Autumn in Kyoto is a big travel season, it may actually be the busiest travel season. For those travelers who would like to visit Kyoto, but are worried about the crowds… let us tell you about some great hidden spots you can go easily with kids. You can enjoy seeing the gorgeous autumn leaves with your kids in Kyoto this year!
Autumn Leaves in Kyoto are Beautiful
Japan goes through four seasons each year and with each season you can see something different. When one thinks of autumn in Japan, they think of colored autumn leaves. In Kyoto, the best time to see the different hues of red, orange, and yellow is from the beginning of November through the beginning of December.
Photo provided ：https://photo53.com/
If you want to see autumn leaves in Kyoto with kids…
Umekoji Park（kyoto park）
Umekoji Park, with an area of over 110㎡, is always bustling with families which have taken their kids there to play. There are regularly various events like handmade craft events and it is loved by the locals of Kyoto. However, did you know that Umekoji Park is actually a great spot for seeing autumn leaves? Every year from November to December they have an event called “Autumn Leaves Festival” and the park becomes colored with autumn leaves. Within Umekoji Park you can find the Kyoto Aquarium and the Kyoto Railway Museum, so it’s definitely a place you can take the kids for some guaranteed fun. After a day of playing, you can enjoy looking for the autumn colored leaves.
Umekoji Park Information
Walking from Kyoto Station – Chuo-guchi head west on Shiokoji-dori for about 15 minutes
By train – take the JR Sagano Line and get off at Umekoji Kyoto Nishi, it’s right by the station
・Homepage (only in Japanese) http://www.kyoto-ga.jp/umekouji/introduction/
・For more information on Umekoji park, check here
・Suzaku Garden Autumn Leaves Festival
One of the main events held at Umekoji Park each year is the Suzaku Garden Autumn Leaves Festival. It takes place from around mid-November to early December. Within the garden are around 150 trees with leaves in autumn hues and at night they shine brightly in the lights for night viewing.
Homepage (only in Japanese) https://www.digistyle-kyoto.com/event/6765
Kyoto Imperial Palace
About 10 minutes by subway from Kyoto Station, in the heart of the city, you can find the Kyoto Imperial Palace. The palace grounds are surrounded by a green filled national park. The park and palace together make up the Kyoto Imperial Palace. An important part of Kyoto’s history, the imperial palace is visited by many foreigners. The area has many different kinds of plants around it. In autumn you can see bright red autumn leaves and gorgeous yellow ginkgo leaves all around. The beauty of the leaves is sure to please not only adults, but kids as well.
Kyoto Imperial Palace Information
Kyoto Imperial Palace
By subway on the Karasuma Line – 3 minute walk from both Marutamachi and Imadegawa Station
Kyoto Botanical Garden
Kyoto Botanical Garden has a long history and was actually the first national botanical garden in Japan. It is loved and often visited by Kyoto locals, but it is not as well known by travelers and therefore isn`t so crowded with travelers. As such, it is a sort of hidden gem of a spot that you can enjoy a bit more relaxing time at. Within the premises there are over 1000 different kinds of plants to see and you can enjoy a leisurely walk through wooded areas. Kids will immediately feel a sense of adventure. There are also shops to get food and drinks and even a small park with equipment for kids to enjoy playing.
Kyoto Botanical Garden Information
Kyoto Botanical Garden
By subway – just next to exit 3 at Kitayama Station, or a 10 minute walk from exit 3 at Kitaoji Station
・Hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (last entry at 16:00) Closed: December 28 – January 4
・Homepage (click English for the English page) https://www.pref.kyoto.jp/plant/
Takaragaike Park is a park mostly visited by locals and you can often see people doing everyday things like walking their dogs or jogging. In the middle of the woods of Takaragaike Park is a pond and in the autumn you can see the colored leaves reflected on the water. It is truly beautiful and a scene which you can’t see in the middle of the city. You can ride a boat in the pond and see the autumn leaves from a different perspective.
Takaragaike Park Information
By subway – take the Karasuma Line to Kokusai Kaikan then walk for about 10 minutes
Sekizan Zen-in Temple
Sekizan Zen-in Temple is a well-known spot for seeing autumn leaves in Kyoto, but it is a quiet and peaceful spot. Long known as Momiji-dera (Maple temple), you will feel as if you are looking at a painting when you see the views here. What really sets Sekizan Zen-in Temple apart from other viewing spots is it`s collaboration of autumn leaves with cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms are typically something you see in spring, but at Sekizan Zen-in Temple, there are winter cherry blossoms which bloom between November and February. With the fusion of autumn leaves, the symbol of fall, and cherry blossoms, the symbol of spring, you can experience something truly special at Sekizan Zen-in Temple.
Sekizan Zen-in Temple Information
Sekizan Zen-in Temple
By subway – take the Karasuma Line to Matsugasaki, from there it’s about 7 minutes by taxi.
Eizan Dentetsu to Shugakuin and walk about 20 minutes
・Hours : gate opens at 6:00 and closes at 18:00; Reception hours 9:00 – 16:30
At Jakkoin Temple you can find about 1000 Japanese maples. The maples at Jakkoin Temple are big, but the leaves are small and each tree has many leaves. You will appreciate the feeling of the maple leaves presence. It is a little far from the city center, but you can enjoy a quiet, relaxing day seeing the beautiful autumn leaves here.
Jakkoin Temple Information
15 minute walk from the Ohara bus stop
From Kyoto Station take bus 17
From Keihan Line Demachiyanagi Station, take bus 10, 16, or 17
From Subway Kokusai Kaikan Station, take bus 19
・Hours: March 1 – November 30 – 9:00 – 17:00 / December 1 – February 28 – 9:00 – 16:30 (except for January 1-3 10:00 – 16:00)
Sagano Torokko Train
Arashiyama is a representative sightseeing spot for Kyoto, but near there you can find the Sagano Torokko Train. It runs from Sagano Arashiyama area in Kyoto to Kameoka and takes about 25 minutes one way. It meanders through nature filled scenery as it goes through mountains, so you can enjoy viewing the autumn leaves as you ride the Sagano Torokko Train. If you are riding with kids, we recommend you ride on the 5th car which is called “The Rich!” It is the only car of the six cars which doesn’t have windows! You can not only see the beauty of Kyoto, but also breathe it in which is sure to excite kids and adults! Tickets for “The Rich” are available on a first come first served basis on the day of your ride.
Sagano Torokko Train Information
Sagano Torokko Train
From JR Sagano Line, a 5 minute walk from Sagano Arashiyama Staiton
・Hours: See the following link for running hours
・For more information on the Sagano Torokko Train, check here
Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama
Arashiyama Monkey Park is at the top of a mountain which takes about 20 minutes to hike. The mountain road is well taken care of and is even fairly easy for small kids to hike. Arashiyama Monkey Park is a spot that local elementary and junior high schools go to for field trips. There are about 120 wild monkeys living at Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama so you can get a closer look at monkeys than you can at a normal zoo (as they are wild, please be careful not to startle them). At the monkey park there is a tunnel of Japanese maples. In autumn you can walk through the brilliantly colored tunnel.
Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama Information
From Hankyu Arashiyama Station and Keifuku Arashiyama Station – about a 5 minute walk
From JR Sagano Arashiyama Station – about a 15 minute walk
・Hours: March 15 – September 30 9:00 – 17:00 (last entry at 16:30) / October 1 – March 14 9:00 – 16:30 (last entry at 16:00)
Enjoying the Autumn Leaves in Kyoto
Autumn in Kyoto is a big season for travelers and is therefore quite crowded. However, if you find some spots not known by a lot of travelers, you can enjoy a relaxing day seeing the autumn colored leaves. Even better, with Kyoto with Kids Club, a club geared toward entertaining and educating kids visiting Kyoto, or our family tours, you can avoid the crowds and have an experience you are sure to remember.