New York Hudson Valley Autumn Hiking- Old Minnewaska Trail

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-24

My last day in Hudson Valley was spent hiking. I started the morning off early with the Walkway Over the Hudson trail and then continued on further west to Minnewaska State Park. This hike was longer than the others I did, because I afforded myself more time, since all I planned on doing that day was hiking and then heading straight to the airport for an evening flight out.

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-3

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-11

It was fairly easy to get to Minnewaska State Park, though it is a bit of a drive.  From New Paltz, head west on Route 299.  Follow 299 until it dead ends into Rt. 44/55, where you’ll make a right turn.  Follow 44/55 past the hairpin turn under the Shawangunk cliffs and past the Trapps parking area on your right.  Continue another 3 miles past the Trapps parking area to find the well-marked entrance to Minnewaska State Park Preserve on your left.  Stop at the guard shack, pay the fee, then make an immediate right turn to make the short drive over to the Lake Awosting parking area, where you’ll leave your car.

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-4

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-5

I had planned on doing the Minnewaska Park trail as listed in Hike the Hudson Valley website. This particular hike was not just one trail, but a series of different trails designed to maximize your viewing opportunities in Minnewaska State Park. This trail was a 6.4 mile, sort of loop trail, with not too many hills (especially with the modified version of this hike I did).

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-7

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-8

The directions for this particular trail instructs to park your car at the parking area near Lake Awosting and then hike partway out on the Awosting Trail to view the Awosting Falls and then return and hike up the Orange Trail to Minnewaska Lake. The intention was to hike up the road all the way the Minnewaska Lake upper parking lot and then complete the rest of the hike from there. However, it slipped my mind where I was actually supposed to park, so I ended up driving up to the upper parking lot, and since I was already there, I decided to park and walk from there. For the most part, I shouldn’t have missed many beautiful sights, so I didn’t feel that I missed out on too much.

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-10

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-12

Once at the parking lot, I followed the rest of the hiking directions, and it was fairly straightforward. Of course I first had to take in the beautiful lake views, though the view wasn’t QUITE as beautiful as it could be, because it was cloudy and overcast that day. At least it wasn’t too crowded, since I was there on a Monday morning. The trails in this park are actually fairly well marked, with different colored signs indicating what trail you are following, along with the occasional posted map to see where you are.

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-26

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-1

The first part of this hike was following the Red Trail down to the lake shore.

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-23

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-22

A few minutes on the Red Trail past the lake shore, I took a right on the blue sign-posted trail for the Castle Point Carriageway. This trail goes miles down the road, but this particular hike had me turn around at Kempton Ledge. Apparently back in the day, there was a very clearly marked sign. However, by now there is no sign, but you will pretty much know you are in the right place, because the view on the left side of the trail opens up into a panorama of the surrounding valley.

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-15

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-18

I was hiking in mid October, and it was pretty much peak autumn foliage. It was awe inspiring to see all the colors ablaze in front of me. It really looked like a pastel painting, and frankly this would be a perfect site for plein air painting.

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-25

After taking in the view for as long as I could, I turned back around the followed the Blue Trail back down to the Red Trail via the Yellow Trail, the Millbrook Mountain Carriageway.

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-13

The Red Trail hugged the Minnewaska Lake and then eventually headed up the hill. I took a brief detour to another beautiful viewpoint (seriously, there are just so many beautiful views during this hike- as witnessed by the abundance of gorgeous fall photos in this post).

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-20

The Red Trail took me back to the parking lot overlooking Minnewaska Lake where I drove back down to the entrance to park in the Awosting Trail parking area. This allowed me to complete the first part of the hike I missed, because I went all the way up to the upper parking lot.

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-27

This walk was just part of the Awosting Trail and took me out to the overlook over the waterfall. I followed the trail down to the bottom of the waterfall, took in the nice view and then hiked back up to the parking area. It is only about a five/ten minute walk out to the top of the waterfall and about five more minutes to the bottom of the waterfall.

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-34

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-33

While this particular hike involves different trails in Minnewaska State Park, it is still fairly easy to follow. The different trails are fairly obviously marked with different colors. The views of beautiful nature and autumn foliage definitely make this trail worth it. If you hike the trail, it is pretty flat in most areas, with the only major hill from the Awosting Trail park area to the Minnewaska Lake upper parking lot, which I missed, because I missed the turn to the Awosting Trail parking area. Honestly, if you are pressed for time, or just aren’t a big fan of hills, you can easily drive to the upper parking lot and start the hike from there.

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-29

Hudson Valley hiking Old Minnewaska Trail-19

New York Hudson Valley Autumn Hiking- Poet’s Walk

Hudson Valley hiking Poet's Walk-9

Once I read about the Poet’s Walk hike, I just knew I had to fit it into my hiking schedule. It was a bit off the beaten path for my planned itinerary, but not so far off that I could not swing by and do this walk in the later afternoon.

Hudson Valley hiking Poet's Walk-4

Hudson Valley hiking Poet's Walk-11

This is a great and easy walk to do on a late sunny autumn afternoon, because you have an expansive view of the Hudson Valley, and can see the sunset if you want to wait that long (I didn’t). The trail is only about 2.4 miles if you do the entire loop trail, and flat or gentle hills most of the trail.

Hudson Valley hiking Poet's Walk-6

Getting there is pretty easy. From the intersection of Market St (Rt 308) and Rt 9 in the village of Rhinebeck, head north on Route 9.  In about five blocks, bear left onto Montgomery Road. Keep going straight and Montgomery Road becomes Mount Rutsen Road which becomes River Road (County Rd 103).  Take River Road for a few hundred yards and you’ll come to a stoplight at the intersection with 199.  Go straight here and find the well-marked Poet’s Walk parking lot on your left in about half a mile.

Hudson Valley hiking Poet's Walk-7

This is another one of those trails you can’t get lost. Park in the parking lot and follow the signs out to the trail. After a very short walk in a wooded area, you emerge into a wide open field and can see for quite a distance.

Hudson Valley hiking Poet's Walk-1

Hudson Valley hiking Poet's Walk-8

The first thing that caught my eye was beautifully designed gazebo off a short distance away. The gazebo is right on a tiny loop trail in the field and offers a very beautiful view of the Hudson Valley foliage and its elaborately designed gazebo.

Hudson Valley hiking Poet's Walk-2

Hudson Valley hiking Poet's Walk-3

There really isn’t much to this walk, except to enjoy the views from the many well-placed benches. There is a loop trail that takes you closer to the Hudson River, but once the loop takes you from the river, there isn’t much else notable to the walk, though the wooded views are nice and peaceful. While there were many people in the open field enjoying the view, there were much fewer people on the loop trail, so I practically had it to myself that time of day in the later afternoon.

Hudson Valley hiking Poet's Walk-10

Hudson Valley hiking Poet's Walk-5

I was glad that the weather held out and the afternoon light on the foliage provided some great autumn leaf peeping. This walk is super easy to do since it is basically strolling for the most part on an easy path (a tiny bit of rockiness if you walk the loop trail). But if you are in the area, it is certainly worth your time.

Hudson Valley hiking Poet's Walk-12

New York Hudson Valley Autumn Hiking- Walkway Over the Hudson

 

Hudson Valley hiking Walkway Over the Hudson-1

The Walkway Over the Hudson is one of those unbelievably easy walks, but offer tremendous views. The walk is literally what is says- a walk over the Hudson River, over a flat pedestrian bridge.

Hudson Valley hiking Walkway Over the Hudson-6

 

You can do this walk from the eastern side of the Hudson River starting on the Poughkeepsie trailhead or from the western side from the Highland trailhead. Either side is easily accessible for parking. I chose the western side, because I was going to go straight from this walk to another hike on the western side, so it was right on the way. From Rt 9W in Highland, take the first turn north of the Mid-Hudson Bridge exit onto Haviland Road (right turn if you’re heading north on Rt. 9W).  The entrance to the Walkway is on your left in less than a mile.Parking in the official lots of $5 USD, though there is other parking further away that doesn’t charge. But I figured, why not just pay so I am right at the trailhead (again, maximizing my hiking time).

Hudson Valley hiking Walkway Over the Hudson-4

I started relatively early in the morning around 8 am, since it was my last day in the Hudson Valley and I wanted to get all my hiking in before I had to head back to New York City and the airport. That particular morning wasn’t really sunny or anything, but at least it wasn’t raining, though the clouds did diminish the power of the autumn foliage colors a bit.

Hudson Valley hiking Walkway Over the Hudson-2

This is another one of those easy hikes where is it impossible to get lost. The entire trail consists of a pedestrian bridge that spans the Hudson River. If you walked the trail from end to end, it would be about 3 miles, though once you are not over the river, the view isn’t quite so majestic. It’s fine and all, but it’s nothing eye popping- just local neighborhoods, some of which have erected privacy screens so you can’t see into their homes (that’s how close part of this trail is to homes).

Hudson Valley hiking Walkway Over the Hudson-5

I certainly didn’t have the bridge to myself that morning, as there were other walkers, bikers and joggers, but at that hour, the crowds were at a minimum. The views were pretty great and expansive, and you can see for quite a ways up and down the river. The autumn foliage that lines the river was very bright and colorful in spots, and times I felt like I was looking at a beautiful pastel painting.

Hudson Valley hiking Walkway Over the Hudson-7

This is one of those walks that shouldn’t be missed. It’s easy, easily accessible and the views are worth it.

Spectacular Autumn Colors in Takao, Kyoto

Kyoto Takao Temple title pictureTakao was my final stop on my autumn color extravaganza in Kyoto. I originally intended to visit the Jingoji Temple in the Takao area the night prior since it was open for night illuminations. However, I wussed out and decided to go shopping instead. It turns out it was a really good decision to go during the day, because Takao had the best autumn colors on this trip to Kyoto.

Kyoto Takao Temple red trees

Kyoto Takao Temple entranceTakao is sparsely populated in a mountainous area about an hour’s bus ride from Kyoto. The Takao area houses three temples: Kozanji, Jingoji and Saimyoji. Jingoji Temple is the most popular temple in the area, and was the only one I visited.

Kyoto Takao secondary temple

Kyoto Takao out temple and colorful treesTakao is pretty easy to reach from Kyoto. You can take one of two buses from Kyoto to Takao. The JR bus leaves from Kyoto Station (JR#3 stop). It costs roughly 500 yen one way. The other bus is Kyoto City Bus 8 that leaves from Shijo Karasuma.

Kyoto Takao sunlight treesIt’s a roughly 20-30 minute walk from the Takao bus stop to Jingoji Temple. The trail goes sharply downhill and crosses a river. Follow the stairs up the hill and to the temple.

Kyoto Takao valley river

Kyoto Takao colorful roof

Kyoto Takao colorful pathThe temple grounds are very wide open, and when I was there on a Monday morning, sparsely populated (I imagine it’s much more crowded on a weekend day).

Kyoto Takao Temple entrance interior

Kyoto Takao colorful temple groundsThe centerpiece of Jingoji Temple complex is a large Buddhist Temple. From the top of the stairs, the view down is quite colorful and spectacular (the title picture of this blog).

Kyoto Takao temple stairs

Kyoto Takao colorful tree roofTakao is known for its blazing autumn colors, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. The area hits peak foliage a bit earlier than Kyoto proper, so I got a much bigger hint of what Kyoto looks like when its autumn is at its peak.

Kyoto Takao colorful trees

Kyoto Takao colorful trees on groundTakao was probably my favorite stop on this trip to Kyoto. This provided everything I was looking for and more when it came to autumn foliage. Jingoji Temple is very peaceful and isolated, and that is by design. I thought it was very quiet, peaceful and well built to inspire contemplation, both inward and of the beautiful world around you.

Kyoto Takao colorful building

Kyoto Takao Temple red treesThere are two things that make me really feel like there is a creative force in this world (like a God or Goddess): beautiful art and beautiful  nature. Both of them make me contemplate in awe at how something so beautiful could be created, like the wonderment of the most elaborate Catholic cathedrals in the world, art museums, and nature. The Buddhist temple hall on the grounds was a beautiful combination of the two, with the artwork within the temple and the colorful nature spread outside before you.

Kyoto Takao colorful out building

Kyoto Takao red and orange treesIf you visit Kyoto, particularly in the autumn season, I highly recommend a visit to the Takao region to see the temples. At a minimum, visit Jingoji Temple. You won’t regret it.

Kyoto Takao colorful picnic site

Autumn Colors at Arashiyama Temples- Kyoto

Kyoto Arashiyama Arashion Temple title pictureFor my third day in Kyoto, I made my way out to the Kyoto suburb of Arashiyama. It is a short 20 minute train trip from Kyoto Station on the Sagano Line (train stop: Saga Arashiyama). This suburb was once an place of retreat for the Emperors of the Heian Period (794-1192 CE). Nowadays, in addition to being a quiet, bedroom suburb of Kyoto, it is also home to several historical temples, and is particularly known for its beautiful autumn colors.

Kyoto Arashiyama river bridge

This morning was the first day of poor weather with dark clouds and occasional rain. When I arrived at Arashiyama, I decided take the first train out on the Sagano Romantic Train. It’s a leisurely 25 minute, approximately 7 mile ride to the terminal station of Kameoka. The train chugs along slowly as you can take in the beautiful river valley and the colorful trees around you. You can disembark at Kameoka, or you can take the train back to Arashiyama (approximately 1200 yen round trip) for a nice one hour excursion. If you are also inclined, you can take a two hour boat ride along the river to Arashiyama.

Kyoto Arashiyam valley river

Kyoto Arashiyama valleyAfter returning to Arashiyama, I set off on an approximately three hour walk through the town, stopping off at three of the most prominent temples. My first stop was Nison-in Temple.

Kyoto Arashiyama Nishion Temple main grounds

Nison-in Temple was first built in 834-847 CE, and currently enshrines the two images of Shaka and Amida and are considered national treasures.

Kyoto Arashiyama Nishion Temple worship templeThe autumn colors were quite striking in Arashiyama, and the town hits peak autumn foliage a few days before Kyoto proper.

Kyoto Arashiyama Nishion Temple red treesThe combination of the relative early hour and the rain ensured that I most of the temple complex to myself.

Kyoto Arashiyama Nishion Temple colorful foliageAlso on site was a small Buddhist cemetery.

Kyoto Arashiyama Nishion Temple gravestones

Kyoto Arashiyama Nishion Temple funeraryMy second temple stop was at Adashino Nembutsuji Temple. It is located in the northwest corner of Arashiyama, and to get to the temple, you walk by a very pleasant street of covered shops.

Kyoto Arashiyama Arashion Temple entranceThis particular temple is most known for the thousands of funerary stones on the grounds, from the entrance …

Kyoto Arashiyama Arashion Temple gravestones & red tree…to the central courtyard. I thought the combination of ancient gravestones and colorful trees was particularly striking.

Kyoto Arashiyama Arashion Temple open gravestone field

Kyoto Arashiyama Arashion Temple gravestones and colorful trees

Kyoto Arashiyama Arashion Temple gravestone and a red treeMy final temple stop was at Daikakuji Temple in the northeast corner of Arashiyama.

Kyoto Arashiyama Daikuji Temple main groundsThis temple was a lot bigger than the other ones. This one also had more interior buildings. Your visit through the temple complex is a long, circuitous route on boardwalks. And since this is a Buddhist temple, you have to remove your shoes for your tour. Thankfully since it was raining outside, the entire walk was covered.

Kyoto Arashiyama Daikuji Temple entrance

Kyoto Arashiyama Daikuji Temple red outbuildingThe temple also borders a large pond, Osawa-no-ike Pond covered in waterlilies.

Kyoto Arashiyama Daikuji Temple pondArashiyama is a very easy trip from Kyoto. It’s not even quite a day trip, since you can easily see the town in about four hours. It’s just a short train ride from Kyoto proper and provides a lot of bang for your buck when it comes to both historical sites and beautiful scenery.

Autumn at Night- Kyoto Temple Night Illuminations

Kyoto Night Shorenin Temple title pictureDuring the height of the autumn season, Kyoto opens up some of its temples and gardens to night illuminations. They also happen in the spring, but I didn’t know about them when I was there the last time. But this time, I did my research before my trip to maximize my autumn foliage viewing, and learned about all the different temples open at night. Sadly for me, some of the largest temple complexes didn’t open until after I left Kyoto. But there were more than one temple I was able to enjoy.

Kyoto Night Shorein Temple lake reflection

Kyoto Night Shorein Temple lakeMy first night in Kyoto I visited two temples: the Shorenin Temple and the Kodaiji Temple. They are located in eastern Kyoto and roughly a 10/15 minute walk from each other. It’s always interesting to visit Japanese temples, because you are required to take your shoes off. But thankfully all the temples provide you with a convenient plastic bag to carry your shoes with you. These temples also have illuminated gardens of trees.

Kyoto Night Shorenin Temple lighted yard

Kyoto Night Shorenin Temple red treeKyoto hadn’t reached peak foliage during my visit, so there was still plenty of green leaves on the trees, but you could see oranges and reds as well.

Kyoto Night Shorenin Temple colored foliageShorenin Temple also has an illuminated bamboo forest.

Kyoto Night Shorenin Temple bamboo forestI visited Kodaiji Temple during my last trip and it was interesting to have a new perspective on it, with it being at night and in the autumn.  I was quite entranced with the images of reflections of the trees on still ponds.

Kyoto Night Kodaiji Temple pool reflection

Kyoto Night Kodaiji Temple orange reflection poolMy favorite part of Kodaiji Temple was the illuminated sand garden.

Kyoto Night Kodaiji Temple illuminated sandsThe second night I went to Eikando Temple. The temple is also located in eastern Kyoto and it’s about a 10 minute walk from Nanzenji Temple, so you can easily fit both temples into the same visit. I wasn’t able to visit Nanzenji at night, because the temple gardens weren’t open for night business until later in November. That is another reason why to schedule any Kyoto autumn visits for late November.

Kyoto Night Eikando foliage with moonThis is the entrance way to the temple. I went there right when it opened at 1730.

Kyoto Night Eikando temple entranceI went early figuring I would catch the temple, and then go enjoy dinner. It turns out that I wasn’t the only one who had that thought. There was a 20 minute wait to get into the temple. The line ran smoothly, though it meant there were hordes of people on site enjoying the illuminations. When I left the temple, there was no line or anything. So if you go to temple night visits, go later in the evening. Most of the temple night illuminations stay open between 2030-2130, so there is plenty of time each night to visit the temples.

Kyoto Night Eikando Temple pool reflectionsThat is another thing about a Kyoto autumn visit. You won’t be the only one with the same brilliant idea, so just be prepared to enjoy your visit along with thousands of others. But you get good at elbowing people out of the way so you can take your picture.

Kyoto Night Eikando reflection poolEikando is particularly good for enjoying night reflections of different colored trees on bodies of water.

Kyoto Night Eikando Temple main lakeLike every other temple in Kyoto, it hadn’t hit peak foliage. But there were definitely brilliant patches of red leaves.

Kyoto Night Eikando red trees

Kyoto Night Eikando red foliageEikando is supposed to be especially beautiful during autumn peak foliage, during both day and night. Definitely don’t miss it.

Kyoto Night Eikando Temple bridge

Searching for Autumn Colors- Kyoto edition

Kyoto Searching Ginkakuji Temple title picture

I visited Kyoto for the first time in May 2013 and really enjoyed it. The city is filled with beautiful temples, historical sites and beautiful gardens. When my planned trip to China fell through for my long weekend in November, I decided to go back to Kyoto instead. I knew that Kyoto is downright gorgeous in the autumn season when all the deciduous trees turn to blazing colors of red, orange and yellow. However, what is interesting about Kyoto is that the fall colors come in later than what I am used to in the United States, Europe and even Korea. In those places, the fall colors already hit peak foliage and are in the downward slide to winter bare branches. However Japan in general, and Kyoto in particular enter fall later, so peak foliage doesn’t hit until around late November/early December.

So I knew that Kyoto autumn colors wouldn’t be in full bloom when I was there, but I was hopeful nonetheless that there would be enough color to get my autumn foliage fix. The search for autumn colors started immediately after I landed in Kyoto.

TOFUKUJI TEMPLE

Kyoto Searching Tofukuji Temple

My first stop was the Tofukuji Temple in Kyoto. Tofukuji Temple is a 10 minute walk (clearly marked with signs) from Tofukuji Station on the JR Nara line and the JR Keihan line.  The foliage was starting to turn at Tofukuji, but it hadn’t turned just yet. It was like a tease for autumn lovers. You know what it could look like (particularly if you have seen pictures of Tofukuji in the full thrust of autumn).

Kyoto Searching Tofukuji Temple foliage

But as a first stop, it was enough to whet your appetite for more. You just had to know where to look to see incipient autumn foliage around you.

Kyoto Searching Tofukuji autumn bridge

MARAYUMA PARK

Later in the day, I made a stop at Maruyama Park shortly before sunset. The park is right in the heart of eastern Kyoto and a short walk from Gion and a wide variety of temples, like Shorenin, Eikando, Kodaiji and Kiyomizu Temple. While the park itself wasn’t overwhelmed with autumn color, this particular spot was perfect for a photo op or just sit and contemplate the fall natural beauty.

Kyoto Searching Marayuma Park lake

Kyoto Searching Marayuma Park foliage

SANZENIN TEMPLE

The next day I got an early start for a long day of autumn color and temple hunting. My first stop was the rural town of Ohara. Ohara is easily reached in a couple of ways. The longer way is Kyoto Bus number 17 from Kyoto Station to Ohara (580 yen). Alternatively, and frankly the quicker way, is to take the Karasuma subway line to the terminal station of Kokusaikaikan Station (a roughly 20 minute ride from Kyoto Station, 280 yen). Then transfer to Kyoto Bus 19 (bus station around back; follow the signs). The ride is roughly 20 minutes and costs 380 yen). Once you arrive at the Ohara Bus station, follow the signs (truthfully most of them are in Japanese, but you should see a few English signs) or the crowds for a 10 minute walk up the hill to Sanzenin Temple, the main attraction in Ohara.

Kyoto Searching Sanzenji Temple out temple

Kyoto Searching Sanzenji garden

Sanzenin Temple is a temple of the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism and was founded in the early ninth century. The temple grounds are pretty sprawling with many gardens, out buildings and walking paths. It is a very pleasant outing and you can stroll around the temple grounds and take in the budding autumn colors around you.

Kyoto Searching Sanzenji main temple

Sanzenin is not the only temple in Ohara, but it is the most prominent and the largest temple. However, there are a couple other temples just a few minutes walk down from Sanzenin.

Kyoto Searching Sanzenji neighboring temple

Kyoto Searching Sanzenji foliage bridge

I will say that if you choose to go to Ohara, go early in the morning. I was there shortly after the temple opened at 9am, so the crowds were pretty sparse. However, when I was ready to leave in late morning, I saw the hordes of tour buses and crowds of people milling about. That advice is pretty much true for all popular sites though, particularly at beautiful times of the year, such as cherry blossom season in the spring and the autumn season.

GINKAKUJI TEMPLE

The next stop on my full day itinerary was Ginkakuji, the Temple of the Silver Pavilion. Of course I made a bit of a blunder on my return trip. I knew that Kyoto Bus 17 stopped at Ginkakuji on the way from Kyoto Station heading toward Ohara, so I assumed that it would stop at Ginkakuji on the way back. But sorry, tricks are for kids. I realized way too late that I was nowhere near Ginkakuji. As a sidenote, the best bus stop on the return bus ride back to Kyoto is Demachiyanagi Station. According to the map, it looks to be about a 15 minute + walk east to Ginkakuji. But if you are coming from around Kyoto Station, the best buses are 5, 17, 32, 100, 102, 203 or 204. But eventually I did make it Ginkakuji (the title picture for this blog post).

Ginkakuji Temple is located in eastern Kyoto, and was established in 1482 by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa. His original intent was to coat the structure in silver in imitation of Kinkakuji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion), built by his grandfather. But he died before that could happen, so all that remains is the beautiful, simple wood structure.

Kyoto Searching Ginkakuji Temple autumn foliage

The landscapes of Ginkakuji are very beautiful and very sculpted. The garden pathway is very peaceful (ignore the crowds) and particularly lovely this time of the year.

Kyoto Searching Ginkakuji garden foliage

One of the gardens has landscaped rippled sand, with the centerpiece a small sandhill sculpted into the shape of Mount Fuji.

Kyoto Searching Ginkakuji Temple rock garden

NANZENJI TEMPLE

I capped off the day with a visit to Nanzenji Temple as sunset approached. There is about a one mile walk from Ginkakuji, connected by a pretty pathway called the Philosopher’s Pathway, which is lined with cherry trees. 

Kyoto Searching Nanzenji Temple main

Nanzenji Temple is a Rinzai Zen temple founded in 1293. The temple complex is set amid a beautiful grove of trees.

Kyoto Searching Nanzenji colorful autumn foliage

During the fall season, Nanzenji Temple is one of the Kyoto temples open for night illuminations during the height of the fall season. Sadly for me, the temple wasn’t open at night until mid November after I left Kyoto, so I could only enjoy it during the day.

Kyoto Searching Nanzenji Temple main grounds

Kyoto Searching Nanzenji foliage

That pretty much capped off the first two days of searching for autumn colors. I had two more days of Kyoto fall foliage (addressed in the coming blog posts). There is plenty to see and do in Kyoto. This was my second long weekend in Kyoto, and I didn’t see the same places twice. So if you love autumn beauty, I highly recommend Kyoto. Though if you want to see it at peak fall foliage, definitely plan your trip for late November/early December.