The autumn foliage peaking in Kyoto during November brings scores of tourists from around the world to take in the famous sights, with shrines, temples, and businesses all over the city displaying their seasonal charm.

The chill of autumn hangs in the air as Kyoto’s flora is engulfed with rich shades of red, orange, and yellow.  Kyoto is famous the world over for its fall leaves, and the transformation turns even the most familiar of sights into a new and exciting vista.  Shrine and temple gardens take on a new appearance and the mountains surrounding Kyoto turn to swathes of color.  Festivals and events such as geisha dances, illuminations, and nature outings are the order of the month, with delicious seasonal food for the tasting.

Gion Higashi district's Gion Odori
November 1st - 10th, 2020

Gion Odori

One of the five annual public performances put on by each of the geisha districts in Kyoto, the Gion Odori is a chance to see the elegant dances and charming songs of Gion Higashi's traditional geiko and maiko.

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A priest throws prayer sticks into a bonfire during the Aki Matsuri at Tanukidani-san Fudō-in.
November 3rd, 2020

Aki Matsuri

Tanukidani-san Fudō-in temple celebrates their Fall Festival in early November. The Aki Matsuri involves visitors writing their wishes on wooden tablets and monks who practice a form of mountain asceticism called shugendō throwing those wooden tablets into a sacred bonfire.

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Poets work to the sound of koto music during Kyokusui no Utage at Jōnangū Shrine.
November 3rd, 2020

Kyokusui no Utage

Kyokusui no Utage, an elegant form of leisure entertainment enjoyed by nobles in ancient Japan, is reenacted at Jōnangū Shrine in southern Kyoto twice a year in spring and autumn.

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Kitano Kyokusui no En Pair Poetry
November 3rd, 2019

Kyokusui no En

Visit the new Funade no Niwa garden at Kitano Tenmangū to see a poetry banquet the likes of which was enjoyed by cultured nobility a thousand years past.

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Three fires are lit during the Hitaki-sai Fire Festival at Fushimi Inari.
November 8th, 2020

Hitaki-sai Fire Festival

Fushimi Inari attracts a great number of visitors from around Japan, and many come to Kyoto to participate in the Ōhitaki Fire Festival.

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Ikenobo Ikebana Kyutanabata Flower and Sword
November 13th - 16th, 2020

Autumn Tanabata Exhibition

Each November the Ikenobo school of ikebana prepares a large Autumn Tanabata Exhibition to showcase a wide variety of both traditional and contemporary Japanese flower arrangements called Kyūtanabata-e.

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Line of participants during the Yoroi Kizome-shiki at Kamigamo shrine.
November 23rd, 2020

Yoroi Kizome-shiki

Yoroi Kizome-shiki is based on a time-honored tradition of becoming a man in a ritual in which you would don your first pair of armor, though these days both boys and girls are allowed to participate.

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Boiled daikon, Saga tofu, and citron rice at the Yaku Otoshi Daikondaki at Sanbō-ji.
November 30th - December 1st, 2019

Yaku Otoshi Daikondaki

Sanbō-ji uses the Daikondaki to celebrate the death anniversary of the Buddhist sage Nichiren, who founded their sect in the 13th century and propagated the Lotus Sutra as the true way to Enlightenment.

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Autumn in Arashiyama.

Autumn Foliage

Any visitor would be remiss if they passed up on autumn in Kyoto! Shrines and temples become even more gorgeous with the addition of fall colors, and many popular spots hold special nighttime illuminations of the colorful leaves.

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