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One Perfect Autumn Day in Kyoto

There are plenty of reasons to visit Kyoto, anytime of year, but autumn in the ancient capital is particularly lovely—the temple yards full of red maples, crisp fall air, strolling alongside the Kamo River and stopping in for a bowl of oden at a local shop… The perfect Kyoto autumn day is a matter of personal taste, but here are a few ideas.

One Perfect Autumn Day in Kyoto

CONTENTS

  • Len

  • Kamo Rive

  • Cycling

  • Viewing Autumn Foliage

  • Hisago

  • Mirei Shigemori Garden Museum

  • Yasaka Shrine

  • Len

    Kyoto has no shortage of legitimate spots to start the morning, ranging from the oldest of old school kissaten to third wave coffee joints. If you don’t have a breakfast spot penciled into your itinerary, consider stopping by the cafe at Len. This hip hostel near the Kamo River opens their cafe at 8am and serves the usual yogurt and granola, pastries, etc. but they also make some of the best coffee in the neighborhood. Beans and expertise come from Onibus in Nakameguro and there are creamy espresso drinks as well as pour over or Aeropress-brewed coffee.

    Len Kyoto Kawaramachi
    Address
    京都府京都市下京区植松町709-3
    Phone
    075-361-1177
    Remarks
    【URL】https://backpackersjapan.co.jp/kyotohostel/
  • Kamo Rive

    Kamo Rive

    Kamo Rive

    It’s true that Kyoto in an age of peak tourism can be crowded, but, that’s simply the nature of the place, which has been a site of pilgrimage for centuries. The truth is that there are still moments of relative serenity to be found, if you’re willing to find them. Head out for an early morning jog, run or stroll along the Kamo River and you will quickly find yourself in unfamiliar territory. Taking Pontocho as a starting point, it’s only about a two mile jog up to where the Kamo River and the Takano River meet, and an ambitious jog could easily take you all the way up to quarters of the city that look very little like the dense neighborhoods of central Kyoto.

    Kamogawa River
    Address
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Ohashichou Sanjo Ohashi Bottom
    Phone
  • Cycling

    Cycling

    Cycling

    If tackling a Kamo River route on foot doesn’t sound appealing, try it on two wheels. Tracking down a bike rental shop is easy enough and then it’s just a matter of getting onto the pathways that run up and down the Kamo. In a single morning, it’s possible to cover most of the urban stretch of the river, and, if you wanted to, venture far beyond that. On a blazing summer day, the trip can be a slog, but a crisp autumn morning is perfectly comfortable. Kyoto cycling tour enthusiasts have assembled suggested routes, available online, but Kyoto is the perfect place to explore without much guidance.

  • Viewing Autumn Foliage

    Viewing Autumn Foliage

    Viewing Autumn Foliage

    During koyo season, when the city fills with autumn foliage hunters, some of the temples can be particularly hectic, while the grounds of the Imperial Palace are usually a bit more peaceful, even later in the day. This is a great place to take a stroll in the morning, if you aren’t venturing out along the Kamo River.

  • Hisago

    Hisago

    Hisago

    The oyakodon at Hisago is one of the most famous lunches in Kyoto. The mixture of fragrant chicken and just-barely cooked eggs sit atop a bowl of steamed rice—a simple dish, but one that is hard to perfect. A warm and hearty lunch on an autumn day. The shop is within walking distance of Kiyomizudera and not too far from Sannenzaka, but it still feels slightly out of the way, with the queues out front the only thing to signal that this is one of the city’s best restaurants.

    Hisago
    Address
    Authority of Shimogawara, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto Yasaka Toriimae lower ru 484, Shimogawaramachi, 605-0825
    Phone
    0755612109
    Remarks
    【URL】https://kyotohisago.gorp.jp/
  • Mirei Shigemori Garden Museum

    Mirei Shigemori Garden Museum

    Mirei Shigemori Garden Museum

    With a bellyful of oyakodon, there are worse ways to spend the afternoon than Mirei Shigemori Garden Museum. Originally, this home was gifted to Mirei Shigemori by the leadership of Yoshida Shrine. The great designer drew up plans for both gardens that still exist on the site. Sit for a tea ceremony and look out on the dry garden, which has a particularly desolate beauty in autumn.

    重森三玲庭園美術館
    Address
    京都府京都市左京区吉田上大路町34
    Phone
    075-761-8776
    Remarks
    【URL】http://www.est.hi-ho.ne.jp/shigemori/association-jp.html
  • Yasaka Shrine

    Yasaka Shrine

    Yasaka Shrine

    At Yasaka Shrine, where the grounds are lit up with lanterns and other illuminations. The lanterns bear the names of Gion Matsuri patrons. The illumination of the Yasaka Shrine is almost unique, since most other shrines close up shop at dusk. Before heading out for a night on the turn, or turning in for a good night’s sleep, stop by Yasaka.

    Yasaka-jinja Shrine (Gion Shrine)
    Address
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Gionmachikitagawa 625
    Phone
    0755616155
    Remarks
    【URL】http://www.yasaka-jinja.or.jp/
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