Tourists flock to Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto during the cherry blossom-viewing days of spring, but equally stunning are the sights of brilliantly colored autumn leaves amidst ancient structures that have remained undisturbed for hundreds of years.

One particular temple, Rurikoin, stands on the edge of the city and is a paradise for photographers during the autumn months, as well as visitors who didn’t even know they had an artistic side yet spend hours playing with different lighting effects there. While Rurikoin is not always open for general admission from year to year, we’re in luck because this year the building will indeed open its doors for the span of one short month.

Located on the outskirts of Kyoto is Rurikoin (瑠璃光院), a Buddhist temple which only opens to the public for very limited time periods in the spring and autumn months, if at all, during any given year. It’s said that once you see the color-changing autumn leaves at Rurikoin, you won’t need to see them anywhere else–perfectly encapsulating the temple’s leaves’ nickname of  幻の紅葉 (“illusionary autumn leaves”).

Mark your calendars because this year, Rurikoin will be open for public viewing from Sunday, November 1 through Monday, November 30. In commemoration of the rapidly approaching opening date, let’s take a look at some past photos of the temple and leaves, shall we?

As pictured above, the temple offers a nighttime illumination event during certain years. There’s no such event at the temple planned for this year–instead, the maple trees surrounding the temple and the banks of the nearby Takano River will be lit up for the first time ever! The illumination event will be held on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays between November 7-29 from sunset to 8 pm.

▼ Where the illumination event will be held this year

You can feast your hungry eyes upon even more exquisite pictures of Rurikoin here. But don’t get too distracted, because you’ve got to start packing for a trip to Kyoto next month!

Temple Information
Address: 〒601-1255 京都府京都市 左京区上高野東山55
55 Kamitakano Higashiyama, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu, 601-1255
2015 hours: November 1-November 30, 10 am-4 pm
Entrance fee: 2,000 yen (US$16.47)

Take the Keihan Main/Oto Line to Demachi-yanagi Station and then transfer to the Eizan Main Line, eventually getting off at Yase-Hieizan-guchi Station (the last station of the line). The one-way journey from central Kyoto takes approximately 50 minutes.

Source: Naver Matome
Featured image: Matcha Japan Travel Magazine/Keishi Kawakami