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Autumn in Nara: Where to See the Season's Best Colours

Watching the changing autumn colours, or koyo, is an almost spiritual experience, running from mid-November through December. Red maple and yellow gingko leaves paint the parks and mountains with vivid beauty.

Murouji Temple

When the red maple leaves sprinkle the steps up to the pagoda, the scene is magical. Murouji Temple is a must-see in autumn and if you're lucky, you might see a priest playing the shakuhachi bamboo flute in the grounds. | History & Culture | Murouji Temple

Hasedera Temple

The slopes leading up to Hasedera Temple are lined with colourful leaves, contrasting with the stone lanterns. The view from the main hall, which projects out over the valley, is a photographer's dream. | History & Culture | Hase

Isuien Garden

The manicured gardens offer views of autumn leaves from all angles and the sight of fallen leaves on the thatched tea houses is especially pretty. | Nature & The Outdoors | Nara Park

Nara Park

What could be better than cute brown deer roaming through the yellow gingko leaves? The red maples near Todaiji Temple also show off the deer to their best advantage. | Nature & The Outdoors | Nara Park

Tanzan Jinja Shrine

This shrine was made for autumn colours. The red maple leaves enhance the red woodwork of the pagoda and the main hall. Take time to stroll the veranda around the main temple, hung with gilded bronze lanterns; you'll get a great autumn shot. | History & Culture | Sakurai

Kinpusen-ji Temple

On autumn nights, Kinpusenji Temple is illuminated, showing off both the beautiful leaves and the magnificent carvings on the main hall. It's also a rare chance to see the fierce blue Zao Gongen statues. | History & Culture | Yoshino

Toshodaiji Temple

Even in summer, the atmosphere is a little autumnal, with cool shady forest paths for strolling. The bright leaves contrast perfectly with the dark, dignified wooden hall. | History & Culture | Nishinokyo

Nara Prefectural Office Rooftop

This is a slightly secret viewing spot, but word is getting out that the views from this rooftop over Nara Park are gorgeous. It's the perfect spot to get a shot of the Kohfukuji Temple pagoda emerging from the autumn leaves. | Activities & Experiences | Nara Park

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