So autumn in Kyoto can mean…
But that’s okay. (Just like when you’re going to see cherry blossoms in Kyoto.)
Because there are a ton of tourists who visit Kyoto during this time for a reason.
There is TONS of color to be seen around all around Kyoto!
There are a lot of places to see red, orange, and yellow if you are in Kyoto during autumn season.
And, Kyoto can be a perfect place to see fall foliage in Japan because there are lots of temples which can make for a perfect backdrop to those fall colors!
What months can you see fall foliage in Kyoto?
Since it’s nature, the exact dates of the changing of colors will vary based on when it starts getting cold.
But generally speaking, it’s said that you might be able to some form of colorful leaves from mid-October to mid-December. (Yes, December!) So if you have a trip to Japan planned for October, November, or December, you might be able to see some fall colors!
It can also depend on the elevation.
For example, Kyoto is surrounded by mountains which means that even around Kyoto there are some places that are a little higher up, and these see the color change of leaves a bit earlier than around most areas of the city.
15 best places to visit in Kyoto in autumn for fall foliage colors in 3 days!
…when you are in Kyoto around peak fall foliage time!
In 2019, this was around the end of November and the beginning of December. All the pictures you see on this page are from this time.
I did this Kyoto fall colors walk on back-to-back(-to-back) days. This means that you can also use this to judge the places that might have peak fall foliage time earlier (if you see some pictures that have shots of leafless tress) and places that might have fall foliage time later (if you see some pictures that have a mix of green and yellow in them too).
While I did this autumn photo walk when it was generally considered to be peak around the city, I did miss out on seeing fall colors in places like Kurama and Kibune, as well as Mount Hiei. (aka places that get fall colors earlier!)
Perfect fall foliage photo spots in Kyoto!
aka Japan in November and December!
4. Kiyomizu-dera Temple
5. Daimonji-yama hike
6. Ginkakuji Temple
7. Philosopher’s Path walk
8. Honen-In Temple
9. Eikando Temple
10. Nanzenji Temple
11. Hokyo-in Temple
12. Nison-In Temple
13. Jojakkoji Temple
15. Arashiyama bamboo forest
16. Tenryuji Temple
How to put these places into a 3 day Kyoto fall foliage itinerary?!
This is how I did the autumn Kyoto photo walk! This can be perfect if it’s your first trip to Japan because it can give allow you to see some fall colors while also taking in some of what Kyoto (and Japan!) is known for – the history and culture!
DAY 1: Walk from Tofukuji to Kiyomizu-dera
DAY 2: Around the Philosopher’s Path
- Daimonji-yama hike
- Ginkakuji Temple (non-autumn photos)
- Philosopher’s Path walk (summer photos and cherry blossom spring photos)
- Honen-In Temple
- Eikando Temple
- Nanzenji Temple
DAY 3: Around Arashiyama
- Hokyo-in Temple
- Nison-In Temple
- Jojakkoji Temple
- Okochi Sanso Gardens
- Arashiyama bamboo forest (non-autumn photos)
- Tenryuji Temple (non-autumn photos)
Bamboo trees in autumn
Places with bamboo trees (like the famous Arashiyama bamboo forest) may not be so much of a fall photo spot, but with the right surroundings of the bamboo trees, it can make for a nice colorful picture with bamboo trees! For pictures of bamboo trees with colorful leaves in the background, try Arashiyama Bamboo forest, Jojakkoji Temple, and Tenryuji Temple, all in Arashiyama!
Cup of tea in autumn
At many temples, there will also be an outdoor seating area so you can enjoy a cup of tea or another sort of small snack, and even possibly a meal. This can be a way to try matcha green tea (that Kyoto is famous for) surrounded by colorful trees! In Arashiyama, you can also stop by a udon noodle shop for outdoor seating surrounded by colorful trees as you’re walking from temple to temple, specifically between Nison-in Temple and Jojakkoji Temple.
HAPPY SEEING FALL COLORS IN KYOTO!
How to spend winter in Japan
More quick tips for planning your trip to JapanThere are affiliate links on this page that take you to partner websites.
Among the top 3 things people get specific for a trip to Japan
- JR pass for quick and easy long distance train travel (see price here and see here how to calculate train routes to figure out it's worth it for you)
- Pocket wifi to make travel in Japan easier (see price here)
- Travel insurance for natural disasters just in case especially for travel disruptions (see price here and see here for past natural disaster that affected foreigners)