Autumn: Oct - Nov

Autumn Foliage in Kyoto 2023 : The 8 Best Japanese Gardens

kosan

The fall foliage in Japan, that season is from early-November to early-December, is well known around the world and many tourists visit Japanese gardens which have beautiful autumn leaves.

Especially, Kyoto city is best place to see vivid colorful leaves, caused by the difference of temperature in the day and night. In addition, Kyoto city has many types of stunning Japanese gardens which are convenient to go.

Here is 8 best Japanese gardens in fall foliage 2023, you should see.

Kiyomizu-dera temple

kiyomizu-dera temple fall foliage
Kiyomizu-dera temple view in fall foliage

Kiyomizu-dera temple has expansive views of fall foliage, a wooden stage that out over the hillside and over 1000 maple trees down there.  In the end of fall season, Those maple tree leaves change red and gold color.

The combination of autumn leaves color and Japanese traditional wooden architecture is a stunning and many tourist visit there. The hillside path, which past that stage, leading into maple forest is out of this world. 

Information

Open hours

PeriodTime
Normal6:00 – 18:00
Summer season (Jul.1 – Aug.31)6:00 – 18:30
Special night viewing time
(Mar.23th – Mar.31th)
(Aug.14 – Aug.16) and (Nov.18- Nov.30)
6:00 – 17:30 (Day time)
18:30 – 21:30 (Night time)
(21:00 Last entry)

※Temple is closed during after day time and before night time(17:30 – 18:30)

Address
1 Chome-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0862

Official web site
Kiyomizu-dera temple(English text)

Eikan-do Zenrin-ji

Hojo pond of Eikan-do in fall foliage
Hojo pond of Eikando Zenrinji- temple in fall foliage

If you want to see many Japanese garden types with autumn leaves at the same time, I highly recommend Eikando Zenrin-ji temple.
This temple has 3 types of garden: “Ornamental pond garden” is the small pond garden which we see from a building, ” strolling pond garden “ is a large garden with ponds which we stroll around and “Japanese dry garden” is made of rock, gravel and sand.

The above picture which Hozyo-pond known as strolling pond garden type is good view with green moth.

Information

Open hours

PeriodOpen hours
Normal period9:00 – 16:00
(Gates are closed at 17:00)
(Night Visit Event)
November, 3rd to December 3rd
17:30 – 20:30
(Gate are closed at 21:00)

Address
48 Eikandocho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8445

Official web site
Eikando Zenrin-ji(English text)

Ginkaku-ji

Strolling pond garden with Ginkaku-ji in fall foliage
Strolling pond garden with Ginkaku-ji in fall foliage

Ginkaku-ji, which is located at Easton mountains in Kyoto city, is not only known as silver pavilion, but also has elegant garden.

In addition to autumn leaves, the garden design, which has pond, stone arrangements and traditional tea house is accompanied by Japanese aesthetics.  Visitors go around the pond and see colorful leaves with silver pavilion.

Information

Open hours
8:30 ~ 17:00(Summer : May.1 – Nov.30)
9:00 ~ 16:30(Winter : Dec.1 – Feb. 28)

Adress
2 Ginakuji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8402 Japan

Official web site
Ginkaku-ji(English text)

Kinkaku-ji

Kinkakuji(Golden pavilion) in autumn season
Kinkakuji(Golden pavilion) in autumn season

Kinkaku-ji Temple, also known as the Golden Pavilion, is one of the most iconic sights in Kyoto and a masterpiece of Japanese Zen Buddhism architecture. The Golden Pavilion’s top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf, reflecting the intricate craftsmanship and luxurious artistry of the era. During the autumn season, Kinkaku-ji becomes even more enchanting.

The Japanese pond garden”Kagami kyochi” surrounding the temple are meticulously designed, featuring a variety of trees that burst into spectacular colors in the fall. 

Information

Open hours
9:00 – 17:00

Adress
1 Kinkakujicho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-8361

Official web site
Kinkaku-ji(English text)

Tofuku-ji

Gaun bridge of Tofuku-ji in fall foliage
Gaun bridge of Tofuku-ji in fall foliage

Tofuku-ji is famous as a magical scenery that the bridge seems to be floating in the sea of fall leaves. There are more than 2000 Japanese maple trees , planted in Muromachi period (from 14th to 16th) . 
Visitors also walk in Japanese maple valley which is a different world from above.

The landscape, turning red all at the same time, will take your breath away.
Tofukuji also has Japanese dry garden, which use sand, rocks, moss and pruned tree. This garden is also worth a visit.

Information

Open hours

PeriodTime
December 5th – March9:00 ~ 15:30(close at 16:00)
April – October9:30 ~ 16:00(close at 16:30)
Special fall viewing
November. 1st – December. 4th
8:30 ~ 16:00(close at 16:30)

Address 
15 Chome-778 Honmachi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Tofukuji

Official web site
Tofuku-ji(Japanese text only)

Enko-ji temple

View of fall foliage from the main hole in Enkoji temple
View of fall foliage from the main hole in Enko-ji temple

It is a picturesque view of fall foliage in Enkoji temple.  The pillars and red felt carpet look like a picture frame. The main part is an artistic harmony with the colorful autumn leaves which dramatic sun rays in the garden and the stones with green moth. This is in a world is much different from the busy. Enkoji temple also has modern Japanese dry garden which evolved with an English garden ideas to acquire a new representation.

Information

Open hours

PeriodOpen hours
Normal period9:00 – 17:00
(Special fall viewing)
November, 11th to December 5th
8:00 – 17:00

Address
13 Ichijoji Kotanicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8147 

Official web sites
Enkoji temple(English text)

Ruriko-in temple

Ruriko-in Temple in autumn season

Ruriko-in Temple is a temple located in the northern part of Kyoto city, Sakyo Ward. This temple is renowned for its magical panorama view that reflects off a large lacquered black table in the second floor”Shoin” of the temple. During the autumn when the autumn leaves change color, This reflection creates a breathtaking scene dominated by a vibrant tapestry of reds, oranges, yellows.

Moreover, in the tea room on the first floor, temple offers  beautiful vistas where visitors admire the vibrant autumnal foliage.

Information

Open hours
Oct 1st, 2023 to Dec 12th, 2023
10:00 ~ 17:00(The office closes at 16:30)

Adress
〒606-0067 Kyoto, Sakyo Ward, Kamitakano Higashiyama, 55

Official web site
Ruriko-in temple(Japanese text only)

Sanzen-in temple

Sanzen-in temple in autumn season
Sanzen-in temple in autumn season

Sanzen-in temple is was founded in 804, located in Northern part of Kyoto City, Sakyo Ward, Ohara. This temple is renowned for its beautiful gardens, which feature pond garden “Shuheki-en garden”, composed of  placed rocks, pruned trees and shrubs green moss-covered grounds and winding rivers. Visitors can order matchas and overlook a sweeping vista of the garden from the main hall with red felt carpets.

During autumn, this view becomes even more breathtaking. The vibrant autumn leaves  provide a stunning contrast against the green moss and the subdued colors of the stones and architectural elements. 

Information

Open hours

PeriodOpen hours
Mar to Oct, 20239:00 – 17:00
Nov,20238:30 – 17:00
Dec,2023 to Feb,20249:00 – 16:30

Address
540 Ohararaikoincho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 601-1242

Official web site
Sanzen-in temple(English text)

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