It was rainy on our first day in Kyoto but this did not dampen our fall foliage experience. Though some of the leaves have started to fall due to the rain, the trees remained to be plump in bright red-orange-yellow colors. We were supposed to go to Path of Philosophy first on our first day but ditched the plan at the last minute because we were running out of time. The daylight hours in Kyoto is short during the latter half of the fall foliage season, with sunset at 4:45 pm. We took the advise of Hotel Monterey Kyoto’s front desk lady who highly recommended Eikando and Nanjenzi temple to us.
Admission: Entrance fee is 500 yen (USD 5.25) but it is free to roam around the main entrance temple grounds.
How to get there: Get off at Keage Station in Tozai Subway Line, then walk for about 10 minutes to Nanzenji Temple. There is a street map right outside Keage Station pinpointing the way to temples.
Here is the narrow but lovely walking path towards Nanzenji temple.
After 10 minutes walk, we finally arrived in the entrance gate of Nanzenji temple. It was really nice to see the trees bursting in bright colors even from the outside of the gate.
As I stepped inside, the scene got more beautiful. The temple has lots of people but was not as crowded as I initially expected.
There were lots of photographers inside wanting to get perfect shot of the bright maple leaves.
At this point, we decided not to get into the paid temple grounds. It was already nearing sunset and the main temple grounds have plenty of interesting cultural sightseeing spots aside from the colorful maple trees.
This is the temple within the main temple grounds of Nanjenzi.
Locals quietly worshiping in Nanjenzi temple.
Outside Nanjenzi on our way to Eikando Temple, this tree caught the attention of many people. This is so far the prettiest tree which I’ve seen in my entire life.
Admission: Autumn period entrance fee is 1000 yen (USD 10.50) for day time visit and 600 yen (USD 6.25) for night illumination. Free to see the lovely maple trees within the entrance gate area.
How to get there: Get off at Keage Station in Tozai Subway Line, then walk for about 15-20 minutes to Eikando Temple. Eikando temple is within 5 to 10 minute walk from Nanzenji temple.
As soon as I set foot in the entrance of Eikando temple, I realized that their entrance fee of 1000 yen was well justified. For me, Eikando temple has the most impressive fall foliage scene versus the other temples in Kyoto.
Impressive showcase of fall colors. This shot was taken near the entrance gate outside the paid area. There were large groups of tourist falling in queue for night illumination.
We arrived in Eikando temple when the daytime viewing has closed. This actually saved us from paying 1000 yen. After all, we were very satisfied with the view from the outside, and it’s free!
Since the night illumination has not started yet, we decided to take an early dinner. We wandered along the alleys near Eikando and was a bit frustrated due to lack dining choices. We reached the end of the alley beside Eikando temple and saw a signage in a small restaurant explicitly saying that there’s no other restaurant in the vicinity.
Here’s our first dinner in Kyoto. These vegetarian meal sets range from 1000 to 1500 yen (USD 10.50 to 15.50). Quite pricey for meatless dinner.
Vegetable rice meal.
Tofu rice meal.
After our dinner, we went back to Nanzenji to take a glimpse of night illumination. It was as nice and as impressive as the daytime view, but very unique! This is the view outside the paid area.
After our free glimpse of Eikando’s night illumination, we tried to find Path of Philosophy which is within the area as per the map we have. The area outside Eikando is pretty dark and we got lost after 30 minutes of trying to find Path of Philosophy. Since we were already super tired from transit and all activities, we decided to call it a day and went back to our hotel.
Other Japan Travel Tips:
- Heading to Tokyo too? Check out Asiatravelbug’s Best Area to Stay in Tokyo Guide.
- Interested to stay in Osaka? Check out Asiatravelbug’s Best Area to Stay in Osaka blog post.
- Interested to stay in Kyoto? Check out Asiatravelbug’s Best Area to Stay in Kyoto blog post.
- Afraid to get lost in Japan? A pocket wifi can be your travel best friend. Asiatravelbug strongly suggests first time visitors to rent a pocket wifi. Check out 5 reasons why you need a Pocket Wifi Japan Rental in your trip to Tokyo. Free public WiFi is RARE in Japan!
- No Tokyo itinerary yet? No problem, we’ve done all the grunt research work for you! Check out Asiatravelbug’s Tokyo Itinerary travel blog.
- Want to see Mount Fuji? Mount Fuji only shows up 80 days a year! Increase your chances of seeing Mount Fuji by checking out our How to See Mount Fuji blog. Other readers have reported to see Mount Fuji following Asiatravelbug’s guide. 🙂