Kyoto: Golden Leaves of Ginkgo Trees 京都御苑、西本願寺金黃銀杏

Late November is a busy tourist season for Kyoto because of fall foliage. Not just red and orange leaves of Maple, but also golden leaves of ginkgo trees.

十一月下旬是京都旅遊的旺季,不只是賞楓,京都還有漂亮的金黃銀杏。

The best spots for photographing golden gingko leaves in Kyoto are: Hongan-ji, Kyoto Gyoen National Garden, and a golden gingko-lined street Horikawa Dori (堀川通, from Imadegawa Dori今出川通 to Shimei Dori紫明通). We visited two of the three sites during this trip.

京都拍銀杏的景點不外乎西本願寺、京都御苑、和堀川通從今出川通開始到紫明通這一段銀杏大道,三個景點這次去了兩個。

Nishi Hongan-ji’ 西本願寺

Nishi Hongan-ji, or west Hongan Temple, is a Buddhist temple in the center of Kyoto. The temple is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the late 16th century, warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi donated this piece of land to the Buddhist sect Jōdo Shinshu and helped establish this temple.

西本願寺在京都中心,是個佛教寺廟,在台北西門町也有一間,京都的西本願寺被列為聯合國教科文組織世界遺產。這間廟是西元十六世紀豐臣秀吉捐了地來蓋的。

The temple is known for two incredible gingko trees. This one below is over 400 years old! The other tree was unfortunately half destroyed by a typhoon in 2017.

We visited this place on November 22 of 2017. The gingko leaves were still beautiful. It was a shame that we made it to the temple way too late in the day and lost daylight. Mid-afternoon is probably the best time to shoot. Since the temple opens very early at 5:30 am, it’s also a great spot if you need to fill your early morning schedule.

西本願寺有兩顆有名的爆彈元氣銀杏,被稱為逆銀杏或噴水銀杏這顆樹齡高達四百年!另外一顆樹形很美,但是2017年被颱風吹斷好多樹幹。

我們在2017年的11/22日拜訪,銀杏還很漂亮,落葉不多,但是可惜玩太久、太晚到西本願寺,太陽已經下山沒光線沒得拍,大概下午三點來會蠻剛好。西本願寺超早開門,早上五點半就開了,需要景點來塞一大清早的行程的話可以考慮這裡。

Five blocks away is another temple of the same division, Higashi Honganji (東本願寺), or east Hongan Temple. Toyotomi supported the west temple. His rival Tokugawa Ieyasu built the east temple in order to undermine the power of this sect.

西本願寺往東五個街區是東本願寺,德川家康掌權之後為了削弱本願寺的勢力,分化本願寺成兩個支派,蓋了東本願寺。

 

Kyoto Gyoen National Garden 京都御苑

Kyoto Gyoen National Garden is a public park. It is a great spot for cherry blossoms and fall colors free of admission.

京都御苑是個公園,如果要找免費的賞楓賞櫻景點,這裡是個好地方。

That day we went to the super popular fall color destination Tōfuku-ji in the morning, ate iconic Shinto god of rice and fox spirit-themed dishes at a restaurant founded in 1540, and then saw the famous scene of thousands of brilliant orange gates at the Fushimi Inari Taisha. After that, we took the Keihan mainline train from Fushiminari Station to Demachiyanagi Station to get to the Kyoto Gyoen park.

From the train station to the northeast entrance of the park, it’s a 10-minute walk. Right outside of the Demachiyanagi Station, you would walk cross the Kamo River at where two rivers merged into one. That’s where you can cross the Kamo River on stepping stones.

We went there on November 21 of 2017. The leaves at most of the temples we visited were still in great shape, but the gingko trees at this park shed most of their leaves. The fallen leaves made a beautiful golden carpet.

我們這天早上到楓紅名所東福寺,中午去五百年前就開始營業的餐廳吃狐狸和稻荷神主題的京都午餐,下午逛了伏見稻荷大社的千本鳥居,再搭京阪電車到出町柳站,走路大概十分鐘到京都御苑。出町柳這邊是賀茂川(鴨川)和高野川交匯的地方,也就是傳說中鴨川可以跳烏龜的地方。

我們是2017/11/21去的,銀杏已經掉了好多葉子,是個一半金黃地毯一半還是樹上的狀態。

If you enter the park through the northeast gate called the Ishiyakushi-gomon Gate (石薬師御門) and walk toward the imperial palace, it is impossible to miss the two beautiful gingko trees.

從東北方的入口石薬師御門進來就一定不會錯過大家網誌都有的這兩顆漂亮銀杏。

The environmental agency of Kyoto has a very helpful walking map where seasonal attractions are clearly marked. The gingko trees in the pictures above are marked with gingko leaves in the map near 11 and near the northwest gate close to the Site of Ichijo Residence.

京都環境署有個厲害的地圖,標了京都御苑內春夏秋冬的景點,上面照片這兩顆銀杏在地圖的11附近還有西邊那個入口附近的Site of Ichijo Residence旁邊。

An imperial palace is situated inside the park. Japan’s emperors lived in Kyoto from 794 when the capital was relocated from Nara to Kyoto to 1869 when the capital was moved to Tokyo. The imperial palace today was the royal residence from 1331 to 1869. The buildings we see today were built in 1855. This was not just a residence. Inauguration, meetings, and events were held here.

京都御所就在這個公園裡面,從794年日本從奈良遷都到京都,到1869年遷都到東京這段時間,日本天皇都住在京都,現在的京都御所是天皇從1331年住到搬家的地方,現在看到的建築是1855年重建的,這裡不只是天皇家族拿來住的地方,即位典禮以及許多會議和活動都在這裡舉辦。

The Chrysanthemum flower seal (kikumon) is a seal used by the royal family of Japan. 日本皇室的菊紋

The Kyoto imperial palace is open to the public free of admission. It used to be that tourists need to apply in advance to visit the imperial palace. Now you just walk in. There is security check at the gate. You will need to follow a route.

以前參觀京都御所要事先線上申請,現在不用了,可以直接來,免費參觀,在門口領號碼牌、過安檢就可以了,不過要乖乖按照參觀動線走。

The manhole cover says “palace.”

 

Inside the park, there is another fall foliage spot, Sento Imperial Palace. It is known for fall colors and their reflection in a pond. You will need to apply early to visit this place.

To leisurely see only the imperial palace and the northeast area of the park, it takes about two hours. Nijō Castle (二条城) and the gingko lined street Horikawa Dori are not far from here.

京都御苑裡面還有另一個賞楓景點仙洞御所,有個池塘和漂亮楓紅倒影,參觀要提早上網申請

慢慢逛京都御苑的北半邊加京都御所大概要花兩個小時。二條城和堀川通銀杏大道離這裡不遠,適合安排在一起。

 

 

Nishi Hongan-ji’ 西本願寺
Address: 600-8501京都市下京区堀川通花屋町下ル
Free of admission
5:30 am – 5:00 pm
How to get there
hongwanji.or.jp/english

Kyoto Imperial Palace 京都御苑
Free of admission
April to Aug: 9 am – 5 pm (Enter by 4:20 pm)
Sept to March: 9 pm – 4:30 pm (Enter by 3:50 pm)
Oct to Feb: 9 am – 4 pm (Enter by 3:20 pm)
Closed on Mondays and certain days throughout the year. Check here for announcements.
sankan.kunaicho.go.jp/english

 

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