All posts tagged: autumn kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera Autumn Maple Trees - Kyoto Temple

8 Things to do at Kiyomizu-dera // Kyoto’s Nailless Hillside Temple

Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺) is Kyoto’s most famous temple. Almost every traveller who passes through Kyoto would have made a trip to see this UNESCO World Heritage Site, built on the hillside of Higashiyama. And if an airline or a travel agency would have to pick a representative picture of Kyoto, we bet a photo of Kiyomizu-dera in its autumn splendor would have been one of the top 3 choices, if not the first. For friends travelling to Kyoto with us for the first time, we’ll definitely put Kiyomizu-dera on the itinerary. This meant that we have visited Kiyomizu-dera 3 times! Don’t we tire of it? Not at all. The charm of Kiyomizu-dera extends beyond the temple itself to the Higashiyama district 東山区, a meandering historical area that seeks to be explored again and again. It’s also about an hour’s walk to the Gion district. An uphill trek through the steep Kiyomizu-michi 清水道, or Chawan-zaka 茶碗坂 (Teapot Lane) preludes a visit to Kiyomizu-dera. Shops selling souvenirs, Kyoto snacks, street food, and handicrafts line Chawan-zaka, marking it as a popular spot for getting gifts …

Moss Bridge in Moss Garden - Kokedera Kyoto

Saihoji Kokedera // Kyoto’s Magical Moss Garden

It’s like walking in a giant terrarium. The place. A temple garden with thousands of moss varieties. The little figurines. You. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Saihōji (西芳寺) or Kokedera (苔寺) is magical, out-of-this-world, surreal, and an ancient treasure. With such superlatives for this Kyoto site, you don’t see as much content or information out there as compared to say, Kiyomizudera or Gion. Why? Some might wonder. It’s not easy to get there. Not the usual tourist routes, there are buses to Kokedera but no trains. You have to make a reservation with a return postcard at least 1 to 2 months (depending on how fast your postal service is) prior to your intended visit. Advance planning is required, of which many didn’t get a chance to do for their travels. There are only 1 stipulated visiting time each day. The time of visit varies, and is decided by the temple. It has been said that latecomers do not get to enter and are shut outside the door. You know how travelling tends to get …

Tofuku-ji Kyoto // A Must-Visit for Spectacular Autumn Colors

Autumn is a fantastic time to be in Kyoto, Japan. During this season, leaves change their green coats to varying shades of vibrant yellows, flaming oranges and deep reds. Famed gardens and ancient trees are prevalent in the many shrines spotted all over Kyoto. I knew I had to be in Kyoto during autumn at least once in my life to witness these autumn colors or kōyō (紅葉) with my own eyes. With that many gardens and shrines in Kyoto, we had to be selective in the places we were going to visit. Time is limited during travels, but isn’t that always the case? Considered as Kyoto’s five greatest zen temples or Kyoto Gozan (京都御座), Tōfuku-ji (東福寺) was found in 1236 and its huge garden, which left an unforgettable mark in my experience and memory, was designed in the 1930s by landscape architect Mirei Shigemori – landscape architect of Tofuku-ji in Kyoto. Even before reaching the main gate where we had to pay our entry fees, towering trees in their glorious reds greeted us. Across …

Sagano-Yu Cafe Style Resort // After Arashiyama and Bamboo Groves

Our feet were screaming for respite, our palates in need of something sweet, and our body craved for a warm cuppa, after that trek to admire the bamboo groves, Arashiyama and Katsura River. Right along the street from Saga-Arashiyama station to Tenryu-ji is Sagano-Yu Cafe Style Resort 嵯峨野湯, a public bathhouse turned cafe. Don’t be fooled by the spotless exterior of Sagano-Yu Cafe. It was built in 1923 as Sagayu Bathhouse and refurbished into a teahouse in August 10, 2006. Beyond its cool white doors are warm wooden furniture, exposed bricks, quiet conversations and shared laughter. We had to put down our names on the waiting list, as there was a queue of like-minded, tired people wanting a table. While waiting, we wandered up the steep stairs to the 2nd level where you would find a little space selling a plethora of handmade goods – from accessories and knits, to kitchenware and food. We were intrigued by the rustic display at the bottom of the stairs, but disappointingly, it’s not as well stocked, or as …