Classical Buddhist temples, lush gardens, imperial palaces, traditional wooden houses – Kyoto is vintage Japan. Tokyo and Kyoto are anagrams, and that’s pretty much where the similarity ends. The two cities couldn’t be more different. The former represents the flawless modernity and high-tech feel that is synonymous with the modern-day image of Japan while the latter represents the Japan of a cherished era. The city’s rustic charm gets a whole new dimension in autumn, when the surroundings resemble an image straight out of a postcard. So if you find yourself in this part of Japan during fall, staying in a hotel would be doing a disservice to yourself! Here are the best places to go and stay instead.
Around 85 kilometres from capital Tokyo lies Kamogawa, a city in the southern Chiba Prefecture. With a population of 33,307, you simply can’t run into a crowded area – no matter where you go in the city. So there’s no compromising on peace and solitude here. The places we recommend visiting when you’re here include Kamogawa SeaWorld, Oyama Rice Terrace, Tanjoji Temple, Tainoura, and the Uomizuka Observation Deck.
Of course, the ideal location to view autumn in all its glory is around the Kamogawa River where the leaves literally engulf the surroundings, and the red/yellow hues make for one pretty picture!
Stay at one of these fantastic HomeAways at Kamogawa to make your trip even more memorable.
Machiya beside Kamo River
If Kamogawa River is the best place to witness autumn, then what better place to stay at a home right beside it? This century-old traditional home was refurbished this year with modern amenities to make it the ideal HomeAway. It has 3 bedrooms and can accommodate upto 7 guests, with an indoor garden for you to relax in after a tiring day out. How’s this for some cool history – the kitchen still has the original well that supplied water to the house over 100 years ago!
Average price per night: SGD 503
Large home in Central Kyoto
The owner of this adorable home puts it best, “Stay in this wonderful space that is a mix of west and east unlike anything you’ve ever seen.” Well, the pictures certainly do that description justice. This two-storey wooden house is located close to all the best places in the area. Perfect for a small family or group. And the owner has been gracious enough to throw in some freebies too – including iPads, portable Wi-Fi devices, and – wait for it – his wine cellar as well!
Average price per night: SGD 377
The massive grounds situated in the foothills of Higashiyama Mountains are collectively referred to as Nazenji Temple or simply Nanzenji. It finds its place in the list of the most important Zen temples in Japan. You’ll be in awe of this complex the moment you find yourself at the mammoth entrance gate that beautifully looms over the treetops. Do visit the subtemples too – Nanzenin, Konchi-in, and Tenjuan Temple. Tenjuan especially is famed for its twin gardens that naturally liven the surroundings during autumn in mid November.
If you are looking at staying in HomeAways around Nanzenji, then here are some options:
Traditional Japanese style garden room
This beautifully designed home might be traditional in its feel but comes well equipped with all the amenities expected of a modern HomeAway. When tired after a long evening of autumn viewing, come home and relax in the Japanese Hinoki wooden tub. Begin the next morning with a cup of hot tea at the traditional Japanese garden, easily accessible by sliding the glass doors that lead to the balcony area.
Average price per night: SGD 1100
Top floor apartment close to the station
This building that houses this apartment was recently constructed in 2015 and the freshness of the fittings is evident in the pictures! Located on the fifth floor, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the northern mountain range of Kyoto. It also overlooks the famous Heian Shrine. Centrally located and in close proximity to the Higashiyama Station and bus stop, getting around will be a breeze. Go ahead and book it. You won’t regret it. Especially at this price!
Average price per night: SGD 172
While it is widely regarded as the best Sakura spot in Kyoto in spring, Philosopher’s Path does great justice to autumn too. It is named after Nishida Kitaro, Japan’s famous philosopher, who used to meditate when on his way to Kyoto University. The area is dotted with restaurants, boutiques, and cafes – so dig into a lovely meal or a refreshing cuppa while soaking in the sights. The Honen-in temple is particularly pretty during autumn leaf season, with spectacular, vivid colours in all their glory.
Philosopher’s Path traditional house
Sometimes a home owner puts across a description so beautifully that we’d rather not tamper too much with it. In his words, “Boasting stunning views on the surroundings hills and valleys, our house, originally built in the ’30s, was recently completely renovated and beautifully appointed by acclaimed architect Norito Nakahara, designer of the Claska hotel in Tokyo, the Kanra hotel and Anteroom in Kyoto among many others. The ground floor offers a luminous, spacious open-space that leads from the entrance, through the modern kitchen to the traditional Japanese tatami room, allowing you to enjoy the view on the small private Japanese garden (tsubo-niwa) throughout the area.” What better place to stay, we reckon.
Average price per night: SGD 378
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