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All About Autumn! News, Events & Inspiration

September 12, 2018 Visit North Asia No Comments Email Email

Dear Friends of Kyoto,

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower” – Albert Camus.

And this is exactly why autumn is one of our favourite seasons to visit Kyoto. Apart from the temperatures hitting that perfect sweet spot of not being too hot and not too cold, autumn delights visitors with its bright and mesmerising autumn foliage putting an additional spark of  magic on Kyoto’s beautiful temples. What’s more, October also means a plethora of fire festivals, night illuminations and moon-viewing. From delving into the old days of Kyoto at the “Festival of the Ages” to learning about Kyoto’s quirkier side at the International Manga Fair and everything in between, here is your guide to Kyoto Autumn.

Happy travels!

Alison & Yumi

Cover image © Flickr – Jennifer


Image © Joe Hsu on Flickr

“Festival of the Ages” – Jidai Matsuri

Attention, festival lovers: get ready for what is known to be one of the top 3 of Kyoto’s biggest and most exciting festivals alongside Aoi Festival and Gion Festival. Think the most exciting fusion of a costume show and a history lesson, Jidi-Matsuri Festival is an incredible celebration of Kyoto’s fascinating past. The festival procession sees several hundred marchers dressed in exquisite costumes from the various periods of Kyoto history winding their way from the Old Imperial Palace to Heian-jingu Shrine.

When: 22 October 2018, departure at 12pm
Where: Route: Kyoto Imperial Palace, Karasuma Oike, Heian Jingu Shrine
Admission Fee: ¥ 2,600

Image © victorillen on Flickr

Kurama Fire Festival

As the name sugguests, this is undoubtedly one of THE hottest and energetic annual festivals on the Kyoto events agenda held in the quaint small town of Kurama on the 22nd October every year. The original purpose of the fire-based event was to illumnite the path through the world of the living for the spirits of the departed. A unique combination of fire lightings, processions and fire-based ceremonies make this a must-do experience for anyone travelling to Kyoto in October.

When: 22 October 2018
Where: Kurama

© Kyoto Convention & Visitors Bureau

International Manga Fair

Delve into one of Japan’s quirkiest sides at Western Japan’s largest manga and anime trade fair. The event aims to spread and boost the manga and anime industry, such as publishing firms, anime producers, broadcasting companies, film makers, and educational institutions. Each booth features a display of popular manga and anime series, many events, PR activities for brand-new collections, and special goods sales.

When: 15-16 September 2018
Where: Miyako Messe & Kyoto International Manga Museum
Admission Fee: From ¥800

Autumn Temple Viewing

Whilst Kyoto’s temples are mesmerising all year-round, seeing them during the most colourful season of the year is simply mindblowing. Kyoto’s temple light-up events are an absolute feast for the eyes allowing you to witness the autumn foliage in full bloom. Here are our 3 Top Spots for Autumn viewing:

Kogen-ji Temple: Learn more here
To-ji Temple: Learn more here
Entoku-in Temple: Learn more here


Image © Christian Kaden / 

Kiyomizu-yaki Pottery Festival

Twelve minutes by taxi from Kyoto Station, Kiyomizu-yaki Danchi is an area at the foot of Mount Higashiyama, famous for its kiyomizu-yaki pottery production, and home to nearly 60 companies. The Kiyomizu-yaki Pottery Festival is held once a year, bringing together the kilns and shops of this pottery town for an exciting event. Don’t miss out on this three-day event, during which pieces will be available for reduced prices!

When: 19-21 October 2018
Where: Kiyomizu-yaki Danchi in Yamashina Ward

© Kyoto Convention & Visitors Bureau

Moon-viewing Festivals

As if simple moon-gazing wasn’t fascinating enough, Kyoto puts an additional touch of magic on top with a number of unique moon-viewing festivals held in some of its most beautiful temples between 22 and 24th September. From watching the moon from a boat whilst listening to traditional musical performances to admiring Shinto rituals, concerts, and a number of fascinating dedicatory rites and festivities, Kyoto’s moon-viewing events are the closest you can get to a real-life fairytale. Our favourite moon-viewing festivals include:

Shinsen-en Temple: Learn more here
Kamigamo Shrine: Learn more here
Matsunoo-taisha Shrine: Learn more here

Tawaraya Ryokan, Image © Kyoto Convention & Visitors Bureau

Guide to Kyoto’s Accommodation Tax

Partners Information: The City of Kyoto will start charging an accommodation tax from 1 October, 2018. The tax will be levied on guests staying at accommodation facilities/residences, which accept accommodation fees.

The tax will be imposed on those staying at any facilities accepting money for accommodation as stipulated in the Hotel and Ryokan Management Law. This applies to hotels, ryokans, simple accommodations, as well as residence rentals stipulated in the Private Lodging Business Law.

Tax rates (accommodation fee per person, per night):
Under 20,000 yen -> 200 yen
Over 20,000 yen to 49,999 yen -> 500 yen
Over 50,000 yen -> 1,000 yen


Image © geoffreyrockwell on Flickr

Murin-an Garden

One of Kyoto’s best-kept secrets, this garden brings natural beauty to a whole new level. Murin-an Garden” was created by Jihei Ogawa VII (7th) between 1894 to 1898 as a villa for Aritomo Yamagata. It was designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty in 1951 with the Higashiyama Mountains as its focal point. The Murin-an is considered to be a pioneer of the modern Japanese gardens in Kyoto.

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