Autumn Leaves at Kogenji Temple

Nishi Tenmoku, one of the oldest temples in Tamba famous for its Tenmoku maple trees

By Masayoshi Hirose    - 2 min read

Kogenji Temple, an ancient temple in Hyogo Prefecture, is basically one of the best places to see autumn leaves in Tamba. Most of the maples here are called Tenmoku maples. The story begins with the Zen Enkeisoyu, the founder of the temple, practiced meditation at Mount Tenmoku in Hangzhou, China, when he returned to Tamba and built Kogenji Temple, he brought back maple trees from Mount Tenmoku and planted them over there.

The temple is well known for its beautiful autumn foliage. The characteristics of the Tenmoku maples are small leaves and deep leaf blades. Its branches hang down to the ground. Indeed, the red maple leaves look as cute as a child's palm.

Every year, tens of thousands of tourists and photographers gather here to see these maple trees. So I joined the flock of people who couldn't resist the temptation to come here. From the first step of the stone stairs leading to the entrance, the atmosphere is absolutely amazing. Walking through the main gate with its large, sturdy stone leads you into the courtyard where you can enjoy the view of the beautiful tunnel of red leaves. A beautiful red tunnel, created by maple trees lined on the approach, along with stone stairs, is absolutely stunning.

The overall effect was very impressive. Visitors can stroll through the temple while enjoying the colored leaves in the autumn. The steps and stone lanterns are covered with moss. I was mesmerized by the mysterious and spiritual sight of the dim candle lights in the hall. In this great atmosphere, I climbed the stone steps that eventually led to the temple. It really is an ethereal world. Kogenji is one of the Tamba Koyo Sanzan, the three temples famed for red maple leaves viewing in Tamba. With its many trees, Nishi Tenmoku Kogenji Temple is definitely one of the must-visit places to see the autumn Tenmoku maple leaves.

Getting there

GETTING THERE

Access guide

About 10 minutes by car from the Kitakinki Toyooka Expressway "Aogaki IC". Please refer to the road map.

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Original by Masayoshi Hirose