Kyoto is a historical city that has beautiful sceneries every season. Among them, the shrines during autumn and the autumn leaves in the temples are exceptional. Please come and enjoy the red and orange autumn leaves. The scenery of the autumn leaves reflected in the pond of the Japanese garden is something that you cannot miss.
Kyoto’s autumn leaves covered in red
Autumn leaves can be found in many temples and shrines in Kyoto. This season is usually bustling with tourists wanting to see the red and orange autumn leaves. The autumn viewing season differs according to the area, but the usual viewing season in Kyoto is from early to late November. However, the changes in the temperature and environment may also cause the colors of the autumn leaves and the viewing season to change drastically. Even if you miss the optimal viewing season, the red autumn leaves being spread over the floor like a carpet is also a very beautiful sight.
The illumination of the dreamlike autumn leaves
During autumn, many temples and shrines light up their autumn leaves beautifully. Among them, the “Eikan-do Zenrin-ji” is a popular spot that attracts many tourists every year. During this time, there are approximately 3000 trees colored in red, creating a beautiful bright red gradation. Every year in November, the Eikan-do will show their cultural treasures to the public in which you can see it at night. You can also enjoy the atmosphere created by the lit-up autumn leaves.
- Spot name: Eikan-do (Zenrin-ji)
- Street address: 48 Eikan-do, Sakyo, Kyoto
- 15-minute walk from Subway Tozai line’s Keage station.
- Take the Kyoto city bus #5 and get off at the Nanzen-ji Eikando-michi bus stop, 3-minute walk
Enjoy autumn leaves at the Autumn Festivals!
To have an even better time with the autumn leaves, events will be held in various places. How about taking part in those events while familiarizing yourself with Kyoto?
Arashiyama Momiji Matsuri
Around the Arashiyama area which is famous for the Togetsukyo Bridge, there are many famous temples and shrines filled with countless autumn leaves for your viewing pleasure.
During the Arashiyama Momiji Festival, you can enjoy Kyogen (a comical drama) and Mai (traditional dance) along with the autumn leaves. It is very entertaining, so if you have the time, you are very much encouraged to join. It is a good chance to enjoy traditional Japanese events as well as performances on the boat over the river. There are relatively few people in the morning, but is typically expected to get very crowded in the evening so if you come earlier to get a spot, you can leisurely enjoy the performances.
- Spot name: Arashiyama (嵐山)
- Access: 15-minute walk from JR Saga Arashiyama station
One of the three great Kyoto festivals “Jidai Matsuri”, is a historically rich festival consisting of about 2000 participants dressing up as famous historical characters riding oxcarts and carriages parading around Kyoto. One of the highlights is the wonderful performance provided by the participants. The Jidai Matsuri’s procession/parade is very popular among foreigners and is a very fun event to watch.
- Spot name: Jidai Matsuri (時代祭り)
- Location of procession: Kyoto Imperial Palace to the Heian Shrine
- Date of the procession: 22nd October
Autumn leaves viewing is best done in the morning
Every year when the season of the autumn arrives, the city gets very crowded. It is recommended that you avoid weekends and consecutive holidays in November where the crowd is no joke and instead, visit during weekdays. Due to the information of the autumn leaves viewing period being posted on the internet, do expect a huge crowd during the optimal viewing period.
The smoothest viewing period is during the morning and when nearing the end of the optimal viewing period. If you want to avoid traffic congestion near Kyoto station, it is better to finish up as early as possible.
The number of people will decrease during days with bad weather like days with a forecast of light showers. It might be a good idea to check the weather before going out. The smoothest way of transport is by train or walking. Due to the bus getting very crowded, it is often behind schedule. Whereas the trains always stick to the schedule no matter how crowded it is, so it is more efficient than the bus.