Posted: November 19
The Autumn Leaves of Kyotango
Autumn leaves in Japan are a big draw for leaf tourist, and Kyotango as plenty of natural sites to see impressive displays. More than just a seaside beach town, Kyotango has many beautiful hills, shrines and temples to take in the leaves as they change colour.
Autumn Leaves in Shrines and Temples
Home to the komaneko guardian cats, Kotohira Shrine in Mineyama is a great place to visit at any time of year, but in the autumn the momiji, Japanese maple, and other autumn leaves are truly stunning.
The gate at the top of the stairs is complemented by the orange and red leaves around it, and throughout the grounds there are numerous scenes with stunning displays. From the back of the shrine is a path that leads into the woods and eventually to the baseball stadium in the general park.
Nyoiji is famous as a flower temple and is resplendent in the spring. But in the autumn when the leaves change the temple grounds are lit up with autumnal reds and oranges.
These bold colours are such a stark contrast to the gentle pinks of spring it’s almost like visiting a completely different temple.
Otome-Jinja Shrine is named after the legend of an angel who fell in love with a mortal hunter. But after she returned to heaven they could only meet once a year.
Even though it’s close to the road the glorious autumn leaves make you feel like you are surrounded by nature. It truly makes you feel like you are part of the season.
On the other side of the street is Tennyo no Sato, the Angel’s Village. They have a lot of family friendly activities, a small camp site, and cottages which can be hired. They also have a lot of trees with some beautifully coloured autumn leaves.
Autumn Leaves in the Hills
Uchiyama Beech Forest
High up in the hills of Omiya is the Uchiyama Beech Forest. The site of an old logging village, abandoned and reclaimed by nature, the forest here is very bio-diverse and there is a visible line between the evergreen cedar trees and the beach trees.
Beech forests are usually found at about 600m altitude and higher, but thanks to a quirk of the local micro climate the Uchiyama Beech Forest is found at a surprisingly low altitude, about 400m above sea level.
From the starting point at the Uchiyama House you don’t have to travel very far to see the autumn leaves. And as you wind further up into the forest there are lots of great views to take in.
At the bottom of the hill leading to the Uchiyama Beech Forest is Komachi Park. Named after one of the six immortal poets of the Heian period, the park has many momiji maple trees on the grounds which turn a lovely shade of red when autumn comes.
Going up the stairs leads to an amphitheater with a view out over the surrounding hills and village
Garasha’s Village is deep in the hills of Yasaka, the villages official name is Midono. Hosokawa Garahsa (who would later convert to Christianity) fled to Midono during the warring states period, after her father betrayed Lord Oda Nobunaga, leading to his death.
There are no remains from the time she spent here. However, there are some monuments erected to commemorate it.
The little shelters make a great spot for a hill top picnic, giving shelter if the weather turns bad. The names on them are Garasha and Midono.
As you approach the summit of the hill there is a small path with some stairs you can take into the trees. The path leads to a landing with some benches, it would make for a good picnic spot too. From there, surrounded by the autumn leaves, you can immerse yourself in nature, marvel at the trees growing past you, and listen to a nearby waterfall; named after Garasha and the village.
Giant Gingko Tree
The Giant Ginkgo tree in the Hippara Pass in Amino is quite a site to behold. In the autumn the leaves turn a lovely yellow colour and made even more lovely by the nightly illumination in October and November.
If you get your timing just right you might be able to catch a train passing while you’re there. It’s also popular as a subject for photo contests.
It’s difficult to do the beauty of the autumn leaves justice with only photographs, they are best seen for real.