Kyoto Koyo in Arashiyama at Okochi Sanso

With November coming up it’s a great time to talk about my favorite season in Japan: Koyo or autumn leaves. Kyoto Koyo (葉 こうよう) is unrivaled in how seriously gorgeous it is. I previously posted about Kyoto Koyo in Tenryu-ji temple in Arashiyama, but I definitely was even more impressed by Okochi Sanso.

Near the famous Tenryu-ji in Arashiyama is Okochi Sanso. It’s a quick walk (10 minutes) out the back exit of Tenryu-ji through the famous bamboo grove then to Okochi Sanso. If you think the bamboo grove is epic, prepare for Okochi Sanso.

Okochi Sanso is a mountaintop retreat by silent film star Okochi Denjiro. After his death it has been turned into a visiting place with lovely gardens. The admission is pricey for a garden-style visit at 1,000 yen ($10) but the price does include the best place I’ve ever had tea. It’s not as stunning for sakura season, koyo is where it shines. Don’t adjust your monitors, because I didn’t adjust these pictures much. It really is that vibrant for Kyoto Koyo.



In these pictures I’m really happy I got to take and show everyone enjoying it. Couples, women traveling together, old men savoring Japan. There’s just a pleasantness about it. That kind of sightseeing is so nice compared to everyone filing into the Sistine Chapel or such.


Okochi Sanso is very high up and depending on where you’re walking around on the grounds you can see neighboring mountains. The Japanese untranslatable word Komorebi (木漏れ日) for light streaming through the trees is really evident during koyo.

The Scenic “Tea House” at Okochi Sanso

Entrance allows you to enjoy a cup of freshly whisked green tea and a green tea biscuit in gorgeous surroundings.


Check out that technicolor entrance! Kyoto Koyo is the best especially at Okochi Sanso.


This is one of the most beautiful places I’ve gotten to enjoy a snack ever.


Delicious green tea biscuit and green tea. The thumb of my fun manga-eye nails I did at Avarice last year.


Head to Kyoto for Koyo

arashiyama Kyoto koyo

Even if you decide not to hike from Tenryu-ji through the bamboo forest to Okochi Sanso, Kyoto Koyo especially in Arashiyama is amazing! The colors, the nature, the clear water, the amazing food, or the cute monkeys (post)! I’ve visited Arashiyama three times and I just can’t get bored. It’s so beautiful.

Just looking at these pictures makes me check airline prices.  :sadcat:

I have one more post about Arashiyama, this one is a restaurant recommendation, before Koyo happens. If you’re making travel plans please stay tuned!

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  1. September 4, 2014 / 12:01 am

    I loved Kyoto when I visited! I went last year during autumn, but we went too early to see the amazing leaves change.

  2. September 4, 2014 / 2:41 am

    What lovely pictures! I do love this time of the year, with the leaves changing colour. Truly stunning. ^__^

  3. September 5, 2014 / 3:18 am

    Lovely pictures! I wish I’ll be there one day, too

  4. September 5, 2014 / 7:49 am

    Such lovely photos! Seeing the 紅葉 is something I’m really looking forward to during my year abroad in Japan; maybe I’ll even make it over to Kyoto to do so! Thanks for sharing!

  5. angi
    September 15, 2014 / 1:54 am

    Love your blog! But please more frequent updates that would make me so happy! :)

  6. September 21, 2014 / 6:40 pm

    Everything looks so beautiful! I love the colors! :D

  7. September 27, 2014 / 9:00 pm

    Beautiful pictures/ colours! Autumn is actually my favorite season in Japan, – I am already looking forward to this year`s koyo^^

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