Autumn Leaves 2017

The colorful Autumn leaves - momiji, as the locals call it - were exceptionally spectacular in Kyoto this year. The seasonal shift seemed to come a bit early this time, but it produced some beautiful leaves that seemed to linger a bit shorter than usual. Thankfully, KyoTours Japan captured it all on camera. Here are some of our favorite shots from Autumn 2017, all taken by me with an iphone as I toured with guests through this amazing city that I'm proud to call home.

See past years here and here, and be sure to follow us on Instagram.


Shokcingly early traces of momiji at Eikando, a famous Autumn spot in eastern Kyoto. This was late September!



By mid-October, the hillside at Eikando was full of color.



More early colors above a Shinto shrine housing the god of education and study.



Not to be outdone by Kyoto, the ancient forest in Nara showed off its beauty as well.



You usually only see Autumn leaves this perfect as plastic decorations. Not in Kyoto!



One of my new favorite spots for momiji, a graveyard up in the western hills of Kyoto.



Autumn verticality.


One of the best spots for momiji is Arashiyama over in the west. This is a well known area, but few people venture beyond the bamboo forest for a look at the hidden temples and backroads up the in the hills. There were some of the Fall scenery that I've ever experienced up here this year! A great spot for any fan of the show that nature puts on at this time of year.



The mixture of Fall foliage and green bamboo is uniquely evocative of Arashiyama's scenery.



The carpet of moss at Gioji before it was covered with fallen red leaves only days later.



Weak afternoon light spills through the branches at this hillside garden.



1200 stone faces with a background of fantastic colors at Kyoto's best hidden temple.



Stairway to heaven.



The few days between the trees turning color and the grass going brown at Tenryuji are magnificent!



Always one of the last gardens to change color in Kyoto, Kenninji has me waiting all year for this famous view.



Despite my usual aversion to visiting Kiyomizudera because of masses of tourists, the nighttime illumination was worth seeing. The grounds were relatively empty of visitors, and the lighting was tasteful and not overdone. The final night of this seasonal event coincided with the last Supermoon of 2017, so it created a particularly magical atmosphere.

That's all for Autumn 2017. Bring on the snow and freezing temps, winter is already here!