What do you do when you happen to find yourself in Kyoto at the peak time of fall foliage? Enjoy it to the max!
When to visit
We begin our vacation in Japan with a few days in Kyoto. We are there around Labor Thanksgiving Day (November 23rd 2017): usually the last two weeks of November are ideal for enjoying the autumn colors. The whole city is brimming with spectacular reds, browns, yellows and greens.
Eikando – Philosopher’s Walk – Kyoto’s East
We first cycle to Eikando temple, which is said to be magnificent. Indeed it is. The Japanese maples are showing off their prettiest reds and it is simply breathtaking. Eikando is located at the southern end of the Philosopher’s Walk, so after visiting the temple you can easily walk or cycle up north along the Walk.
Otagi Nenbutsuji – Arashiyama – Kyoto’s West
Next we visit Otagi Nenbutsuji, a small temple with hundreds of stone statues of Buddhas in various forms, north of Arashiyama. It is a delight to study all statues and see their uniqueness.
In Kyoto, we use bikes to get around. It’s super easy and safe. You can cycle on the sidewalk or on the street. Some streets have designated bike lanes, other streets don’t. Look around and do as the Japanese! We mainly stick to the smaller roads that take us through quaint little streets, residential neighborhoods, a bit of farmland and into the mountains. We do have a destination in mind, but the cycling in itself is already wonderful.
Thanks to our friend Yusuke from Japanesquest for the suggestions! For more locations to see the gorgeous fall foliage in Kyoto, check out this YouTube video for day- and nighttime viewing tips.