[2021] Summary of Kyoto “Koyo” Spots

2019-10-15 2021/10/27 PLEASURE
This article was updated on 2021/10/27.

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Kyoto is famous as a tourist spot for historical shrines and temples etc. It is also known for having many “Koyo” (the autumn leaves) spots. How about looking at the autumn leaves while enjoying walking around shrines and temples? On this occasion, I will introduce you to recommended “Koyo” spots in Kyoto. (The best viewing season are based on a typical year.)

Kiyomizudera Temple

Kiyomizudera temple is a popular sightseeing spot in Kyoto, but in autumn it is also famous for the leaves becoming beautifully colored. The highlight is the “Kiyomizu no Butai” (wooden stage ), surrounded by bright red leaves. The precinct of the temple is illuminated during the autumn leaves season and you can enjoy mystical “Koyo” bathed in light. If you plan to visit Kyoto in autumn, you should definitely consider taking yourself down to this “Koyo” spot.

1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-Ku, Kyoto City
Best viewing season: Mid-November to early December
Illuminiation: 11/18 to 11/30 21:00 last entry

Enkoji Temple

In the Japanese garden of Enkoji temple you can enjoy flowers across all seasons. This is also a popular spot among foreigner visitors. In autumn, you can enjoy the contrast of the beautiful “Koyo” and the rock garden. There is also the attraction that you can enter “Shoin” (study area of the temple) and enjoy looking at the “Koyo” from indoors. This is recommended for those who want to enjoy both the Japanese garden and Koyo.

13 Ichijojikotani-cho, Sakyo-Ku, Kyoto City
Best viewing season: Mid-November to early December
Special visit to autumn leaves: 11/12 to 12/5 8:00-17:00 Advance reservation required

Tofukuji Temple

Tofukuji temple is famous for being the highest-class of “Garan” (purity place where monks gather,) but is also famous as a “Koyo” spot. Within the precinct of the temple, there are approximately 2,000 Japanese maples, and it is full of red and yellow trees during the “Koyo” season. In particular, the “Koyo” seen from “Tsutenkyo” bridge is a spectacular scene and is the photogenic place. This has the attraction that you can enjoy both a venerable temple and “Koyo”.

15-778 Honmachi, Higashiyama-Ku, Kyoto City
Best viewing season: Mid-November to early December
Night viewing: 11/15 to 11/30 from 17:00 (by appointment and in three parts: 17:00, 18:00, and 19:00)

Arashiyama Hanatoro

Arashiyama is a popular “Koyo” location, specified as a national historic site and scenic spot. When autumn comes around, you can enjoy places of beauty where the surrounding area is bathed in red and yellow. During the autumn leaves season, the “Hanatoro”, the popular walking path, is lit up (The event will be cancelled in 2021.) This is a spot that should definitely be visited by people who want to enjoy nature.

Sakyo-Ku and Ukyo-Ku, Kyoto City
Best viewing season: Mid-November to early December

Eikando Temple

Eikando temple is a famous ancient “Koyo” spot, also known as the “Momiji (Japanese maple) no Eikando”. Tourists can enjoy approximately 3,000 Japanese maples within the precinct of the temple. Another attraction is the “Koyo” reflecting in the pond installed within the precinct of the temple. There is also a tea shop there, so you can take a break and enjoy a cup of tea.

48 Eikando-cho, Ukyo-Ku, Kyoto City
Best viewing season: Mid-November to early December
Illumination: 11/6 to 12/5 17:30 until 20:30 (lights out/gates closed at 21: 00)

Kyoto Botanical Gardens

The Kyoto Botanical Gardens are the oldest public botanical gardens in Japan. It is a popular place for being able to enjoy plants through all seasons. In particular, there are most visited during the “Koyo” season in autumn. It has trees from all around the world, such as maple, metasequoia, and Formosan sweetgum, and you can enjoy a type of “Koyo” not found anywhere else. The gardens are extremely large, so it is a spot where you can spend the whole day.

Shimogamohangi-cho, Sakyo-Ku, Kyoto City
Best viewing season: End-October to early December
Illumination: 11/13 to 12/5 Sunset to 20:00 (last entry 19:30)

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

Kitano Tenmangu, Shrine which is famous for the enshrinement of the god of learning, has also attracted popularity as a “Koyo” spot in autumn. The “Koyo” reflected in the Kamiyagawa river flowing the precinct of the temple is mystical. As the site is very large, one of its strong points is that it does not get too crowded during the autumn leaves season. You can take your time viewing the “Koyo”, while enjoying walking within the boundaries of the shrine.

Bakuro-cho, Kamigyo-Ku, Kyoto City
Momijien open: End-October to early December 9:00 to 16:00 (lit up until 20: 00)
Illumination: Mid-November to early December Sunset to 20:00