075-771-0365

10) Eikando Temple

The Tahoto Pagoda at Eikando Temple, Kyoto. Photo Credit: Kimon Berlin at Flickr.

The beautiful temple, Eikando (formerly known as Zenrinji Temple) is situated just north of the large temple complex of Nanzenji. It is said to be one of the scenic and popular koyo spots to visit in Kyoto any time of the year. Visiting this temple in autumn means that you will be delighted seeing the magnificent colors of fall. I think a leaf peeing trip to Kyoto is not complete without a visit to Eikando.

The temple has a long rich history and consists of various buildings, a pond garden (Hojo pond), and Tahoto Pagoda, including the impressive Eikando main hall. Please note that the temple belongs to the Jodo sect of Japanese Buddhism. You can walk up to the Tahoto Pagoda in order to see the temple grounds blossomed with maple leaves. It is quite an impressive view that I don’t miss up from the pagoda. On the other hand, the Hojo pond is decorated with evening illumination, thus how it creates a great autumn atmosphere that one can enjoy even at night time. Colors reach their peak in early December.

You have discovered the 10 most popular places to see autumn leaves in Kyoto. Now, it is your turn to discover them in real life. I did it myself already. Well, if you have not got a Kyoto travel map and a guide then get them soon before you arrive here. If you are first time visitor in Japan then read this article. Don’t wait anymore, have a great expedition! I wish you have a wonderful autumn vacation in Kyoto. Thanks a lot!

Copyright 2014 @ takkhis