Oct. 09, 2019 UPDATE
Kyoto's World Heritage Level Autumn Leaves – What’s Your Plans? 2019 Kyoto Autumn Feature
Part 2

Kyoto Temples, Shrines, and Autumn Leaves

In this part, we’ll introduce you to some autumn leaf spots that combine the beauty of the leaves with icons of Kyoto, such as temple and shrine gates. Below information on the best photos spots, and things to keep in mind when snapping your pictures is included.

Make Kyoto’s beautiful temples and shrines the places you’ll be enjoying the fall foliage at!
Nanzen-ji Temple
Nanzen-ji Temple
At the ever so popular Nanzen-ji Temple, you can catch the combination of the giant 22m Sanmon temple gate with the warmly colored autumn leaves. The trees standing on either side of the gate are pretty, but it’s really the magnificent painting-like scenes that come from viewing the maples through the various pillars that should be seen.

Also, if you take the opportunity to go up the Sanmon gate, you will see a complete view of the forest of trees that colors the temple grounds. If you have the time, why not go and take a look for yourself.
Bishamon-do Temple
Bishamon-do Temple
10 minutes’ walk from the Yamashina Station, the Bishamon-do Temple finds its home in a calm and serene area of Kyoto. Although this temple is quite a ways away from the central city, the maple trees that line each side of the steps leading to the temple are so popular that you are almost guaranteed that you won’t be the only one around.

However, although the steps are favored by many visitors, we recommend the Kodai Benzaiten hall found next to the main hall. Here you will find the beautiful combination of a torii shrine gate and dazzling autumn leaves. There are other spots where you can get a similar pairing, but as this torii gate isn’t overly large, you can capture it in its entirety even with a phone camera and get some really wonderful pictures.
Unryū-in Temple
Unryū-in Temple
Located close to the popular tourist destination of the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, at Unryū-in Temple, sub-temple of the larger Sennyuji Temple, you can catch beautiful autumn leaves through Japanese paper sliding doors. As the frames each capture a different view of the scenery outside, it looks as if the room is decorated with four unique paintings.

This spot may not feature a sprawling vista of maple trees, but it does have a naturally calming, quiet beauty to it. For those who want to enjoy a more peaceful autumn, then we recommend making your way to the Unryū-in Temple.
Daigo-ji Temple
Daigo-ji Temple
Known for its national treasure designated five-storied pagoda, Daigo-ji Temple is also one of Kyoto’s many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. While this temple is famous for its beautiful springtime cherry blossoms, it’s also home to some of the most stunning autumn foliage in the city too.

The autumn foliage can be enjoyed from just about anywhere in the temple grounds. However, a particularly outstanding spot is the small Bentendo hall. On sunny days, the radiant crimson of the bridge and of the hall reflect off the water like a mirror, creating the most dazzlingly beautiful scene.
If you can, we highly suggest visiting on a clear day!
Kōtō-in Temple
Kōtō-in Temple
One of 22 sub-temples located in the Daitoku-ji Temple grounds, Kōtō-in Temple sits quietly tucked away surrounded by a bamboo forest in its own corner of the temple.
When blanketed in fallen leaves, the path leading to the main hall becomes wrapped in a gentle, almost cleansing, beauty. The experience of pausing in a serene Zen Temple and taking the time to soak in the beauty of the fall foliage is truly like no other.

At Kōtō-in Temple you can enjoy the beauty of fallen autumn leaves to their fullest, so we recommend this temple to anyone with an affinity for piles of leaves.
Kitano Tenmangū Shrine
Kitano Tenmangū Shrine
Known for housing the god of learning, Kitano Tenmangū Shrine is also home to a maple grove where you can catch the harmonized scene of a crimson bridge against the backdrop of a crimson forest.
Usually, the shrine sees more visitors during the later hours of the day, so if you’re looking to catch an unobstructed glimpse of this magnificent scene, then we recommended getting up bright and early.

The fallen leaves floating on the river that flows below the bridge is an outstanding sight to see as well. When crossing the bridge, make sure to take the time to peer down and take in this scene too.
The combination of Kyoto icons such as traditional bridges and torii shrine gates with the city's fall foliage is simply incredible. Together they create picturesque scenes that make you want to just zone out and gaze out at. If you're here during this season, then definitely take the opportunity to experience the unique beauty of autumn at Kyoto's various shrines and temples.
Share

Page Top