Honenin's thatched-roof gate with bright red autumn foliage above

Discovering Kyoto’s Hidden Autumn Treasures – And Avoiding the Crowds

You can avoid the long waits outside temple entrances and bus stops by avoiding the guidebook-recommended spots, such as Kiyomizu-dera, Nanzenji, Heian Shrine or Arashiyama. Indeed, these gorgeous sites reveal Kyoto’s most treasured maple views; yet, there are other 1,600 and more temples and shrines in Kyoto that likewise exude charming beauty in their simplicity, solace, and natural landscapes.

Night-Fall: Nocturnal Autumn Leaves in Saitama

Viewing the reds and oranges of Japanese autumnal foliage on a crisp and clear day is unbeatable. Only one thing makes it better - when it's at night. First things first: where is Shinrin Koen? It lies almost exactly in the center of Saitama Prefecture, just north of Tokyo. The nearest train station is “Shinrin Koen” (森林公園), about 1 hour from Ikebukuro on the Tobu Tojo Line.

Fukushima's Hidden 850-Year-Old Temple: Shiramizu Amida-do

It's rare to find historical sites in Japan that haven't been reconstructed several times, much less ones that were built in 1160. Nestled away in a quiet suburban area of Fukushima's Iwaki City is Shiramizu Amida Temple, a simple wooden hall surrounded by carefully designed gardens and ponds. Beautiful in every season, the temple really shines in late autumn.

Koyo and the Maple Fairy in Shinrinkoen

Japanese look forward to the changing colors of autumn leaves with arguably the same admiration as they do cherry blossom each year with each region presenting its own festivals and event celebrating season. Musashi Kyūryō National Government Park, more commonly referred to as Shinrin Kōen, in Saitama prefecture is one of those, presenting a breathtaking night illumination and story of the forest.

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