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Beautiful Scenery! 3 Kyoto Hotels Where You Can Enjoy Dreamy Autumn Colors From Your Room

Beautiful Scenery! 3 Kyoto Hotels Where You Can Enjoy Dreamy Autumn Colors From Your Room

Date published: 14 November 2021

Kyoto is a popular sightseeing spot amongst overseas visitors and Japanese tourists alike. In fall, the time when the colors of the leaves change to reds and yellows is as popular as the cherry blossom around the streets during springtime. Arashimaya is set aflame with color, and Nanzenji Temple is the place to enjoy the brightly colored maple and cedar trees. In Okazaki, there are many cultural institutions and temples, and plenty of spots to catch autumn leaves.

Alongside its exclusive fall cuisine, the autumn leaf period in Kyoto is a fantastic time to visit. The best places to spot autumn leaves tend to be crowded, so we’ve picked three of the best hotels to avoid the crowds and enjoy the foliage from the comfort of your own room, each one steeped in history.

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Yamashina Genhouin (Okazaki): Appreciate the autumn leaves from the comfort of your own private garden
  2. 2. Nanzenji Sando Kikusui (Nanzenji): Enjoy the autumn leaves from a guest room facing a garden designed by a Japanese master gardener
  3. 3.‘Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto’ (Arashiyama): Enjoy the autumn leaves of Arashiyama

1. Yamashina Genhouin (Okazaki): Appreciate the autumn leaves from the comfort of your own private garden

1. Yamashina Genhouin (Okazaki): Appreciate the autumn leaves from the comfort of your own private garden
The exquisite front entrance

Yamashina Genhouin is located in the east of Kyoto, in Okazaki - about 20 minutes by taxi from Kyoto Station.

Built by Prince Yamashina in 1920, this Japanese-style hotel holds a distinguished history. Via the exquisite demeanor, visitors can catch an insight into the old noble family’s life. Through extraordinary features throughout, guests can even feel the modern, timeless quality of the building.

The hotel comprises four rooms: out of the recently renovated tearoom is the Shingetsu-an, from the Emon room, guests can step straight into the garden; next is the large Kagura-yama room and lastly is the Hihaku room, from which it is possible to see Higashiyama and the garden. All four rooms are built inside the Japanese garden, so the autumn leaves can be enjoyed from every room.

Standing alone, the Shingetsu-an room is our recommendation for those wanting a place to enjoy Kyoto’s autumn leaves to their heart's content. Separate from the other rooms, Shingetsu-an even has its own private garden. A truly private place where it is possible to appreciate the foliage to your heart's content.

The private garden in Shingetsu-an
The bedroom in Shingetsu-an
The living room in Shingetsu-an

In Kyoto, the autumn leaves gradually change around mid-November and are viewable until the start of December. The garden is a magnificent sight all year round, giving visitors the chance to experience all four of Japan’s seasons. As well as the autumn leaves in the fall, plum blossoms and cherry blossoms are viewable in the spring.

The view from the private room, Hosho

The hotel has free wifi and there are English-speaking staff. Credit cards and UnionPay are accepted so guests will be able to fully relax whilst enjoying the venerable atmosphere.

There are also regular events relating to traditional Japanese culture, such as Kimon-do, which is the practice of dressing for the imperial court, and court practices including incense and songs. Other Japanese imperial family-related events are also on offer, providing a unique chance to get a feel of traditional Japanese culture.

A beautiful carpet of autumn leaves covers the Japanese GardenA beautiful carpet of autumn leaves covers the Japanese Garden

Past guests have said: ‘We were able to fully relax in the beautiful, calm surroundings of the Japanese Garden. All the staff were friendly, welcoming us with kindness and grace and we had a true Japanese guest experience. The hot spring which smelt like wood was great.’

The hotel bath is made of fragrant Koyamaki wood. Leave your travel fatigue behind by soaking in the bathtub, relaxing as you gaze upon the autumn leaves.

A stylish shot: Look out onto the garden through the fall foliage

The hotel provides breakfast only, a traditional Shojin meal which does not use meat or fish.
The surrounding area has cultural highlights such as the Heian Temple, the Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art and the traditional ceramics exhibition center Miyako Messe. The Eikando Zenrinji Temple, famed for its autumn leaves, is a 9 minute walk away, making the Yamashina Genhouin Hotel a perfect location for sightseeing.

Health & Safety Measures
Indoor disinfection measures taken - Sanitizer installed - Disinfection after each guest - Ventilation measures in place - Coin trays used - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Limited capacity/increased space between seats - Restricted admission, reservation system in place - Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell - Masks required/temperature check enforced - Restrictions on room service (entry) for staff - Simplified check-in process

2. Nanzenji Sando Kikusui (Nanzenji): Enjoy the autumn leaves from a guest room facing a garden designed by a Japanese master gardener

2. Nanzenji Sando Kikusui (Nanzenji): Enjoy the autumn leaves from a guest room facing a garden designed by a Japanese master gardener
Enter an extraordinary world through the curtained entrance...

Nanzenji Sando Kikusui is a gorgeous Kyoto ryokan located a 7-minute walk from Kyoto City Subway Tozai Line, Keage Station. Previously a draper’s cottage, the inn now boasts a vast (around 2,700 square meter) Japanese garden, which was created by a Japanese master gardener.

There are five private rooms on the first and second floors, all with free wi-fi and all overlooking the Japanese Garden. Visitors can catch the autumn leaves from the end of November, viewable from all rooms, including the downstairs restaurant - a great space from which to enjoy the beautiful colors.

Autumn leaves are viewable from every room. This room is 203.

Each room encompasses peaceful Japanese design at its core. Tucked away in the garden is the first-floor luxury suite, with a terrace nearby.

One can spot koi carp swimming gracefully around the hotel pond, which is even said to resemble Lake Biwa. From the secluded terrace, guests can relax in one of the chairs away from the gaze of others, experiencing a slower pace of life.

Your very own Lake Biwa in the Japanese Garden
The autumn leaves in the Japanese Garden are at their peak from the end of November

In each room are a minibar, a kettle, and an espresso machine. How about some relaxation time with the complimentary, wonderfully fragrant Ronnefeldt black tea, or even Giontsujiri, the renowned Japanese tea brand.

Previous guests have told us: ‘The nearby Nanzenji Temple and Heian Shrines, and the surrounding area is lovely. A fantastic traditional Japanese hotel, especially with the view of the garden. It was very relaxing.’

Alongside the terrace is the restaurant and the tea room, which serves traditional Japanese Kaiseki (course) meals using seasonal local ingredients, in addition to Italian and French-style Western food menus. Gaze upon the beautiful garden and vibrant colors of the Kyoto leaves as you eat Nanzenji Temple’s delicacy of boiled tofu as the main part of the Kaiseki course. Staying guests can also have breakfast. The hotel tries to accommodate allergies as much as possible, so please let the staff know before the meal.

Green maple leaves at the entrance change to reds and yellows during fall

Hotel staff speak Japanese only, so it is recommended to use a translation app when communicating. Payment by card and credit card is possible.

Five minutes on foot from Kyoto’s most renowned fall foliage spot, Nanzenji Temple. The overwhelming beauty of around 3,000 maple trees during fall at Eikando Temple has lent it the name ‘Maple Eikando.’ At only 10 minutes by foot, Eikando is the perfect place for a picnic to enjoy the fiery foliage.

Health & Safety Measures
Ventilation measures in place - Coin trays used - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Limited capacity/increased space between seats - Restricted admission, reservation system in place - Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell - Masks required/temperature check enforced - Restrictions on room service (entry) for staff

3.‘Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto’ (Arashiyama): Enjoy the autumn leaves of Arashiyama

3.‘Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto’ (Arashiyama): Enjoy the autumn leaves of Arashiyama
The hotel entrance

‘Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto’ is located on one of Kyoto’s most scenic spots, along the Arashiyama area of the Hozu River. Less than 10 minutes on foot to the Arashiyama Bamboo forest and around five to Togetsu Bridge makes it a highly attractive location.

There is a free taxi service from JR Kyoto station. Also, from JR Saga-Arashiyama Station, Keifuku Electric Railroad Arashiyama Station (Arashiyama Line) and Hankyu Arashiyama Station, there is a free rickshaw service (one way, book at least three days in advance). A popular tourist attraction, rickshaws are two-wheeled vehicles pulled by a rickshaw runner (‘shafu’). Passengers can sit back, relax and experience the scenery from a higher vantage point. Check it out if you can!

The Gyokuto room comes with a private garden

A total of 39 modern rooms, all embellished with elements of traditional Japanese beauty. In fact, 17 of the rooms come with an outdoor bath where guests can enjoy their own natural hot spring. On the third floor of the hotel are two natural hot spring spas, exclusive to staying guests. Upon reservation, guests can have the spas to themselves (45min per group each time, 4,427 yen + 150 yen bath tax).

You can experience autumn leaves from mid-November to around the start of December. There are three private gardens with beautiful fall foliage for guests - on the first floor is the Yuzunoha Garden, especially for 12 rooms and the Kyoutsukikoto Garden. On the third floor is the private Gyokuto Garden with many trees that see autumn leaf coloring, where you can enjoy the foliage all to yourself.

Akatoki Tsuyu Room, facing the autumn leaves of Arashiyama

Also, on the second and third floor, including the Tsukinone Superior Room (twin/king), the Akatoki Tsuyu Executive Suite, the Togetsu Executive Suite, and Suiran Presidential Corner Suite, guests can enjoy spectacular views of the famous autumn leaves of Arashiyama from their room.

Tasteful Japanese style reception area

The front desk is open 24 hours, with English, Chinese and Korean-speaking staff available. Free wifi is on offer, and bank cards, including credit cards, are accepted. Room Service and Concierge Service are also there to keep you comfortable throughout your stay.

Kyou Suiran restaurant

There are two restaurants in the building - the Kyo Suiran and the Kan Zan, a teppan-yaki restaurant, alongside the Hassui tea ceremony ‘Sanryo’ building.

Restored during the Meiji Period as an affluent businessman’s holiday home, experience the Kyo Suiran specialty of an innovative fusion of French cuisine and Kaiseki in a luxurious setting.

Dinner at Kyo Suiran

Located inside the Kyo Suiran is the Kan Zan Teppanyaki restaurant, where guests can watch chefs prepare the finest quality beef and the freshest seafood before their very eyes. Chefs are happy to accommodate vegan, vegetarian, and other dietary/allergy requirements - please give advance notice.

The Hassui tea ceremony room is set in a building with over 100 years of history, providing a calm, relaxed atmosphere for guests to enjoy a fantastic teatime experience overlooking a beautiful natural collaboration of autumn foliage and the Hozu River.

Previous overseas guests have said: ‘The setting, the scenery, the hot spring, the service - the hotel is fantastic! The staff are so kind and friendly, and there are so many sightseeing spots and souvenir shops close by. The dinner was even better than expected and made our stay unforgettable.’

Gaze out on the expansive Hozu River from Hassui Tearoom
Hassui’s autumn leaves

The hotel is located close to many sightseeing spots, a three-minute walk to Tenryu-ji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, resplendent in the fall with over 220 maple trees. Only five minutes drive from the Torokko Sagano Scenic Railway Torokko Saga station stop. The Hozu River Rafting start point is accessible from the Torokko Saga station. Why not give the exhilarating rafting trip a try?

Health & Safety Measures
Indoor disinfection measures taken - Sanitizer installed - Disinfection after each guest - Ventilation measures in place - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Limited capacity/increased space between seats - Restricted admission, reservation system in place - Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell - Masks required/temperature check enforced - Restrictions on room service (entry) for staff - Automated check-in; contactless support

Kyoto’s streets and temples are beautifully colored with autumn leaves in the fall. In these hotels, you can experience excellent sightseeing spots and a Japanese authenticity found only in Kyoto. Head here in fall to fully enjoy the leaves and create some unforgettable Japanese moments.

Text by: Shigemi Niki
Translated by: Kim Kahan

All information is correct as of November 2021. For up-to-date information please check the website.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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