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Top Recommendations for Your Autumn Trip to Kyoto

September 26, 2023

Top Recommendations for Your Autumn Trip to Kyoto

Are you planning a memorable autumn trip? Kyoto, known for its harmonious blend of ancient traditions and vibrant fall foliage, is the perfect destination. Let's introduce you to some must-visit spots that will make your autumn journey in Kyoto unforgettable.

In this article, we'll focus on spots located in the northeastern, eastern, and northwestern directions from JR Kyoto Station, which can be reached within 10-30 minutes using public transportation. We'll list them from north to south, so you can explore them in order while taking a leisurely stroll.

  1. Philosopher's Path: Stroll along this picturesque canal-side path lined with hundreds of cherry and maple trees. During autumn, the trees form a vibrant canopy of colors over the water. The Philosopher's Path spans a 1.5-kilometer route. We highly recommend taking a leisurely stroll, pausing to visit the nearby temples and shrines along the way.

    The Philosopher's Path, where beautiful autumn foliage adorns the way

  2. Eikando Temple: Among the many renowned autumn foliage spots in Kyoto, Eikan-do Temple is praised for its stunning fall colors to the extent that it is mentioned in the "Kokin Wakashu," an ancient poetry collection. Approximately 3,000 maple trees adorn the temple's grounds, creating a picturesque scene where the temple is beautifully harmonized with the surrounding fall foliage, and the entire landscape is immersed in the beauty of the autumn leaves.

    The red-glowing autumn leaves of Eikan-do Temple

  3. Nanzen-ji TempleNanzen-ji Temple: Autumn at Nanzen-ji Temple is especially captivating, with its golden-hued trees surrounding the Hojo Pond and the beautiful dry landscape Zen garden. Be sure to visit the splendid Suiro-kaku aqueduct, characterized by its impressive arched architecture, as it's a must-see spot.

    Suiro-kaku aqueduct at Nanzen-ji Temple

  4.  Kodai-ji Temple: Within the temple grounds, you can capture the reflection of vibrant autumn leaves on the surface of the pond. Additionally, Kodai-ji Temple was one of the first temples in Kyoto to introduce nighttime illumination of autumn foliage, making it incredibly popular for this feature. You can stay from the time the sun sets until the illumination begins. If you have the time, comparing the daytime and nighttime views can be quite enjoyable.

    The water's surface reflects inverted crimson leaves

  5. Kiyomizu-dera Temple: This renowned temple, often considered the symbol of Kyoto, is surrounded by breathtaking vibrant red and golden leaves in autumn. The wooden terrace jutting out from the main hall is enveloped by lush trees, creating a picturesque and almost painterly scene.

    Burning red trees envelop the wooden terrace

  6. Tofukuji Temple: Known for its stunning Tsutenkyo Bridge, Tofukuji offers captivating views of maple trees in their autumn glory. The bridge becomes a focal point as it crosses a sea of red and gold.

  7. Fushimi Inari Shrine: Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, attracts visitors year-round. During the autumn season, you can witness the stunning harmony between the vermilion gates and vibrant foliage. Particularly in the early hours of the morning, the sunlight filtering through the gates creates a divine atmosphere, making it an excellent time to explore.

    Senbon Torii “Thousand Torii” gateways.


Make sure to plan ahead and book your accommodations and transportation in advance for a smooth and enjoyable autumn escape to Kyoto. Experience the magic of the season in this timeless city where tradition and nature intertwine.

In Japan, the summer of 2023 has been described as one of the hottest in over a century. This scorching heat has also delayed the arrival of autumn significantly, with daily temperatures still exceeding 30°C even in late September. As a result, the peak of fall foliage in Kyoto is expected to be later than usual, occurring in the latter half of November.

This means that the peak viewing period will be a few weeks later than the typical schedule. For those whose timing aligns with this, we hope you'll enjoy the beauty of late autumn foliage in Kyoto.

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Seat guide

Shinkansen seats are available in four levels depending on the comfort and services your require.

Ordinary Seat

Regular seats used on Reserved cars and Unreserved cars of Shinkansen. Consider it as "economy class" seat.

Green Seat

Better seats with more space than ordinary seats. All Green Seats are reserved only. Consider it as "business class" seats.

Reserved Seat (Ordinary Reserved Seat)

Your seat is reserved and secured when you book your tickets. Head to the station with a peace of mind.
Seats are the same as Ordinary Seat.

Green Reserved Seat

Better seats and free blankets. Popular among Japanese business persons, executives and people who values comfortable travel. Consider it as "business class" seats.

GranClass Seat

Know as "First Class" of Shinkansen seats. Only available on Hokuriku and Tohoku Shinkansen lines. Gran Class seats comes with airline-like amenities and meals.The most expensive of all.

Unreserved Seat

You can take any open seats in unreserved cars of any train on the departure date. (No departure time will be indicated on your tickets.)
The best seat type if your priority is the cost and are traveling during less-crowded season/time.



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