The Best Spots in Kansai Where You Can Enjoy the Fall Foliage

It's nature at its finest!

Autumn can be the most colorful season in Japan. This is particularly obvious in the Nara and Kyoto areas, which both have elegant atmospheres and where many tourists visit during the autumn season.


Read on further to find out the best places that the Kansai region has to offer!



Kiyomizudera Honbo Garden. Photo courtesy of Miyama City

The Kiyomizudera Honbo Garden is a nationally designated scenic spot built by Sesshu in the Muromachi period. This place is where artificial and natural beauty become one. It is richly elegant in every season and displays colorful Iroha maple trees from late November until early December.


Tenryuji. Photo courtesy of Tenryuji

, located in the westernmost part of Kyoto City, has remained untouched for 680 years. For a limited period, you can visit the place early in the morning when the scenery is the most beautiful and when it’s the least crowded.

The Sogen Pond Garden's “Tunnel of Autumn Leaves” in the west is also a beautiful and perfect autumn spot. In addition to this, the garden has been certified as a World Cultural Heritage Site.


Higashiyama (Kodaiji). Photo courtesy of Sadamatsu Yoshiharu

Kodaiji Temple 
is famous for being built by Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s wife to mourn Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s Bodhi. The best time to view the fall leaves there is from mid-November to early December.

During the autumn season, lightups become very popular and the projection mapping held in the Hashin Garden, the front garden of the main temple, is one of the sights to see.

Aside from this, we recommend that you visit the Garyu Pond, which reflects the autumn leaves like a mirror, and the bamboo forest that’s full of mysterious light.

Rakuhoku (Enkoji)

From the shrine grounds, you can see the leaves falling.  Photo courtesy of Enkoji

was established in 1601 when Ieyasu Tokugawa opened a school for Fushimi by inviting a monk--Kenzitsugun Kitsu--as a literary policy. Books that were published as Enkoji versions, through a printing type made from wood, were endeavors of this shrine.

In 1667, the shrine moved to its current location. The garden presents an aesthetic appearance of fresh greenery and autumn leaves. In front of the main temple, a suiginkutsu (a buried earthen jar that makes a phantom-like sound when water drips in it) is installed.

From the mountainside in the garden, the autumn leaves look as if they’re burning. There, you’ll also see Kitayama and Arashiyama at a distance.



Muroji. Photo courtesy of Uda City Hall Chamber of Commerce and Industry Division

In ancient times, when Koyasan forbade women from entering the temple, the Muroji temple allowed women to enter. This is why it is also known as “Lady Koya.”

The temple is located upstream of the Muro River near the border of Nara and Mie prefecture. There are also buildings such as the National Treasure Main Hall and the five-storey pagoda.

During the autumn season, Momiji and Gingko make the sceneries more beautiful, especially when you approach the road from Taiko Bridge to the five-storey pagoda. The autumn leaves and the five-storey pagoda are lit up at night. 

The best time to visit this spot is in mid-November to early December.

Nara Park

Nara Park. Photo courtesy of the Nara Park Office

Nara, the old capital in Japan, is designated as a natural monument of the country and is known to be inhabited by wild deer. It is a city park with numerous shrines and cultural facilities adjacent to Todaiji, Kofukuji, Kasuga Taisha, National Museum, and Shosoin, spanning about 5.1 million square meters.

The valleys of the Wakakusa mountain and the cherry blossom and gingko trees display beautiful autumnal leaves. The contrast between the autumn colors and the evergreens is brilliant.

The best time to view the cherry blossom and gingko trees is in late October, while the Momiji trees are best viewed from mid-November until early December.

Osaka Castle Park

Osaka Castle Park. Photo courtesy of the Osaka Castle Park Management

The Osaka Castle Park has 13 important cultural assets, including many historical sites and traditional landscapes. Umebayashi and the Nishinomaru Garden, in particular, show the many expressions of the seasons.

The giant ginkgo tree in front of the tenshukaku (castle tower) is 300 years old. At the east side of the park, the ginkgo trees are lined up for one kilometer. The leaves from the Zelkova, Momiji, and gobi trees begin growing more vivid in color during early November.

Locals and tourists alike visit the place to relax, listen to music, and enjoy sports activities like running and walking.


Ishiyamadera. Photo courtesy of Ishiyama Tourism Cooperative

The headquarters of the Toji Shingon sect has a massive bedrock composed of wollastonite. This mineral is where the name of the temple is derived from. The place has many natural treasure monuments and other significant cultural assets, as well.

From mid-November to early December, the Momiji and Maple trees color the ashen rocks with their leaves.


Provided by Walkerplus™, Japan Walker™, and Kansai Walker™ (16 September 2018)

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