display of fall color (koyo) at Ginkakuji Temple, Kyot

Koyo in Kyoto

We arrived at Tofuku-ji Temple in Higashyama a little south of the Hyatt this morning right at opening time (8:30) and were greeted by quite a few lines waiting for tickets. The word is out that this is a great place to see the koyo and we were not disappointed. Even with the crowds, the temple grounds felt spacious.

The koyo was absolutely stunning there. Everyone was taking pictures with every sort of camera. When there are people in the picture, they are all holding up cameras. We spent about 45 minutes there and then headed north, to Ginkakuji Temple in the Sakyo Ward, which is in the northeast corner of Kyoto. It’s a World Cultural Heritage site, and is also known as the Silver Pavilion.

Tofuku-ji Temple fall colors (koyo)
Tofuku-ji Temple fall colors (koyo)

Since it’s Saturday and the fall colors have really come into their own, we worried that Ginkakuji Temple would be very crowded, but we were delighted when we found this was not the case. After walking around and taking more photos of the beautiful colors, we took a stroll along the Philosopher’s Path. I’m not sure why we didn’t realize this earlier, but it links up Nanzen-ji Temple with Ginkakuji Temple. We went to Nanzen-ji earlier in the week.

Fall color (koyo) at Ginkakuji Temple, Kyot
Fall color (koyo) at Ginkakuji Temple, Kyot

Once we tired of walking, we caught a cab to Chion-In Temple back in Higashyama before heading back to the Hyatt for lunch. Chion-In is the head Jodo, or Pure Land, Buddhist temple in Japan. Jodo is the most popular form of Buddhism in Japan. It’s close to Marayama Park, where we were two days ago, which only goes to show that every day we discover somewhere new to go and we don’t follow guide books very well! It’s all good fun and we’re getting used to handing 1000 yen notes (and sometimes more) to our lovely Kyoto cab drivers.

Koyo display at Chion-in Buddhist Temple, Kyoto, Japan
Koyo display at Chion-in Buddhist Temple, Kyoto, Japan

We had seen glimpses of koyo here and there since we arrived in Japan over a week ago, but today felt like the first day of koyo season. I’m sure the glorious sunshine may have had something to do with that.

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