Autumn is officially here. In a few weeks, scenic parks, temples and nature attractions across Japan will turn red and yellow, with people making their way to the best autumn destinations in the country.
One of the top go-to spots for koyo (autumn colours) this year is Reikanji Temple in Kyoto. Usually closed off to the public, the temple is opening its gates for a limited time from November 19 until December 4 for visitors to enjoy its garden’s beautiful autumn foliage.
Founded in 1654 by Tari-no-Miya, the daughter of Emperor Go-Mizunoo, Reikanji was a temple where successive imperial princesses served as chief priests. Also known as the 'Palace of the Valley', it still retains its prestigious reputation and elegant appearance.
After admiring the stunning autumn foliage, you can join the guided tour that takes you inside the Shoin (drawing room), which was relocated from Kyoto’s former Imperial Palace.
Inside, you will see beautiful fusuma sliding doors painted by members of the former Kano school, one of the most famous institutions of Japanese painting. In focus are the four seasons as well as flower and bird motifs.
You can also peek inside the Hondo main hall, which was donated by Tokugawa Ienari, the 11th shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate. However, you’re not allowed to step inside the building.
Reikanji Temple (12 Shishigatani Goshonodancho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto) is open from November 19 until December 4 between 10am and 4.30pm. Entry is ¥800 for adults and ¥400 for primary school students.
If you’re already in the Kyoto area, make sure to visit Kiyomizu-dera, Kurodani Temple and the Tofukuji sub-temple Shogakuan for autumn leaves as well.
More from Time Out
Japan autumn leaves forecast 2022: when to expect peak koyo season
Covid-19 etiquette tips for travelling in Japan
Muji opens a new ¥500 store in Tokyo
Everything we know so far about the world’s first Ghibli Park – opening November 1
This is the only place in Japan to see sakura and autumn leaves at the same time
Want to be the first to know what’s cool in Tokyo? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest updates from Tokyo and Japan.