Japan’s Leaf Peeping Splendor

Leaf Peeping in Ohio is probably going to be a big bust this year. It’s been 90 degrees lately, and today’s temperature drop may be a little too late. Basically, we’re looking at a fall of mostly dull yellow and brown. Perhaps, Japan will have more luck.

While I was hunting for links to leaf viewing via vintage trains, I came across details about Japan’s autumn splendor on a Frommer’s Web site. In the Honshu region of the country, colors pop out in the fall. I went to Nara on a day trip from Kyoto in the middle of summer when the maple trees around the temples were thick with green leaves. In October and November, they become brilliant orange and red around Todaiji Temple.

Kyoto, where I became obsessed with going to as many temples as I could for some reason, has ginko trees galore. They were green when I saw them, but, according to Frommers, become an awesome yellow in November. Frommers also recommends Kamakura and Nikko for their leaves. Not just their leaves. The temples–yep, I hit them–are wonderful. Nikko is has the famous one of the see no, hear no, speak no evil monkeys. I went to both towns as day trips out of Tokyo. (I had a free place to stay in Tokyo, so in the seven days I spent in Japan I only stayed overnight elsewhere once. Kyoto was it.)

The Kyoto Tourism Federation also has a section dedicated to leaf viewing. November is also the month with the best colors according to this source. In addition to places to see in Kyoto, several towns are listed, along with what to see when you go there. One suggestion is Nagaokakyo, which is quite close to Kyoto and the site of this lovely photo.