Steeped in history and culture, Nanzenji Temple 南禅寺 is one of the 5 great Zen temples in Kyoto and occupies a huge piece of land. It offers many attractions that will enchant travelers: a rare Roman-style aqueduct, the largest temple gate in Japan, Zen rock gardens, and stunning autumn colors.
Nestled in the quieter part of the renowned Arashiyama district is Jojakko-ji 常寂光寺. A charming temple hidden away at the base of Mount Ogura, its unassuming rustic beauty is often underrated. During autumn, it’s a place where Japanese maple leaves, ginkgo trees, and moss meet in an explosion of colors.
Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺), Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion, glimmers in gold and casts a perfect reflection across a tranquil pond. This iconic gold temple attracts photographers and travelers all over to capture that perfect reflection photo in all seasons. Get travel tips on Kinkakuji – a must-see during autumn in Kyoto!
Kiyomizu-dera 清水寺 is Kyoto’s most famous temple. Almost every traveler who passes through Kyoto would have made a trip to see this UNESCO World Heritage Site, built on the hillside of Higashiyama, with its nailless main hall and especially during its autumn peak.
Saihoji 西芳寺 or Kokedera 苔寺 is THE moss garden temple to see in Kyoto. This UNESCO World Heritage Site houses innumerable moss varieties and you feel like you are wandering through a mesmeric garden of the softest greens. However, visiting this moss temple requires early planning and reservation.
Tofukuji 東福寺 is one of Kyoto’s 5 greatest zen temples with a famed landscape garden designed by Mirei Shigemori. The temple garden is one of the best places to admire those gorgeous autumn colors and Japanese maple leaves — on trees or scattered to create a vibrant carpet of reds, oranges, and yellows.