The Whimsical Autumn Colors Of Kyoto

Kyoto is one of the most beautiful cities in the world to visit thanks to an idealistic setting.  The city is wonderful any time of year, but the place becomes extra special during the spring cherry blossom or Sakura season and the fall foliage season or koyo (meaning colorful leaves.)  During these times the streets of Kyoto feel like a impressionist painting come to life.     

The cherry blossoms are more famous and unique than the autumn colors, but you can argue that autumn is more spectacular.  For travelers, the fall foliage is also more predictable as the cherry blossoms are only in peak bloom for a few days while the fall colors are visible for up to two months between late October and mid December.  Mid November is considered the peak.

Kyoto has a lot of maple trees and they are some of the best to look for during the autumn season.  The fall colors perfectly compliment the incredible architecture and color scheme of the many temples and shrines throughout Kyoto.  Many of the mad made structures feel like they were designed by nature and they look no better than during the autumn season.

Best Places to See autumn colors

The fall foliage is visible throughout the city, but there are a few places that are extra special to visit.  Some of the best places to see are probably already on your must see Kyoto itinerary.

There are a few places to add to your itinerary if you are visiting during the fall foliage season.  While they are very nice to visit any time of year they become a must visit during the autumn colors and often get overlooked by visitors with so much to see and do in Kyoto.

  • Tofukuji Temple
  • Eikando Temple 
  • Kodaiji Temple
  • Shinnyodo Temple
  • Nanzenji Temple
  • Chionin Temple
  • Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

Evening illuminations

Select locations have special evening illumination hours.  Outdoor lighting gives a new look and mood to places that are normally only open during daylight hours.  The autumn colors sparkle in the flood light.  These extended hours also allow the intense crowds that descend on the city to be spread out a bit.  Some of the locations that have Evening illuminations are:

Visiting Kyoto during the autumn colors

The fall colors are very popular and expect the city to be crowded.  Hotel prices do go up and popular spots will be crowded.  It would be wise to book accommodations well in advance to secure your spot and get the best price possible.  

To beat the crowds, go early and take advantage of the evening illumination hours.  As a note locations with evening illuminations do charge a higher admission fee than during normal hours.  It usually is 200-300 extra yen from the regular price.  



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