The Fig
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The Fig

Kyoto 2018 Autumn Leaves with temple guides

This year was hot around the world so turning color of leaves was delayed and especially Kyoto was hit by a huge typhoon in September. Without thinking about how much we were worrying, the leaves changed color in the autumn brightly. I took days off for shooting and checked how the leaves were changing everyday. Let me introduce you to photography of beautiful autumn leaves and temple themselves which have interesting stories, and some useful information.

Rurikouin, Rakuhoku Kyoto


The first picture is one of the most popular shot of reflected autumn leaves of Kyoto, taken at Rurikouin. The autumn leaves are reflected on the shakyou(copying a sutra) desk.

A matcha green tea and a tea dessert / A tea room of Rurikouin

They have not only this famous room, but also modern tea room and some well-maintained gardens. The temple is not suitable for sitting quietly anymore but they are really photo-friendly and have remarkable landscape. Actually there are so many people even weekday. Visitors have been increasing in past few years so you need to queue for getting a ticket since early morning, but I believe that the reflection is not to be missed. Note that, you need to make sure open period because the temple is only opened to the public in summer and autumn.

This is the one of beautiful garden of Rurikouin.
Hosenin, Ohara Kyoto


The picture framed garden is the most famous part of this temple, called ‘Bankan-en’ which means the place hard to leave — actually it is! The garden seems to have something special power attracting us. There are perfect space to sitting quietly and to meditate, you can feel small universe and see the magnificent garden as long as you want (the temple is closed at 17pm but just in case you should make sure closing time on their website in advance). The contrast of ephemeral autumn leaves and longevity pine tree is definitely worth seeing. The centered pine tree’s age is 700, I heard it has been getting weaker by illness so hope it will live longer as long as it can.

A delectable matcha green tea and a tea dessert for free. I love this dessert.

They kindly serve us a delicious matcha tea and a tea dessert, basically visitors sit on the red carpet and enjoy them. But actually you can choose where you sit, so I want to recommend you a best seat for enjoying the framed garden. That is — where placed Zabuton (flat floor cushion) on the far side of the room. Why is the seat so special? That’s because it was placed to see whole picture and the garden with perfect balance like the above first photo — it was taken from Zabuton place, and also it had been used for a person who is noble or most important.

If you wouldn’t be scared, I hope you have a chance to see Chitenjo(blood ceilings), stained by blood. I can totally understand even if you have these questions — Why were they stained? Why have they been used for ceilings of temple? Here is the answer I heard. During Japan’s Warring States period, many people had fought and had died and their blood had flew onto castles. These could not be wiped away no matter how hard one tried so the stained boards were removed and turned into the ceilings of many temples in and around Kyoto including Hosenin for praying. A reason why they weren’t used as floors is, using as ceilings is more suitable for praying for their soul respectfully.

I took 1000+ photography, these are selected from them. Hope you enjoy them and if you want to know more information about these temples, don’t hesitate to ask me via comment.

Shourenin-monzeki, Higashiyama Kyoto
jikishian, Saga Kyoto / Saga
Rengeji, Rakuhoku Kyoto
Sanzenin, Ohara Kyoto
Giouji, Saga Kyoto




Lifestyle and Travel, photography.

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Sayaka Nogawa

Sayaka Nogawa

Small good things. Ex Medium Japan Editor. Say

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