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Autumn Color in Japan 2009 Vol 22 / Cool Japanese Scene

COOL JAPANESE SCENE / Japanese Autumn Color (34) / Japanese Autumn Color (36)

Already December is come.
And 2009 Autumn is gone and Winter is coming.
In Kobe, Kobe Luminarie (神戸ルミナリエ) started which being a light festival held in Kobe, Japan, every December since 1995 and commemorating the Great Hanshin earthquake of that year.
That is to say, X'mas season started.
This time introduce "Ending Japanese Autumn Color 2009" regarding Kyoto / Arashiyama.

I continued this year's search for fall colours ("koyo") in the Arashiyama and Sagano districts of western Kyoto.
I began the day at the area's most famous attraction, the iconic Togetsukyo Bridge. I arrived by train at 9:00 to pick up a rental bicycle, which I found to be a very pleasant way to travel between attractions. There were only a few people around the bridge when I went in the morning. When I passed back through the area in the afternoon the sidewalks were packed with sightseers, and I was happy not to have had to navigate through the crowds when I was there earlier.
The leaves on the mountainside behind the bridge were very colourful, and I spent quite a while admiring the scenery of the river, bridge and fall colours. The colours are not at their peak yet, and will get increasingly attractive over the next few days, but the atmosphere today was nonetheless very enjoyable. Unfortunately, in the morning the weather was overcast and the light conditions were not favourable for photographs.


Togetsukyo bridge and the leaves of a riverside Enoki tree



A few pedestrians walk across the bridge in the morning



The view from the bridge


From the bridge I headed north to a few small atmospheric temples in the woods. The first, Jojakkoji Temple, was by far the best. It is definitely at, or very near, its koyo peak at the moment. As a bonus, the temple had good views onto the city as well.


A gate at Jojakkoji surrounded by koyo attracted many photographers



More koyo along the paths



A temple bell surrounded by rich autumn colour


The next small temple I visited was the Gioji temple. This temple, unfortunately, was just starting to change colour, and offered little in terms of dramatic autumnal scenery. It seems as if it will be quite attractive when the colours do turn, which according to the staff is in about a week.


Tall trees that are still quite green



A bit of colour above the rooftops

I didn't have to wait long for more colours, as my next stop, Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple, was also at its peak. Though not as impressive as Jojakkoji Temple, it was also very attractive. The area used to be a graveyard hundreds of years, and there are now many rocks and graves on the temple grounds. The combination with red and yellow colours was quite attractive.


Koyo on the perimeter of Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple



A statue seen through colourful leaves


The last destination of the day was Daikakuji Temple. Unlike the other temples, Daikakuji was a large complex. One side of the temple grounds had the main buildings, while the other was centered around a large pond. There wasn't much for koyo on the side with the main temple buildings, though in some gardens the koyo added a bit of color. Most koyo could be found in the other half of the temple grounds, around the large pond. Many trees were at their peak, and it is a good time to visit. However, a tunnel of maple trees which would be a very attractive koyo spot was still fully green.


A bit of koyo around the main buildings



Autumn colours around Daikakuji Temple's pond



Fall colours and a pagoda reflected in the water
By T.S. on Dec 6, 2009
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Author:T. SATOH