Aug. 28, 2018 UPDATE
Most beautiful autumn leaf viewing spots in Kyoto
Hop on Hankyu and hit these autumn leaves spots in western Kyoto
Hankyu is a private railway operating in Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe, and with it, you can easily get from Umeda, Osaka, to Arashiyama or Kawaramachi in Kyoto. There are many great spots in Arashiyama you can easily get to by taking Hankyu, but you should also remember that there is the huge shrine of Nagaoka Tenmangu on the way, which looks exceptional in autumn.
Nagaoka Tenmangu ShrineNagaoka Tenmangu Shrine is famous for its connections with the god of learning, Sugawara no Michizane (845-903 AD), who was originally a court noble and scholar in the Heian period. The shrine is not a popular tourist destination, so it shouldn’t be too crowded even in the peak autumn leaves season. The closest station is Hankyu’s Nagaoka Tenjin Station.
Katsura Imperial VillaThe Katsura Imperial Villa has an incredible garden, but you want to make a reservation for it, as there is a limited number of tickets they have at the door. And if you want to get there without a reservation, you have to wake up early, as you also need to line up for the tickets. And after you get your tickets, you have to wait even a few hours before you actually get in. But you don’t need to do all this if you just make a reservation online!
In the garden, you get to see beautiful Japanese court architecture, surrounded by autumn leaves. Worth the hassle of making a reservation, to say the least. The closest station is Hankyu’s Katsura Station.
Terazou CaféIf you go to Katsura Imperial Villa, you should also go to Terazou Café, a very nice restaurant just a stone throw away from the villa. This restaurant specializes in Japanese cuisine using local ingredients, and what makes it stand out is just how much food you get. Very good value for money, and also tastes excellent too! The closest station is also Katsura Station.
Tenryu-ji TempleTenryu-ji Temple is the most famous temple in Arashiyama, and it’s a tourist spot that is a must-visit for most people coming to Kyoto. The temple garden is huge and looks especially beautiful in autumn. While this temple is a nice spot to visit any time of the year, it’s especially recommended if you’re coming to Kyoto in autumn or during the cherry blossom season. The closest station is Hankyu’s Arashiyama Station when talking of Hankyu, although Randen’s Arashiyama Station is even closer.
Hogon-in TempleHogon-in Temple is a sub-temple of Tenryu-ji that is not normally open to the public. However, during the autumn leaves and cherry blossom season, the temple opens its doors and you get to see its beautiful garden. The beautiful scenery unfolding in the garden, with its moss carpet and red maple leaf roof, is something you have to see in Arashiyama. As this is a sub-temple of Tenryu-ji located quite close to the head temple, the closest stations are the same as Tenryu-ji’s.