Things to Do: Autumn Leaves in Kyoto (plus Google trail map)

3:45 PM

Okay, so this post has been sitting my drafts for a literal year. Ooops.
But the weather has been pretty mild this winter, so you might be able to squeeze a little autumn leaves watching on. Or if you just want a fun walking trail around Kyoto (that's not in Kyoto City)!

Below, I've provided a map of the trail that Shota and I used. It was a taken from a Keihan Railway travel guide that we found online, but doesn't seem to be available on their site any longer. So instead, I'll be posting the locations with addresses and photos here so you can work on your own trail.


We used the Keihan railway's special sightseeing ticket that include train fare for the Keihan and Eizan Railway lines. That means you can hop on and off of the trains an many times as you want without paying any extra fair. This pass does not include stations on Keihan's Keishin and Ishiyama-Sakamoto lines and the Otokoyama cable car.

Price: 1,600 Yen (adults) 800 Yen (children)
Available Until: March 31st, 2017
Perks: Includes coupons for various temples and restaurants located along the railway and i the Kurama/Kibune area.
Where to Buy: Any subway or Keihan ticket office (cannot be purchased online)
English PDF: Kurama/Kibun 1-Day Ticket
Japanese Site: Kurama/Kibune 1-Day Ticket

Konpuku Temple
〒606-8156 京都市左京区一乗寺才形町20
Kyoto Sightseeing Website (Japanese only): Konpuku Temple
Wikipedia (English):
Entry Price: 400 Yen (adults), 200 Yen (h.s. and jr. h.s.), Free (children)
Hours of Operation: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

This is a small temple tucked away in the corner of this suburban town. Originally constructed in 846 then revived during the Edo period, it features a rock garden, a thatch-roofed house where Basho stayed for a spell, and a graveyard that goes into the mountains behind the temple.

However, the best part of this petite temple is the cat that resides there. This little calico was quite the attention grabber, and rightfully so because cat. It's not afraid of the many visitors that stop to take it's photo, but I would talk to the temple's caretakers before petting him.

Hatidai Shrine
〒606-8156 京都市左京区一乗寺松原町1番地
Entry Price: Free
Hours of Operation: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

This shrine is well-known for it's patron samurai-saint Musashi Miyamoto. He supposedly came to this shrine to pray before a duel against a member of the Yoshioka family, decided not to pray because he didn't want to rely on gods for his victories, and won. This was the story we heard from the shrine caretakers. Better than most origin stories for churches in the states.

The shrine is not particularly large, there's only the main shrine area and the booth selling shrine goodies, but a must see for any fans of samurai. Here you can buy a Musashi Miyamoto ema (prayer board) or a variety of other Miyamoto charms (though he might suggest that you not rely on him for your victories either).

Also, preserved on the grounds of the shrine, is part of the pine tree that stood during Miyamoto's duel.

Shisen-do Jozan Temple
Website (Jpn):
Website (Eng):
Entry Price:  500 Yen (adults), 400 Yen (h.s. students), 200 Yen (jr. h.s. and elementary)
Hours of Operation: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (entrance closes at 4:45 PM)

Residing happily next to Miyamoto's shrine is Shisen-do Jozan temple. This picturesque garden was home to the Japanese writer and former ronin Jozan Ishikawa, who survived through one of the most chaotic periods of Japanese history, from the Azuchi-Momoyama period to the Edo period.

The interior of the temple is decorated with the portraits of Chinese poets, but sadly, you're not allowed photos of the interior (they can, however, be viewed on the official website). This isn't much of a problem as the main draw of this locale isn't the buildings, it's the gardens.

This spot is said to have one of the best examples of Japanese garden work, and I would agree.

Enko Temple (Enkoji)
〒606-8147 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, 左京区一乗寺小谷町13
 Website (Bilingual):
Entry Price: 500 Yen (adults), 400 Yen (h.s. and jr. h.s.), 300 Yen (elementary)
Hours of Operation: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

The next garden was constructed by Tokugawa Ieyasu, and is where Rinzai Zen Buddhism was practice by both priests and laymen. It was destroyed during the Meiji Restoration, but restored by nuns.

Inside the building next to the garden, you can see wooden printing stamps that were used to make copies of the many Chinese classics taught at the school. A significant locale for any of those printing-press nerds out there.

This was one of the larger gardens, but I wouldn't call it my favorite, though I have a slight bias when it comes to Tokugawa Ieyasu. Because I don't like him. He was a coward and a child-killer (but I guess most warriors of feudal eras were).

〒606-8134 京都府京都市左京区一乗寺竹ノ内町42
Official Website:
The Kyoto Project Website:
Entry Price: 600 Yen (Gen. Admin.), 500 Yen (h.s. students), 400 Yen (jr. h.s. and elementary)

This was the last stop on our walking trip and was the one garden we didn't actually pay to go inside of. We were pretty burnt out on temples and gardens (and walking) by then, so we just stopped for some coffee and cake at the restaurant outside of the temple.

They had a lot of tables and umbrellas set up for eating outdoors, but the restaurants in the front garden also have indoor seating.

The pictures from the official website are pretty impressive and I'm almost wishing I'd taken the time (and money) to go check out the inner gardens. I'll just have to save that for the next trip.

The trail is probably my favorite when it comes to sightseeing in Kyoto. The more popular areas tend to just be a rush of people, and that makes it really hard for me to enjoy the serenity and stillness that gardens and temples are made to represent. And though these locations aren't completely sightseer free, the volumes of people are low enough that you don't have to worry about people walking through your serene photo-op with a Japanese maple.

After this trail, we actually took the train all the way to Kibune Shrine, which is up in the mountains and not included on this little map. I'll be making a separate post for that shrine. Also because it was my favorite shrine of the day! Chyeah!


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