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Famous Places to View the Autumn Leaves in Kyoto: Video Introduction

This video, titled "4K|Autumn Leaves in Kyoto, 2020|Kiyomizudera, Eikando Temple, Tofukuji Temple, Rurikoin Temple, Mt. Hiei, Hogon-in Temple|Sightseeing, Travel, Autumn, Illumination, Famous Spots, Best Time to Visit, Popular Spots" (4K 京都の紅葉2020 清水寺 永観堂 東福寺 瑠璃光院 Autumn leaves in Kyoto 比叡山 宝厳院 観光 旅行 秋 ライトアップ 名所 見頃 人気スポット), was uploaded by "Discover Nippon."
Kyoto is the most popular destination in Japan for viewing the autumn leaves. The best time to enjoy the breathtaking autumn foliage in Kyoto is from mid-November to early December, which is also the most popular season of the year. This 4K video was shot at popular places for viewing autumn leaves in Kyoto during the peak of the season in 2020. The video introduces six of the most popular places to view the autumn leaves in Kyoto, including Eikando Temple, Tofukuji Temple, Rurikoin Temple, Kiyomizudera, Mt. Hiei, and Hogon-in Temple. The beautiful sight of maples and various other trees changing to shades of red, orange, and yellow is truly amazing. Be sure to check out the video to see some of the best places to view the autumn leaves in Kyoto, Japan.

When to See the Autumn Leaves at Kyoto's Famous Temples

Image of autumn in Kyoto, Japan
Photo:Autumn in Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto is known for having many tourist attractions where you can view the beautiful autumn leaves, and its many temples are some of the best places to do just that. However, since the best time to view the leaves differs from area to area, it's a good idea to check in advance before visiting a temple. In this article, we'll introduce the highlights of the six places for viewing autumn leaves featured in the video, the best times to view the autumn leaves, and the latest information for 2022.

Breathtaking Autumn Foliage at Kiyomizudera

Image of autumn Leaves at Kiyomizudera, Kyoto, Japan
Photo:Autumn Leaves at Kiyomizudera, Kyoto, Japan

Kiyomizudera is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kyoto, Japan. The autumn leaves begin to appear on the temple grounds around mid-November, and the best time to view the autumn leaves is from late November to early December. The sight of approximately 1,000 maples in various shades of red, orange, and yellow is simply stunning. During the peak of the season, many people from both around Japan and abroad visit Kiyomizudera to enjoy the magnificent autumn leaves.

Kiyomizudera has a special nighttime viewing and illumination event when the autumn foliage is at its best as well. Unlike the brightly colored leaves illuminated by the sun, the orange glow of the illuminated leaves creates a fantastic atmosphere on the temple grounds at night. You can enjoy also view the autumn leaves from different perspectives depending on where at the temple you view the from. The combination of the autumn leaves with the large platform at Kiyomizudera and the three-storied pagoda is sure to make for some excellent photography that will trend on Instagram.
[Video] 6:35 - Kiyomizudera

Tofukuji Temple – Autumn Leaves at the Popular Temple in Kyoto

Image of autumn leaves at Tofukuji Temple, Kyoto, Japan
Photo:Autumn leaves at Tofukuji Temple, Kyoto, Japan

Tofukuji Temple is a temple that regularly ranks among the best places for viewing autumn leaves in Kyoto. The best time to view the autumn leaves at Tofukuji Temple is from mid-November to early December, and on November 23, which is Labor Thanksgiving Day each year in Japan. Many tourists visit in the fall to see the autumn leaves, and the temple can be quite crowded when the illumination is taking place. If you want to avoid the crowds, we recommend visiting early in the morning on a weekday.

The main attraction of Tofukuji Temple is Tsutenkyo Bridge that connects the main hall and Kaisando Hall. Underneath the bridge is a colorful valley called Sengyokukan, and the spectacular view created by the historic architecture and the magnificent carpet of autumn leaves is beautiful beyond words. The autumn leaves at Gaunkyo Bridge, which resemble a sea of clouds, and Hojo Teien, a garden with a checkered pattern, are 2 must-see attractions.
[Video] 5:01 - Tofukuji Temple

A Must-See Autumn Illumination at Eikando Temple

Image of Eikando Temple, Kyoto, Japan
Photo:Eikando Temple, Kyoto, Japan

Eikando Temple, one of the many famous places for autumn leaves in Kyoto, is in fact so famous for its autumn leaves, that a poem was written about it in the Kokin Wakashu, a collection of early waka poetry dating back more than 1,000 years. The best time to view the autumn leaves at Eikando Temple is during the short period from mid-late November. The highlight of Eikando Temple is the fantastic sight of the colorful leaves enveloping a pagoda, which is located at the highest point of the temple's grounds.

Approximately 3,000 maple trees decorate the pond garden and the pagoda, creating lovely views around the area. Don't miss the illumination and exhibition events that take place in autumn as well. The events allow visitors to appreciate valuable temple treasures that are designated as Important Cultural Heritages, and that are not usually available for viewing. We recommend taking an evening stroll through the illuminated precincts of the temple, Amida Hall, and the garden. The exhibition and the illumination events have different entrance times and a separate entrance fee is charged for each.
[Video] 3:24 - Eikando Temple

Rurikoin Temple – A Reflection of Autumn Leaves on the Floor

Image of Rurikoin Temple, Kyoto, Japan
Photo:Rurikoin Temple, Kyoto, Japan

The autumn leaves at Rurikoin Temple have been attracting a great deal of attention in recent years, especially on social media. The highlight of Rurikoin Temple is the popular sight of the autumn leaves filling the windows on the second floor of the shoin (study) and the reflection of the autumn leaves on the floors. Photos of the autumn leaves here have gone viral on social media, and Rurikoin has become one of Kyoto's most popular places to view the autumn leaves.
The best time to view the autumn leaves at Rurikoin Temple is from late November to early December. The period from November 1 to December 4 is a pre-reservation viewing period, so reservations must be made on or after October 10 through Rurikoin's official website. Since the number of visitors is limited by advance reservation, visitors can enjoy the autumn leaves at their leisure.
[Video] 9:14 - Rurikoin Temple

Hogon-in Temple – A Hidden Gem in Kyoto

Image of Hogon-in Temple's autumn illumination
Photo:Hogon-in Temple's autumn illumination

Hogon-in Temple is one of the pagoda temples of Tenryuji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Arashiyama, Kyoto, and is open to the public only on special occasions in the spring and fall. The highlight of Hogon-in Temple is Shishiku Garden (lit. "Lion's Roar Garden"), a popular spot for photography. In the spring, it's a great place to enjoy the fresh greenery of the maple trees. The best time to view the autumn leaves at Hogon-in Temple is from mid-November to early December. A special autumn viewing and a nighttime illumination is held in conjunction with this period. Consider taking a leisurely tour of the garden while admiring the fantastic autumn leaves.
[Video] 13:27 - Hogon-in Temple

The Quaint Autumn Leaves of Enryakuji Temple, on Mt. Hiei

Image of Mt. Hiei, Shiga, Japan
Photo:Mt. Hiei, Shiga, Japan

Mt. Hiei, which straddles the border between Shiga and Kyoto prefectures, is home to Enryakuji Temple, the head temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism, and the entire mountain is designated as a temple area. The autumn leaves on Mt. Hiei begin to appear around mid-October, a little earlier than places at lower elevations, and the best time to view them is from late October to mid-November. Enryakuji Temple on Mt. Hiei is the collective name for three areas: To-do (the eastern pagoda), Sai-to (the western pagoda), and Yokawa.
All areas offer spectacular views, but the To-do area is particularly popular. This area is known as the birthplace of Enryakuji Temple, where the Buddhist monk Saicho founded Enryakuji Temple, and Konpon Chu-do, the main hall of the temple, is designated as a National Treasure. The view from the high elevation of Enryakuji Temple on Mt. Hiei and the peaceful mountain atmosphere are unparalleled.
[Video] 11:43 - Mt. Hiei

Summary of Famous Places to View the Autumn Leaves in Kyoto

In Kyoto during autumn, visitors can enjoy the colorful autumn leaves along with historic buildings and elegant cityscapes. In addition to the places introduced here, there are many other places famous for their autumn foliage, including Arashiyama, one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Kyoto, famous for its bamboo forest. Even within Kyoto City, the best time to view the autumn leaves varies from place to place, so it's important to double-check the latest information in advance. We hope this article gave you some ideas on places to view the autumn leaves in Kyoto!

【TripAdvisor】Kyoto, Japan

Written By
Last Updated : Nov. 14, 2022
Japan
もりありさ(Arisa Mori)
Writer and blogger living in Germany. Former flight attendant who loves traveling and food.
Experience the Autumn Leaves of Kyoto via Video – Explore Famous Spots & Hidden Gems!
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