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Arashiyama in Kyoto is one of Japan’s most famous places for enjoying the autumn colors. Arashiyama is a both a historical place and a place of great beauty, and the view of the seasonal colors from Arashiyama is so beautiful it is like looking at a painting. We recommend riding the popular Sagano train to see the seasonal leaves from all sorts of angles.
HP: kanko.city.kyoto.lg.jp/detail.php?InforKindCode=4&ManageCode=6000002 (Japanese Only)
Address: Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto (Google Map)
2. Takao Jingoji
The Takao Jingoji area in the suburbs of Kyoto, along with Makinoo Saimyoji and Toganoo Kozanji, are collectively called the “Sanbi,” and have been known as a spot for enjoying the seasonal colors since ancient times. At Takao Jingoji, which is the most popular of the Sanbi spots for the autumn colors, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Godaido hall surrounded by the colored leaves, which when lit up at night is incomparably beautiful.
HP: www.jingoji.or.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 5 Takao-cho, Umegahata, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto (Google Map)
3. Kurumazaki Shrine
Kurumazaki Shrine contains three shrines: Ookuninushi Shrine, Benten Shrine and Geino Shrine. Out of these, Geino Shrine is particularly famous and often visited by people working in the entertainment industry (known as “geinojin” in Japanese). It is also famous for the tamagaki fence surrounding the shrine, which has the names of countless geinojin written on it. Kurumazaki Shrine is also well known for its spectacular seasonal scenery, and is very popular as a place to enjoy the autumn colors, with many tourists visiting the shrine each year.
HP: www.kurumazakijinja.or.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 23 Sagaasahi-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto (Google Map)
4. Kiyomizu Temple
Kyomizu Temple is a must-visit spots if you are planning on doing any sightseeing in Kyoto. At Kiyomizu Temple, you can view the autumn colors from above, offering a different atmosphere to other spots. Also, from mid-November to early December, they hold a special autumn night viewing event where the leaves are lit up for a truly spectacular sight, well worth a visit.
HP: www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto (Google Map)
Jikishian is known as a hidden spot for enjoying the seasonal colors in Kyoto. The time you can view the autumn colors is particularly long here. Jikisian is a Jodo-shu temple, and the beautiful scenery surrounded by silence has a rather romantic atmosphere to it. In fact, Jikishian is also popular as a spot for matchmaking as well.
HP: www5e.biglobe.ne.jp/~jikisian/index.html (Japanese Only)
Address: 3 Kitanodan-cho, Kita-Saga, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto (Google Map)
Enkoji is a Zen Buddhist temple where you can see the autumn colors at the Jugyunoniwa, a chisenkaiyu style garden with a pond in the middle, and the Honryutei, a karaensui style rock garden. This temple is highly appraised for the contrast of the vivid colors. The colors being to change in mid-November, with late November being the best time to visit.
Entrance fees: Adults: JPY 500; High School and Junior High School Students: JPY 400; Elementary School Students: JPY 300
HP: www.enkouji.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 13 Kotani-cho, Ichijoji, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto (Google Map)
Located close to Yasaka Shrine, this spot is famous for its autumn colors and every year sees many tourists visiting. The shrine contains a garden with a pond that is said to have been made my Nene, the wife of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, and in the autumn as the colors change, you can enjoy the spectacular contrast of the leaves and the shrine.
HP: www.kodaiji.com/index.html (Japanese Only)
Address: 526 Sagaru Shimowara-cho, Yasaka Torii Mae, Shimowara-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto (Google Map)
8. Kitano Tenmangu, Momiji-en
Kitano Temangu is famous as a spot for ume, or plum blossoms, in spring, but in recent years it is attracting attention as a new spot for the autumn colors for opening the Momiji Garden in the remnants of an old fortification. The 250 or so maple trees lit up at night is a fantastic sight. The best time to visit is late November to early December.
Fee to enter the Momiji-en: Adults: JPY700; Children: JPY 350 (includes tea and a sweet)
HP: kitanotenmangu.or.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: Bakuro-cho, Jokyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto (Google Map)