Our flight was to Osaka Kansai International Airport. We decided to stay there for the night and visit a couple of places of interest. As soon as we arrived, we headed off to see the Osaka Castle. It was already dark and very late in the night but we were very surprised how safe we felt walking in the park around the Castle after the midnight. We met a few women walking around alone, taking pictures of the castle.
The next morning we decided to catch the train to Kyoto and it couldn't be any easier. The best option is to take a JR rapid train, which gets you to Kyoto in 29 minutes and costs 540 YEN. Visiting Kyoto in autumn is a must on everyone's itinerary. The colours are absolutely amazing and a joy for every photographer. We met lots of fellow photographers carrying their tripods especially in the Arashiyama area. People in Japan are very polite and even though not many speak English in or around Kyoto, they are very helpful. Just make sure that you have a map of the area.
Be prepared, that during "Autumn Colours", all hotels get fully booked well in advance and they can be quite expensive so give yourself plenty of time to prepare your holiday.
Autumn in Kyoto is very popular and this is also the time of year when millions of japanese tourists come over here to enjoy this beautiful show of our mother nature. The colours don't last very long and are at a different time in each area of Japan. We went to Kyoto during the last week of November and just made it. it is interesting to see some maple trees with all three colours (green, yellow and red) at the same time. The colours are very vivid during sunny days and despite the fact that we prefer taking pictures during golden hours, this is an exception.
We bought a 2 day sightseeing pass which cost 1,200 YEN but takes you to all major Temples, even Arashiyama. Because there are many different companies running subways, light rails, and buses, it can be quite confusing on which ones you can use this pass but it's not hard to figure out.
There are many temples to see in Kyoto, so depending on how much time you have, you can manage to see all of them or just a few. The choice is yours.
The first night, we decided to visit the night gardens of Enkoji Temple as it offers incredible autumn colours. The line to purchase tickets was about 600m long but japanese people are very well organised and we bought our tickets about 35-40 minutes after waiting in the queue. Crowds were enormous here but have to say that no one was pushing or shoving, everyone waited patiently for their turn to take pictures. We couldn't see any other "westerners" around which was quite surprising. Locals told us that overseas tourists are still worried about Fukushima but it is a great distance from Kyoto which is safe.
* All information on this website expresses our opinions and points of views and should not be taken as official guidelines.