Autumn in Kyoto is a great time for making day or half-day trips to see the burning red and gold leaves of Arashiyama, Mount Hieizan or Takao. But if you are pushed for time, there are still some impressive lesser known spots in the city without the usual crowds, including Kyoto University’s central Yoshida Campus.
Kyoto Daigaku (Kyodai) was founded in 1897 and is one of Japan, and the world’s, top universities. While only a few of the old red brick buildings remain, the paths of Yoshida Campus are lined with stands of mature gingko trees that light up in glowing yellows in mid-November.
Yoshida is vast and is actually split into seven sub-campuses but the main and north areas are probably the best places for a stroll. The easiest way to take the tour is to get yourself to Hyaku-manben and then walk east along Imadegawa for five to 10 minutes until you reach the entrance to the North Campus, indicated by a set of traffic lights. From the gate, you should see a long line of bright yellow gingkoes.
Once you are done here, cross Imadegawa and enter the Main Campus. Head south toward the Clock Tower, where you can take a break under the branches of the massive spreading tree in front. The whole thing takes about half to one hour, depending on photo stops.
It is maybe best to go on a Sunday, when there are not thousands of students around. Or if you don’t mind crowds, you could time your visit during one of the fairly full-on Autumn festivals. Kyodai is a public university and you should be free to wander as long as you stick to the paths.
Share your knowledge: Are there any places around Kyoto you recommend for seeing the Autumn leaves? Leave a comment below.