As autumn sets in and the leaves begin to change to shades of red, orange, and gold, people flock to some of their favorite places for a well-known Japanese tradition called “momiji-gari”, or fall foliage hunting. Kyoto, Japan’s former imperial capital, is known as one of the best cities to enjoy the season of changing leaves, where thousands of maple trees have been planted in parks and temple gardens throughout this old city. From mid-November until mid-December, Kyoto is completely transformed to a sprawling city of red, complete with seasonal tea ceremonies, evening temple illuminations, and all of the traditional charm for which Kyoto is famous.
We began our momiji-gari weekend at Kiyomizudera Temple, one of the most celebrated temples in Japan and at the top of everyone’s list of places to visit during the fall season. It took us an entire day to explore the temple grounds, with its beautiful Japanese gardens, statues, cafes, and a variety of shops lining the streets outside the temple, but the highlight of Kiyomizu is the view from its balcony.
After spending the day at Kiyomizu Temple, we walked down the street to Kodaiji Temple to see its breathtaking night illuminations.
If you interested in traveling to Kyoto this fall, here is a list of some of the best Autumn viewing spots:
Shugakuin Imperial Villa
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Kiyomizudera Temple 294 Kiyomizu 1-chome, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0862, Japan +81 75 551 1234 Open daily from 6:00 am - 6:00 pm Spring and Fall night illuminations hours are 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm Cost: 400 yen Kodaiji Temple Japan, 〒605-0825 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, 高台寺下河原町526番地 +81 75 561 9966 Open daily from 9:00 am - 5:30 pm Fall night illuminations hours are sunset to 10:00 pm Cost: 600 yen