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Autumn Foliage Forecast 2006
famous viewing spots and color changing forecast
- Early to Mid December -
Kanagawa Prefecture
Zuisenji Temple | Kamakura City

Zuisenji Temple is another famous spot for autumn leaves in Kamakura. It has the nickname of “Meikadera” (flower temple) for it has a number of beautiful flowers which can be enjoyed all four seasons. In the surrounding area there is also a place known for beautiful autumn leaves, and the back mountain of the temple gets covered in red in season. The Japanese maple leaves at the temple gate are so famous that many photographers come to aim for their best foliage pictures. You can also see colored leaves inside the temple precinct, but here you can also see the very rare winter cherry flowers. Not widely known but very beautiful is the temple garden, the remnants of the Kamakura Period (12C).

>> Kanagawa Prefectural Guide
Oita Prefecture
Takasakiyama Natural Zoo | Oita City

Takasakiyama is known nationwide by its name of “Takasakiyama of Monkeys”, and as its byname tells it is a wildlife park for nearly 1,200 wild Japanese monkeys. It is also known to be one of the best places in Japan where you can get pictures of wild monkeys with colored leaves on the mountainside. Many photographers come to take photographs of the monkeys with their home mountain turned into vivid colors during autumn.

>> Oita Prefectural Guide
Shiga Prefecture
Kongorinji Temple | Aisho Town

Kongourinji Temple is one of the Three Head Temples on the east side of the lake (Lake Biwa) and is known widely across the country for its history and precious architecture from Kamakura Period including the main hall, a national treasure, the three-layered-pagoda and the grand gate. The purely Japanese patterns of the architecture shows beautifully against the especially dark red leaves in autumn. This dark red maple leaves are known as “the bloodstained leaves” and the living buddha with spirits within, for there is a legend that tells that when the man carved the principle statue of this temple the tree bled from the edge of the knife.

>> Shiga Prefectural Guide

Kagawa Prefecture
Kankakei Gorge | Shoudo Town

More than 50 kinds of color-changing-plants color up the cliffs and mountainsides of the steep rocky mountain looking over the calm water of Seto Inland Sea. As the season deepens the colors spread slowly and beautifully from the peak down to the foot, and by the end of November to early December the entire mountain, moreover, the entire island turns into a marvelous mosaic of red and gold. At the peak of autumn foliage, golden leaves flutter gracefully as if they are dancing in the air resembling golden butterflies. Kankakei is known for its scenic beauty which is included in one of the Three Canyon Scenic Beauties of Japan and the best way to soak in its beauty is probably to take the ropeway cutting through the deeply carved canyon.

>> Kagawa Prefectural Guide
Kyoto Prefecture
Houkyou’in Temple | Kyoto City
Photo: http://k-kabegami.com/

Many places across the historic city of Kyoto enters autumn foliage season in mid to late November gathering many travelers from within and outside of Japan with the marvelous beauty of history blended with nature. Houkyou’in Temple is known to be one of the hidden places in Kyoto with the most gorgeous autumn leaves. The temple boasts a fine Japanese garden planted with maple and doudan-tsutsuji both forming a bright and vivid crimson tunnel in late November to early December. Although every corner of the temple ground keeps you amazed with its ethereal beauty, it is said that the best spot is the narrow stone pavement running through the garden. Tripods and unipods not allowed.

Houkyou'in Temple autumn leaves (Japanese)
Click "Japanese" >> "Photo Gallery" (5th line from the top on the left hand column) >> page 2

>> Kyoto Prefectural Guide
Shimogamo Shrine | Kyoto City

The Tatasu-no-mori Forest famous for its autumnal scenic beauty since the Heian Period (9C) is registered as part of the World Cultural Heritage along with the 55 shrine pavilions. Above all, the bridge crossing over the creek of Semi Ogawa is said to have the best view as well as the other parts of the creek which is planted with a rich amount of maple trees. Despite nearly all the other places in Kyoto enter foliage season in November, this limited area experiences the colors a little later in December. Though the beginning of winter is usually dry, the forest and the creek create another ethereal world when it rains softly with the water flowing silently and thin fog hanging after rain.

Shimogamo Shrine autumn leaves (Japanese / English)
Click "English" >> (scroll down to bottom) "The autumn of Tatasu-no-mori"
Nara Prefecture
Tanzan Shrine, Hasedera Temple | Sakurai City
Photo: http://k-kabegami.com/

Tanzan Shrine and Hasedera Temple are both historically and culturally precious sites located in the Same City.
Tanzan Shrine proudly boasts a series of cultural assets including the world’s one and only wooden thirteen-story-pagoda, which at autumn time creates an exquisite yet dignified and profound landscape with the 3,000 maple trees and joined by Japanese cherry, zelkova, Japanese Judas and dodan-tsutsuji (Enkianthus perulatus) changing their colors into red, orange and gold.
Hasedera Temple, “The Temple of Flowers” is best known for its rich flowers throughout the year including Japanese peony, cherry blossoms, hydrangea, rhododendron, iris and many more. During autumn clumps of cotton rosemallow decorate the temple grounds, however, the largest seasonal highlight of the temple is probably the heavenly beauty of the autumn leaves viewed from the outer stage of the main temple hall. There will be seasonal events held at the temple until December 7th this year.

Tanzan Shrine (Japanese / English)
Hasedera Temple (Japanese only)

>> Nara Prefectural Guide
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