Fall Foliage in Kyoto

There is just something about the autumn season that is just mesmerizing. The world turns a little bit cooler and the colors come alive in a way that doesn’t happen in spring or summer.

When we thought about visiting Japan, we tried to plan our days in Kyoto to coincide with peak foliage time, and guys, we came pretty close, if not precisely during that timeframe. Specifically, we went during the third week of November. The trees were burning orange and red, the air was cool and crisp, and it was just beautiful.

During our three days stay, we visited a few places where fall foliage was abundant, and I wanted to dedicate a blog post just for those beautiful sceneries.

Side note: all of these were taken with an iPhone 8 because disaster struck right as we got off the train in Nagoya two days prior to Kyoto that left my dslr hitting the pavement. Let’s just say that I need to go back to properly document the fall foliage in Kyoto with my beloved camera.

Higashiyama Ward

fall foliage in kyoto

The Higashiyama ward is a historic shopping district where the Yakansa pagoda is situated. The district is also within walking distance to the Kiyomizudera temple, which I include below as one of the beautiful spots for autumn foliage in Kyoto.

Although this district’s main attraction are its shops and restaurants that have the vibe of old Kyoto, there are many little hidden pathways that lead to things like this koi pond garden!

fall foliage in kyoto

“Autumn is like a second spring, where every leaf is a flower.”

– Albert Camus
fall foliage in kyoto

Another little pathway tucked away that led into the courtyard of a little gifts store.

fall foliage in kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera

Out of the various areas that we visited, Kiyomizu-dera was probably my favorite place to witness the autumn colors. This temple is a UNESCO site that was built in 778 AD, and is one of Kyoto’s most popular sites for its landscape views.

Autumn in Kiyomizu-dera
Autumn in Kiyomizu-dera
Autumn in Kiyomizu-dera

From the photo above, you can see something else that this temple is known for – the Otowa Waterfall. People line up just to drink from the water, as it is said that the water holds the power to extend one’s lifespan and grant wishes.

Autumn in Kiyomizu-dera
Autumn in Kiyomizu-dera

Can we just take a moment and appreciate this stunning view?

Autumn in Kiyomizu-dera

If you only can go to one place in Kyoto for the fall foliage, I would highly recommend Kiyomizu-dera to be that place.


Autumn in kinkakuji

Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Pavillion)

The second place on the list is the Golden Pavillion. Built in 1397, this temple was originally a retirement home for shogun Ashikaga, and later converted to a temple by his son. On a regular day, the golden temple is already a sight to see. Add the warm hues of the fall leaves, and you have yourself a wonder.

Autumn in kinkakuji

The paths surrounding the temple is beautifully covered in fall foliage as well.

Autumn in kinkakuji
Autumn in kinkakuji
Autumn in kinkakuji

All in all, there’s a reason why the autumn season is one of Kyoto’s peak tourism seasons, and the fall foliage should be reason enough for you to add this beautiful Japanese city to your list.

11 Comments

    • admin
      Author
      September 20, 2020 / 4:40 pm

      Thanks so much, Danielle! Hope it inspires you to make a visit!

  1. September 24, 2020 / 1:19 am

    WOW! This fall foliage is absolutely stunning! I have always wanted to visit Kyoto. I really need to see these vibrant leaves. I can’t believe you took these photos with an iphone! Your edits are amazing 🙂

    Jill
    https://jilliancecilia.com/

    • admin
      Author
      September 24, 2020 / 4:17 pm

      And it’s an old iPhone! I am definitely drooling over the new ones for the camera quality in case of future emergency situations like this, haha. BUT, as they always say, it’s all about the camera you have on hand. Thanks for your kind words, Jill!

  2. September 24, 2020 / 3:58 pm

    So glad you commented on my blog! This was such a beautiful post. What incredible fall foliage. Thank you sharing it brightened my day ^__^

    x,
    S | Je M’appelle Chanel

    • admin
      Author
      September 24, 2020 / 4:17 pm

      Aw, I’m so glad, Chanel 🙂

  3. October 2, 2020 / 10:32 pm

    There were so many gorgeous fall shots in this post! Fall looks stunning in Japan!

    Eileen | yesmissy.com

  4. October 8, 2020 / 7:30 am

    These colors are so beautiful! When the world reopens, visiting Japan is very high on my travel bucketlist.

    xo Danai | living-learning-eating.blogspot.com

  5. October 10, 2020 / 11:32 pm

    Wow, the photos in this post are BEAUTIFUL. I’ve never been to Kyoto, only Tokyo, but I need to go now! My colleague had her honeymoon there and she sang praises about it so much! 😊

    • admin
      Author
      October 14, 2020 / 7:32 am

      Thanks so much Marissa! Kyoto seems so different to Tokyo in a lot of ways, I think you’ll get a whole new kind of experience!

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