In late November I had the chance to revisit Kyoto, a place I connect with many memories. In 2022, I lived there for half a year while undertaking an exchange at Kyoto University.
Besides Spring, Autumn is the most popular season to visit Kyoto — for good reason. The leaves change their colors to yellow and red and countless landscape gardens change their dresses before resting during the cold winter.
While I came to Kyoto this time to attend a conference, I found a bit of time to revisit and find new temples I did not know so far. Here is a list of scenic places I think have not been found by the typical Kyoto tourist yet.
First, I visited this lesser known temple in the North East of Kyoto. Following the approach up the slope I entered the quite temple area in midst of maple trees and cherry trees that began to bloom a little bit. The climate these days…
One of the oldest shrines of Kyoto emits spirituality. I always enjoy revisiting this place. It is best to approach from the South and pass through the Tadasu no Mori forest.
Close to Enkou-ji lies Shisen-dou temple, which I preferred because it was less busy in this season. From the veranda of this temple one could meditate in front of a dry landscape garden.
Moving south, we visited Nanzenji near my former flat. It was very nostalgic to revisit this area in particular.
On another day, I visited a few shrines in the North West that I missed last year. In place of Kinkakuji or Ryoanji I explored Ninnaji temple, another historically important site with connections to the Imperial family.
The large park between the main buildings was worth a visit by its own.
My highlight on this day was actually Tojiin temple, located in a quite neighborhood near Ritsumeikan University. The temple and the garden both were beautiful and it was not busy at all.
While I tried to avoid the popular spots, I could not help myself but visit Arashiyama anyways. By coming at 9 am I could evade the crowds to a fair degree and started right off at popular Tenryuji temple.
A few steps further lies Hogon-in temple, that is famous for its garden.
Okochi Sanso Garden
Beyond the infamous bamboo path is a garden that attracts less attention because of its hefty 1000 yen entrance fee. But it is definitely worth entering! Show me a more tranquil place to enjoy nature and overlook Kyoto.
I hope this list motivates you to enjoy a new side of Kyoto. Another tip: avoid buses, take the subway instead and walk a lot.