While many know of the Japanese tradition of cherry blossom viewing in the spring, it's not the only time of the year people gather outside to watch the seasons change. As the humid hot summer passes around September people start enjoying the changing colors of the leaves. Momiji (紅葉) or Koyo as it also may be referred to is the Japanese word for autumn leaves watching. It's said to have first started around the Heian-period (794-1185 AD) but the tradition is still very popular today, with many travelers flocking to popular viewing spots all around the country. Many temples have also started with lighted gardens letting you enjoy the view even during evenings.
Just like the cherry blossom period the Koya watching season starts and ends differently depending on where in Japan. Starting at the northmost Hokkaido prefecture in mid September and gradually sweeping though Japan to the southern Kagoshima prefecture where it starts at the end of November.
This impressive temple is located in Kyoto's Higashiyama district, about a 20 minutes walk from Kiyomizudera. From the end of October to early December it offers a spectacular evening illumination of the temple grounds.
Open hours: 09:00-21:30
Admission fee: 600 Yen
Kiyomizudera temple is located south of Kodaiji. It's large veranda offer a beautiful view over Kyoto, and during autumn the surrounding colorful mountain. From 14 November to 6 December the temple starts a special night opening schedule.
Open hours: 06:00-17:30 18:00-21:00
Admission fee: 400 Yen
The Daigo-ji temple area beginning at the base, consist of a whole mountain side. The many sakura trees also makes this a popular spot during the cherry blossom period. Starting from November 14th till the end of the same month, evening opening hours and illumination takes place.
Open hours: 06:00-17:00 (18:00-20:50 during autumn illumination)
Admission fee: 1000 Yen