Fall season is one of the most beautiful seasons in Japan. Each year, starting in mid September, leaves start to turn yellow and red across the whole Japan. The viewing of Autumn leaves is called Momijigari (紅葉狩り) in Japanese. If you enjoy seeing the changing of colors and the cooling weather, Autumn in Japan is definitely your cup of tea. In this post, I’m going to share with you where to view autumn leaves in Japan Kyoto.
When is the best time to go?
Starting from mid September to early December, the autumn foliage slowly moves southwards from the northern island of Hokkaido until it reaches the lower elevations of central and southern Japan. The average time for appearing autumn foliage may vary depending on temperatures. You should always be mindful of the fall foliage forecast.
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What you will get to see?
During this koyo (autumn colors) season, the nature starts changing on its own way. Leaves of the deciduous trees on the mountains slopes, valleys, river sides, and country roads including the grounds of shrines, temples, parks, public gardens all turn red, orange, yellow and brown colors.
Just like watching Sakura blossom, the custom of hunting for autumn foliage (Momijigari) had been practicing since a long time ago. Now, it is a popular thing to do for the Japanese as well as for foreign tourists.
Where to view Autumn Leaves in Japan Kyoto (京都)?
During my exchange in Japan, I particularly enjoyed going to Kyoto to view the autumn leaves. Kyoto is the most historical place in Japan with many beautiful temples. The ancient architectures, coupled with the red autumn leaves, you’ll feel like you are travelling back in time.
Below is the must see attractions in Kyoto that offers beautiful Momijigari.
Where to view Autumn Leaves in Japan Kyoto – Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺)
Kiyomizu-dera Temple is one of Japan’s most famous attractions in the historic city of Kyoto. With a history of more than 1200 years and listed a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, you can say it is a MUST-VISIT. However, do prepare yourself for the crowd, especially during Koyo season.
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Where to view Autumn Leaves in Japan Kyoto – Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺)
Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) is a Zen temple in northern Kyoto. It’s famous for the pavilion which top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. Formally known as Rokuonji, Kinkaku-ji is an impressive structure built overlooking a large pond. There’s no better way to enjoy the autumn leaves with a breathtaking view like this.
Where to view Autumn Leaves in Japan Kyoto – Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社)
Fushimi Inari Taisha is the head shrine of Inari. The shrine sits at the base of a mountain also named Inari which is 233 metres above sea level, and includes trails up the mountain to many smaller shrines which span 4 kilometers. It takes approximately 2 hours to walk up. Along the way up, you’ll be able to enjoy watching the beautiful autumn leaves as well.
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Where to view Autumn Leaves in Japan Kyoto – Arashiyama (嵐山)
Arashiyama is a pleasant, touristy district in the western outskirts of Kyoto. The area has been a popular destination since the Heian Period (794-1185), when nobles would enjoy its natural setting. Arashiyama is particularly popular during the cherry blossom and fall color seasons. When you are there, check out the bamboo groves too. It’s a super photo spot. Visit there during the early morning to avoid the crowd.
I hope you find this post useful. Enjoy watching autumn leaves in Japan Kyoto! If you’ve been to Kyoto before, comment below and share with us your experience too. Happy travels!