First of all, if you want to make the same photo as I made and have the best experience of Japan in autumn during koyo and momiji period, you can come with me!

Indeed, I organize photo tour in Japan! I lead a group of 10 people who want to discover Japan during Koyo season and make the best photos possible in the best location and best time. I have started last year and I will run the photo tour every year in the second half of November. You can Click here if you want to know more and join the next tour in November 2020:

Japan momiji autumn Loic Lagarde book my photo tour-3

Kyoto is the former capital city of Japan in the Middle Age and is today the most touristic city in Japan! (apart from Tokyo). Therefore visiting Kyoto can be exhausting because of the crowd especially during the high seasons (sakura and momiji). My recommendation is then to visit the most popular spot early morning. 

Also, bare in mind that transportation time in Kyoto are quite long. Public transportation system in Kyoto is quite difficult to understand and not as efficient as in Tokyo or Osaka. There are no many metro lines and you will need to take often buses. Finding the right bus line and the bus station can be really challenging! Therefore, my advice is to limit the number of spots per day to visit (ideally 2 or 3 maximum) and allow one hour to reach each spot. 

Arashimaya – The Bamboo Forest

  • Best time in the year: anytime
  • Best time in the day: dawn, early morning
Japan Kyoto Arashiyama Loic Lagarde winter

The Bamboo Forest is the most famous spot in Arashiyama. You need to walk approximately 20 minutes from the train station to reach this corridor of bamboos. Since this is a very popular place, it is very crowded even quite early in the morning. Therefore, if you want to make good photos there, you need to go there very early even before sunrise.

Fushimi Inari

  • Best time in the year: anytime
  • Best time in the day: early morning, dawn before sunrise 
Japan Loic Lagarde Kyoto Fuchimi Inari bestof

Fushimi Inari temple is one of the most well known temple in Kyoto and in Japan. It is very impressed to walk through all the little gates called “torii”. 

I strongly advise to go there very early in the morning even 1h before sunrise because this is otherwise extremely crowdy. Also if you go there at dawn, you will see the place with lights!

A monk is passing through everyday… if you want to know when he is passing though the gates, you will need to come with me! 😉

Nineizaka

  • Best time in the year: anytime
  • Best time in the day: early morning
Japan Loic Lagarde Kyoto

This district in Kyoto is probably on of my famour spot to shoot in this city. You will find this little street with stairs between Kodai-ji and Kiyomizu-dera. As always, I strongly recommend to go there early otherwise it will be crowded. 

Arashiyama – The river

  • Best time in the year:  End of November
  • Best time in the day: morning
Japan momiji autumn Loic Lagarde Kyoto arashiyama

Arashiyama (the river Arashi) is located one hour south west from Kyoto station. You can go straight there with JR Saga line.

This place is famous for the Bamboo forest, many beautiful temples with momiji also and the river.

If you want to visit the Bamboo forest during momiji, I strongly advise you to go very early at dawn, even before sunrise. This place is very quiclky overcrowded afterwards.

Regarding the river, if you want to make a photo like mine, the best time is in the morning around 9AM to 11AM. To find nice maple trees you just need to walk along the river!

If you want to know the best spots, just send me a message 😉

Daigo-ji

  • Best time in the year:  End of November
  • Best time in the day: golden hour, evening
Japan momiji autumn Loic Lagarde Kyoto Daigoji

Daigo-ji is a beautiful temple full of Momiji and a bit out of the tracks located in the south east of Kyoto. This temple it is not very touristic so far. You actually need approximately 1h to go there from Kyoto station. The best time to go is in the afternoon before sunset. 

It will cost 1500 Yen to visit the temple with a combined ticket with another temple and a museum. It is not possible to visit the temple only. 

Eikan-do

  • Best time in the year:  End of November
  • Best time in the day: opening time
Japan momiji autumn Loic Lagarde Kyoto eikando

Eikan-do Temple is very popular during Momiji because the garden of the temple is full of maple trees!

This temple is a bit north of Gion, in the east part of Kyoto. Since it’s easily accessible, it can be very crowded. I advise you to go there at opening time in the morning to enjoy it properly.

Kinkaku-ji

  • Best time in the year: anytime
  • Best time in the day: golden hour, sunset
Japan Loic Lagarde Kyoto Kinkakuji

Kinkaku-ji, the golden pavillon is one of the most iconic temple in Kyoto. 

During Momiji, this temple is interesting to visit anytime. If it snows in winter, it can be beautiful. In autumn, there is a couple of maple trees to make nice framed photos.

This temple is very popular. However, I advise you to visit it just before closing time and sunset around 4pm. The light is amazing and most of the crowd is gone.

Kiyomizu-dera

  • Best time: Cherry Blossom first week of April or Koyo end of November
  • Best time in the day: golden hour, sunset and evening 
Japan Cherry Blossom Loic Lagarde kiyomizu dera

Kiyomizu-dera worth visiting even if it is always very crowdy

During Sakura period in spring, there are a lot of Cherry Blossom trees in Kiyomizu-dera. They are nice to shoot during the day and also at night with the lights. However, they don’t all bloom at the same time so you won’t be able to get them all. 

In autumn, during Kyoto period, there are also a lot of maple trees and other colorful leaves. At night there are also lights.

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