Autumn: Oct - Nov

Eikando Zenrin-ji | the best time to visit in 2023


Autumn in Kyoto is a spectacle of nature that beautifully complements the city’s historic architecture and cultural heritage. One of the top spots for autumn foliage is Eikando Zenrin-ji, drawing visitors with vibrant colors and beautiful temple complex. Eikando Zenrin-ji is a historical Zen temple, located in the eastern part of Kyoto, Sakyo Ward. Visitors walk along wooden corridors, connected between Japanese authentic buildings to see Japanese gardens and buddha statues. 

There are three types of Japanese garden: the strolling pond garden which is the large garden with a pond and a circulation path, the Japanese dry garden, composed of sand, and furthermore the courtyard garden, surrounded by temples. Those gardens give a sense of elegance and beauty.

However, even in such a beautiful temple, the best time is short, for example the peak of autumn foliage in 2022 was only two weeks: the third and fourth week of November.

If you have a plan, It’s better to know the timing in advance. Here is the best season and time to visit Eikan-do temple in 2023.


Eikando, known formally as Zenrin-ji, was established in the Heian period by Shinjo, a disciple of Kukai, the founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism.

In 1072, the priest Eikan entered the temple and built a facility to treat the illnesses of the poor for free, conducting charitable activities for those in need. The temple was affectionately called Eikando among the people. Although the temple was destroyed during the Onin War(1467 – 1477), it was restored in the Edo period and has survived to the present day.

The best season

Autumn season

the strolling pond garden at Eikando Zenrin-ji in fall season
The strolling pond garden at Eikando Zenrin-ji in fall season

Eikando has a vast Japanese garden, where about 3000 Japanese maple trees are planted, known as “Maple tree temple”. Although there are many gardens where Maple trees grow in Japan, Eikando’s one is known for many cultivated maple varieties, such as Japanese maple, Fullmoon maple, Painted maple, and more. In the fall, they change burst of color from yellow to red and warm visitor’s hearts. It’s a great color combinations of a vibrant fall leaves color within the island which the bridge connects with the pond and evergreen moss color, covering the ground.

the strolling pond garden at Eikando Zenrin-ji in fall season

Ginkgos, which are a hight of  100ft (30m), shine beautifully in gold at the same time. They are planted as a background tree, located away from the center of garden to enhance the overall view. Moreover, there is an authentic Japanese tea shop, serving green tea and sweets with red felt benches and Japanese parasols in front of the elegant strolling pond garden. 

The two pairs of Jizo  Bosatu with Japanese maple tree
The two pairs of Jizo  Bosatu with Japanese maple tree

There are some stone ornaments which is essential elements of Japanese garden in Eikando. The two pairs of Jizo  Bosatu express statue the wisdom on the left in the photo and mercy on the right. Those stone statue is good  combination with red dark fall leaves color.

Night Visit  Event

The strolling pond garden at Eikando Zenrin-ji in fall season
The strolling pond garden at Eikando Zenrin-ji in fall season

Eikando holds the Night visit event during the peak of fall season. Lights illuminate the main hall, pagoda, fall trees and Japanese pond garden and visitors walk on the main path. The highlight of light-up event is the breathtaking view of water mirror, which is reflected pond with fall trees. Japanese tea shop open during the Night visit event and visitors sit on the benches and admire the fantastic scenes. 

Summer season

Japanese Maple tree(Acer palmatums 'Nomura’)
Japanese Maple tree(Acer palmatums ‘Nomura’) keep red color in summer

Eikando is a good cool down spot in the summer season. There are many Japanese maple trees with densely leaves, which are making shadow, also river and pond water, taking the heat for evaporation. 
Japanese crepe myrtles are beautiful with pink and purple flower. Water lilies and lotuses bloom on the pond. Acer palmatums ‘Nomura’, whose one of the Japanese maple tree types, have a light bronze-red color leaves in early spring, and moreover hold the same color in summer season, like fall.

How to avoid tourist crowds

It’s obviously that Kyoto city is crowded with tourists in fall season and moreover Eikan-do is one of the popular temples. However, a little planning helps you to visit easily. Here is some advices to avoid crowds.


PeriodOpen hoursAdmission
Normal period9:00 – 16:00
(Gates are closed at 17:00)
Adults: 600 yen
Elementary to high school students : 400 yen
(Night Visit Event)
November, 3rd to December 3rd
17:30 – 20:30
(Gate are closed at 21:00)
junior high school or older: 600 yen

Autumnal Exhibition
(Nov.3 – Dec.3 9:00 – 16:00)
(Gates are closed at 17:00)

Adults: 1000 yen
Elementary to high school students : 400 yen

Regular holiday

48 Eikandocho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8445

Flowers and seasons

※The time when the flowers bloom varies slightly depending on the year.

Plum blossomsLate Feb – Mid Mar
Cherry blossomsLate Mar – Early Apr
AzaleasMid Apr – Early May
Japanese Maple tree
(fall leaves)
Mid Nov – Late Nov

Link and Resource

Official web site
Eikando Zenrin-ji(EN)