High­lights of au­tumn in Ja­pan’s Ky­oto

Ja­pan’s love of pass­ing sea­sons is most strik­ing in its for­mer cap­i­tal: while many visi­tors want to see cherry blos­soms here, au­tumn leaves last longer and bring deeper colour to Ky­oto’s hills DQG WHPSOH JDUGHQV ,Q WKLV JXLGH \RX·OO ÀQG tra­di­tional ac­tivi

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SIGHTS Eikan-do ££ (eikando.or.jp) Per­haps Ky­oto’s most fa­mous (and most crowded) au­tumn fo­liage des­ti­na­tion, Eikan-do is a su­perb temple made in­ter­est­ing by its var­ied ar­chi­tec­ture, its gar­dens and its works of ar t. Kiy­omizu-dera £ (kiy­omizud­era.or.jp) A hive of ac­tiv ity perched on a hill, this is one of Ky­oto’s most pop­u­lar and en­joy­able tem­ples, w ith a leg­en­dar y ter­race on stilts over­look­ing the cit y. Note that the Main Hall is cur­rently be­ing re­stored, though is still ac­ces­si­ble. Check the web­site for the sched­ul­ing of spe­cial night-time il­lu­mi­na­tions of the temple held in the au­tumn and the spring. Koto-in £ (73-1 Daitokuji-cho) On the far western edge of the Daitoku-ji temple com­plex, the sub­lime gar­den of this sub­tem­ple is one of the best in Ky­oto and it’s worth a spe­cial trip. It’s lo­cated within a bam­boo grove that you tra­verse via a moss-lined path. Once in­side there is a small gar­den that leads to the cen­tre­piece: a rect­an­gle of moss and maple trees, backed by bam­boo. Rest on the ve­randa here to soak it all up. Path of Phi­los­o­phy (Tet­sug­aku-no-Michi) The Tet­sug­aku-no-Michi is one of the most pleas­ant walks in all of Ky­oto. Lined with a great va­ri­ety RI ÁRZHULQJ SODQWV DQG WUHHV LW LV a cor­ri­dor of colour through­out most of the year. Though it’s most fa­mous for its spring-bloom­ing cherry trees, the path is also lovely in au­tumn. It only takes 30 min­utes to do the walk, from Nyakuoji-bashi, above Eikan-do, to Ginkaku-ji. The path takes its name from one of its most fa­mous strollers: the 20th-cen­tury philoso­pher Nishida Ki­taro. AC­TIV­I­TIES Camel­lia Tea Ex­pe­ri­ence £££ (tea-ky­oto.com; 349 Ma­suya-cho) Camel­lia is a su­perb place to tr y a sim­ple Ja­panese tea cer­e­mony. It ’s lo­cated in a beau­ti­ful old KRXVH MXVW RՖ 1LQHQ ]DND 7 KH KRVW VSHDNV ÁXHQW (QJOLVK DQG ex­plains the cer­e­mony sim­ply and clearly, while man­ag­ing to per­form an el­e­gant cer­e­mony. T he price in­cludes a bowl of matcha and a sweet. Fu­naoka Onsen £ (fu­naokaon­sen.info; 82-1 Mi­namiFu­naoka-cho-Murasakino) T his old bath is Ky­oto’s best. It has an out­door bath, a sauna, a cy press-wood tub, an elec­tric bath and a herbal bath. To get here, head west about 400m on Ku­ra­m­aguchi-dori from the Ku­ra­m­aguchi and Hori­ikawa in­ter­sec­tion. It ’s on the lef t, not far past Law­son con­ve­nience store. Look for the large rocks. Hozu-gawa River Trip £££ (hozu­gawaku­dari.jp) 7KH +R]X JDZD ULYHU WULS LV D great way to en­joy the beauty of Ky­oto’s western moun­tains. BoatPHQ VWHHU ÁDW ERWWRP ERDWV GRZQ WKH +R]X JDZD ULYHU IURP .DPHRka, 12 miles west of Ky­oto Sta­tion, through moun­tain canyons, be­fore ar­riv­ing at Arashiyama. The ride lasts two hours through oc­ca­sional sec­tions of choppy water. The scenery is es­pe­cially at­trac­tive dur­ing maple-fo­liage sea­son in au­tumn. EAT­ING Honke Owariya SOBA £ (honke-owariya.co.jp; 322 Ku­ru­maya-cho) Set in an old sweet shop in a tra­di­tional Ja­panese build­ing on a quiet down­town street, this is where lo­cals come for ex­cel­lent soba (buck­wheat noo­dle) dishes. The highly rec­om­mended house spe­cial­ity, hourai soba, comes ZLWK D VWDFN RI ÀYH VPDOO SODWHV RI soba with a selec­tion of top­pings, in­clud­ing shi­itake mush­rooms, shrimp tem­pura, thin slices of omelette and sesame seeds. Shigetsu VEG­E­TAR­IAN ££ (ten­ryuji.com; 68 Susuki­nob­a­ba­cho, Saga Ten­ryu-ji) To sam­ple sho­jin-r yori (Bud­dhist veg­e­tar­ian cui­sine), tr y Shigetsu in the precincts of Tenr y u-ji. T his healthy fare has been sus­tain­ing monks for more than a thou­sand years in Ja­pan, so it w ill prob­a­bly get you through an af ter­noon of sight­see­ing, though car­ni­vores may be lef t crav ing some­thing. Shigetsu has beau­ti­ful gar­den v iews. Yoshikawa TEM­PURA £££ (ky­oto-yoshikawa.co.jp; 135 Mat­sushita-cho) This is the place for tem­pura. At­tached to Yoshikawa ryokan, it RՖHUV WDEOH VHDWLQJ EXW LW·V PRUH in­ter­est­ing to eat around the counter and ob­serve the chefs at ZRUN ,W·V QHDU 2LNH GRUL LQ D ÀQH tra­di­tional Ja­panese-style build­ing. Reser­va­tion is re­quired for tatami-mat room.

Kiy­omizu-dera’s pagoda blending with au­tumn reds

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