Kyoto City, Japan is one of the most popular destinations, both for locals and oversea tourists, to view autumn foliage. The combination of historical architecture, temples and shrines, and warm autumnal colors are a breathtaking sight to see. Kyoto in the fall is truly a living masterpiece, and is often considered the most beautiful season to visit for a reason.
But where in Kyoto, Japan should you visit to see the best of the fall maple leaves and autumn views? We’ve rounded 6 of the best places in Kyoto City to visit to take in all of the autumn colors and sights!

When is Kyoto’s Fall Foliage Season?

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Kyoto’s fall season begins in late October, as the leaves begin changing color. There will still be quite a bit of green on the trees until the middle of November, however. For the best views, we recommend visiting in late November, when the entire city is covered in a riot of reds, yellows, and golds. Unlike the shorter cherry blossom season in spring, the fall foliage usually lasts for up to 4-5 weeks. If the weather cooperates, you can still enjoy the autumnal views in Kyoto in early December.
Like the popular spring cherry blossom season, Fall in Kyoto is one of the most popular tourist seasons. Be sure to make reservations for hotels in Kyoto well ahead of time and plan out your trip accordingly. The amazing Kyoto fall views that can only be seen during this time are well worth the extra effort in planning!


See our recommended accommodations in Kyoto: MACHIYA RESIDENCE INN KYOTO

Togetsu-kyo Bridge and Arashiyama Area

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First on our list is the Arashiyama area, one of the best places to enjoy the nature of Kyoto and Japan. Although a popular destination all year, the Kyoto autumn season brings reds and yellows to the hillsides to create a spectacular fall view.
Although there are many spots within the Arashiyama area to take in the autumn leaves of Japan, we recommend the Togetsu-kyo Bridge to start out with. This famous sightseeing spot looks amazing with the backdrop of the fall leaves surrounding the area, but be sure to venture out onto the bridge for one of our favorite views! We also reccommend taking a trip out to the bamboo forests that are famous in Arashiyama. The browns and red of fall in Japan bring out the greens of the bamboo, making for an ethreal view!
From JR Kyoto Station, take the train to JR Saga-Arashiyama Station. The trip takes about 20 minutes. There is so much to see and do just in the Arashiyama area, so we recommend scheduling at least a half day in Arashiyama to take in the sights.
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Togetsu-kyo Bridge

Address1-5 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8384
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Bishamon-do Temple

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This fall favorite is nestled on the outskirts of Kyoto City, Japan in the Yamashina district.  Althought Bishamon-do Temple is not as well known to oversea guests, this quiet temple is one of the most famous spots in Kyoto in autumn.
Fall in Japan conjures images of rich reds and yellows, and Bishamon-do Temple does not disappoint. The main attraction here during the fall is the slope that leads up to the Chokushimon Gate. The stone approach to the temple gate is flanked on either side by maple trees that turns a brilliant red. If you time your visit early in the day, you may be lucky enough to see a blanket of red momiji leaves covering the entire walkway. The groundskeepers usually sweep up the leaves throughout the day, so this breathtaking view can only be seen earlier in the day.
This Kyoto fall favorite is about a 20 minute walk from Yamashina Station, which is only 1 stop from JR Kyoto Station. Although it is one of the top destinations in Kyoto during autumn peak seasons, Bishamon-do is usually much less crowded then other sightseeing spots.
 Bishamon-do Temple
Address18 Anshuinariyamacho, Yamashina Ward, Kyoto, 607-8003
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Ruriko-in Temple

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You may have seen our next recommendation on social media, as it has gained popularity in recent years. Ruriko-in Temple is located at the base of Mt. Hiei, and is only open to the public during a limited time, so is considered one of the hardest temples to visit in the city. If you’re looking for an unforgettable place to visit during autumn in Japan, then this is one of the best to visit in Kyoto in fall!
Since this temple is open for a very limited time, there can be quite a crowd. But the ethreal views are definitely worth the trip. Visitors all come to see the view from the 2nd floor of the Shoin building, where the windows are opened wide to see the colorful autumn leaves. But what makes this specific view so special? Large black laquered tables in the room act as a mirror and reflect the scenery. This is called “yuka momiji”(literally translating to floor leaves), and this picturesque view has quickly become one of the most famous Kyoto fall sights.
You can access Ruriko-in from JR Kyoto Station by bus.  Take the Kyoto City Bus from Kyoto Station to Yase-eki-mae bus stop, from where the temple is a 10 minute walk. As this is a popular destination in Kyoto during autumn, we recommend timing your visit early in the morning as soon as they open, or visiting during the weekdays when there will be less local Japanese tourists.
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 Ruriko-in Temple
Address44 Kamitakano Higashiyama, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-006
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Kiyomizudera Temple

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Our next pick for top destinations in Kyoto in the fall season is Kiyomizu-dera Temple. This is arguably one of the most famous temples, not only in Kyoto city, but throughout all of Japan. Although we recommend visiting during your Kyoto travels regardless of season, Kiyomizu-dera Temple truly shines during the fall in Japan.

The view from the famous wooden terrace here at Kiyomizu-dera Temple is phenomenal, and the array of autumnal leaves that can be seen from you is beautiful. The daytime views are worth the trip, but if you can, we reccommend visiting during the night. Many sightseeing spots in Kyoto city offer special light-ups and night viewing during the Kyoto autumn season, but Kiyomizu-dera’s special night viewing is hands down our favorite. The sight of the famous terrace floating over a sea of lit up red momiji leaves in the dark is one of the best views not only in Kyoto, but autumn in Japan.

To get to Kiyomizu-dera Temple, take the bus from JR Kyoto Station to Gojo-zaka bus stop. From the bus stop, it’s an uphill walk up to the temple, and there are also steps once you get there. Be sure to put on your walking shoes!

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 Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Address1 Chome-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0862
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Tofukuji Temple

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If you ask where the best place to see autumn leaves in Kyoto are, many locals will point out Tofukuji Temple. This large Zen temple in southeastern Kyoto city is often said to be the site of the most beautiful autumn leaves in Japan.
Tofukuji is a large temple, but the star of the Kyoto fall season is the Tsutenkyo Bridge. This bridge is a 100m covered walkway that spans a valley of maple trees. The view of the vibrant red leaves beneath the bridge brings many visitors, especially during the peak season in late November. We recommend visiting early in the morning or during the weekdays to avoid the crowds.
Tofukuji Temple is only a 10 minute walk from Tofukuji Station on the JR Nara Line, 1 stop from JR Kyoto Station. It’s also located close to Fushimi Inari Shrine, making it easy to plan a trip.
 Tofukuji Temple
Address15 Chome-778 Honmachi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0981
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Enkouji Temple

Last but certainly not least on our list of the best places to visit in Kyoto for fall is Enkouji Temple (Enkoji Temple). This zen temple is off the beaten path, and is a hidden gem during the fall in Japan. Located on the outskirts of Kyoto city, Enkouji is one of Kyoto’s best-kept secrets during autumn in Japan.
Enkouji Temple features a beautiful garden with a pond, and while the greenery in summer is charming, the maple leaves come alive in fall. You can sit and enjoy the view out into the garden relatively peacefully, which is a treasure during the popular Kyoto fall season. But don’t forget to climb the hill behind the garden for one of the most spectacular views of autumn leaves in Japan! You’ll have a view of the temple as well as the city and all of the colorful autumn leaves on display.
To visit Enkouji Temple, we recommend taking the bus from JR Kyoto Station to Ichijoji Sagarimatsucho bus stop, from where you can walk to the temple. Although the bus ride is about 50 minutes long, the fall views are worth the trip. You can also combine your trip with a visit the Shugakuin Imperial Villa, famous for traditional imperial style buildings and gardens.
 Enkouji Temple
Address13 Ichijoji Kotanicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8147
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Enjoy the Views of Fall Foliage During Your Kyoto Vacation!

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