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T alisman Japan specialist Marielle ontving een uitgebreid bericht van onze agent over de herfstkleuren in Japan, die bijna net zo adembenemend zijn als de beroemde kersenbloessem.

De adembenemende kersenbloesem

While the cherry blossoms at their peak are almost excessively lovely, even tawdry in their obvious appeal, the fall foliage is a more restrained beauty that grows on you the more you look at it. And, while catching the cherries in peak blossom takes incredible luck (because they only peak for a few days a year), the fall foliage lasts up to two months.

The leaves start changing in Kyoto sometime in October. The peak of fall foliage usually comes in mid-November, and you can usually see colors on the trees until mid-December. Thus, in an average year, the foliage season in Kyoto lasts from 15 October to 15 December, with a peak around 15 November.

Keep in mind that you can travel a bit in or near Kyoto to find good colors if you miss the peak in the center of the city. If you arrive too early, you can head up into the Kitayama Mountains to find trees that are already wearing their fall colors. Likewise, if you come too late, you can head to the south, to Uji, or even Nara, to see trees at their peak color.

The Best Places In Kyoto To See Fall Foliage

Kyoto is awash with good foliage spots. Almost every temple, shrine and garden has a few maple trees and other colorful trees scattered about. But, if you want to see some really eye-scorching color, it pays to head to one of Kyoto’s famed fall foliage spots – just don’t think that you’ll have it to yourself, as the Japanese love the fall foliage as much as they love the cherry blossoms (go early on a weekday morning to avoid the crowds).

Tofuku-ji Temple: The ravine on the north side of the compound here, spanned by three different bridges, is carpeted with maples that turn bright crimson in November. The view from the Hojo Garden here is superb in autumn.

Nanzen-ji Temple: The bright maples near the San-mon gate look beautiful above a carpet of moss.

Ginkaku-ji Temple: This is one of Kyoto’s most beautiful gardens and there are plenty of maples here.

Honen-in Temple: The sight of the moss-covered thatched-roof gate here surrounded by crimson maple trees is one of Kyoto’s most iconic fall sights.

Takao: The mountain village of Takao has been one of Kyoto’s most famous foliage destinations for years and with good reason: the mountainsides are festooned with maples.

Okochi-Sanso Villa: This is one of Kyoto’s best gardens and it’s particularly lovely in autumn.

Places In Kyoto To See Fall Foliage Away From The Crowds

If you’d like to enjoy the colors without the crowds, try one of these spots:

Shinyodo Temple: The grounds of this superb temple contain several huge maple trees, as well as some fine gingko trees that turn bright yellow in October and November. Sure, some people come here, but not nearly as many as visit the nearby big-name temples.

The Kyoto Gyoen (Imperial Palace Park): This place is huge, so no matter how many people show up to enjoy the colors, it won’t feel crowded.

Kurama-dera Temple: You can enjoy the fall colors from the train as you approach the mountain village of Kurama. Once there, you can walk through lovely forests to reach the mountainside temple. The colors here are usually lovely.

Daitoku-ji: The subtemples here have some wonderful maple trees within their walls and some of them do special openings to coincide with foliage season.