Kyoto Autumn Colors

Gozasho Garden, Sennyu-ji Temple, Kyoto.

Imagine hundreds of temple and shrine gardens turning into a sea of crimson colors. Welcome to Kyoto, Japan’s most popular place to view autumn foliage (see my favorites on Google Maps).

Depending on the weather and the situation, the intensity and progress of the colors will vary greatly. In general, the second half of November is the best time to see many crimson-colored maple leaves (momiji). When planning your itinerary, be sure to check out the autumn color reports on for more details.

Small Town Feel

Until Tokyo took over in 1868, Kyoto was the capital of Japan for more than a thousand years. This explains the large number of historical sites in the city, many of which are acknowledged as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. As the city was largely spared from air raids during World War II, many of its structures survived.

The Japanese have taken great pains to preserve the traditional appearance of their former capital. Its urban landscape is characterized by an almost complete absence of high-rise structures. This is achieved by imposing height restrictions on new developments. Although it is home to approximately 1.5 million people, Kyoto retains a true small town feel, particularly in some of its temple districts and historic neighborhoods. 

Zenrin-ji Eikan-do Temple Garden, Kyoto, Japan.