Best Autumn Leaves Spots in Kyoto 2023

Best Temples and Shrines in Kyoto for Autumn Leaves Viewing

Where is the best place to enjoy autumn leaves in Japan?? Kyoto is arguably the best city in Japan for autumn leaves viewing. Nothing better than viewing colourful autumn leaves with Kyoto’s gorgeous historical sites including temples, shrines and beautiful gardens. But out of hundreds, where are the best autumn leaves viewing spots in Kyoto??

From popular landmarks to hidden gems, I have picked the most amazing spots in Kyoto for autumn leaves viewing, so please check them out if you are planning to visit Kyoto for autumn leaves hunting!

*Please note that this article contains affiliate links.


1. Tofukuji Temple

Founded in 1,236, Tofukuji Temple (東福寺) is a Zen temple located south-east of Kyoto City. It’s one of top autumn leaves spots in Kyoto. The temple displays a dynamic view of autumn leaves in the 2,000 m2 vast Japanese garden which can be viewed from the Tsutenkyo Bridge, the 100m bridge connecting Hondo Hall and Kaisando Hall.

Map:http://bit.ly/2NN0LtI

Best viewing time: mid to late November

More info:

2. Enkoji Temple

Enkoji Temple (圓光寺) is a temple located in outskirt of Kyoto City. It’s one of the best off-the-beaten-track destinations in Kyoto. The temple features gorgeous Japanese gardens which display stunning views during autumn.

Map: http://bit.ly/2v7qMvM

Best viewing time: mid November to early December

More info:

3. Enrian Temple

Enrian Temple (厭離庵) is a small, hidden temple located off the main street of Kyoto City. The temple is closed for public through the year except for the autumn leaves season in November to December. The autumn leaves in Enrian Temple is known for its burning red colour.

Map:http://bit.ly/2NKO6as

Best viewing time:mid to late November

More info:

4. Eikando Zenrinji Temple

Eikando Zenrinji Temple (永観堂 禅林寺) is a Buddhist temple in Kyoto founded in 863. The temple is especially famous for the gorgeous view of autumn leaves and the pagoda, and the spectacular light-up event is held at night during the season.

Map:http://bit.ly/2v4EQ9r

Best viewing time: mid to late November

More info:

5. Rurikoin Temple

Rurikoin Temple (瑠璃光院) is a quiet temple located in near Mt Hiei. The temple is open for public only three times a year during spring, summer and autumn. The temple has several features displaying the stunning views of autumn leaves including the room on 2nd floor with the picturesque colourful leaves.

Map: http://bit.ly/2NLCZOq

Best viewing time: early to mid November

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6. Kodaiji Temple

Kodaiji Temple (高台寺) is located in Higashiyama area, Kyoto City. The rock garden of the temple is highly regarded and it displays stunning view of autumn leaves. The temple is one of the most popular spots for the light-up at night during autumn leaves season.

Map: http://bit.ly/2LFQkuv

Best viewing time: mid November to early December

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7. Nanzenji Temple

Nanzenji Temple (南禅寺) is a large Buddhist temple complex which consists multiple sites including temple buildings, zen gardens and walk trails in 15,000 square meters area. Each site is tinted by maple trees in red, yellow and orange colours. The light-up event at night is also popular attraction of the temple during autumn.

Map: http://bit.ly/2LCSVp6

Best viewing time: mid to late November

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8. Kiyomizudera Temple

One of the most popular landmarks in Kyoto, Kiyomizudera Temple (清水寺) is best known for its large wooden terrace and the magnificent view of the temple complex. When the surrounded nature turn into red autumn colours, the scenery gets even more spectacular as if the temple stands on the burning fire. The light-up is held during the autumn season, too.

Map: http://bit.ly/2OhtKqs

Best viewing time: mid November to early December

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9. Jojakkoji Temple

Jojakkoji Temple (常寂光寺) is a pleasant and peaceful temple surrounded by a serene forest of Arashiyama, Kyoto. The temple is situated on the slope of the mountain and offers a great overlook view of the city. The temple is home to over 200 maple trees which displays a splendid view at all around the site.

Map: http://bit.ly/2LFBtjM

Best viewing time: mid November to early December

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10. Gioji Temple

Gioji Temple (祇王寺) is a small temple located in Arashiyama area, Kyoto. The temple is best known for its moss garden which is covered in green during spring to summer. The garden also displays a stunning view when the maple trees turn into red making an amazing contrast with the green moss.

Map: http://bit.ly/2LAPejv

Best viewing time: mid November to early December

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11. Okochi Sanso Villa

Okochi Sanso Villa (大河内山荘) is the former home and garden of the famous Japanese actor Denjiro Okochi and it’s located on the hill top of Arashiyama area. The villa is open for public and attracts visitors with the beautiful Japanese garden and scenic views. Various autumn colours can be seen at the villa with the gradation of red, orange, yellow and green. From the observation deck, you can enjoy autumn leaves with the view of  the city and the mountain on background.

Map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/e9vUAVaixtxrj35f7

Best viewing time: mid to late November

More info:

+NAKED FLOWERS

NAKED FLOWERS Autumn 2023
© 2023 NAKED,INC.

One of the most exciting autumn events in Kyoto will be held in Nijo Castle, the former residence of the mighty shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa and part of UNESCO World Heritage Site. NAKED FLOWERS produced by the Japanese creative company, NAKED will be held for a limited time during the autumn leaves season. The night event features the breathtaking illumination and digital artworks in a collaboration with autumn leaves and the historic monuments. Please check further details and ticket info of the event from the link below!

More info: Nijo Castle Autumn Light-Up by NAKED 

Ticket: Book NAKED FLOWERS 2023 Autumn at Nijo Castle


How did you enjoy the list of best autumn leaves spots in Kyoto?? These temples and shrines are recommended to visit through the year, but if you want to capture even more special views, the autumn leaves season is the best time to visit there! For more info about travelling in Kyoto, please check out these articles listed below, too!

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