Want to enjoy Japan’s gorgeous autumn leaves without having to fight with crowds? Kozenji Temple offers the same beauty as any temple in Kyoto but without the Kyoto crowds. Located in central Nagano’s Komagane City, it’s far enough off the beaten track to avoid congestion, but close enough not to be out of the way.
Achala, the King of Eleven Faces, is the cheif deity of Kozenji and is enshrined within the main building and the 3-story pagoda (the only 3-story pagoda in the southern part of Nagano). Kozenji is known for its beautiful and expansive garden, for it’s gorgeous setting at the foot of the Chuo Alps, and of course for having explosively colorful autumn leaves.
Equally famous are Kozenji’s weeping shidare-sakura. They bloom an intense pink during the spring. Because of Kozenji’s elevation (it’s nearly 700m up), the sakura and the autumn leaves occur at different times than in other locations. Check with the office there to make sure you don’t miss the show. Happy travels!