If you truly want to enjoy the beauty of autumn, you must visit areas on the outskirts of the city. One such spot, just about an hour from central Tokyo, is Heirinji, a temple of the Rinzai sect.
Originally founded in the late 1300s, it was relocated and rebuilt in Niiza city of Saitama in 1603.
The temple is nestled in a vast wooded area: the forest is a designated Natural Monument while some of the buildings are Tangible Cultural Properties of Saitama.
Considering its beauty, the place is obviously flocked by photographers but since it is quite spread out, you have plenty of chances of getting that perfect shot. As soon as you enter, you are greeted by the overwhelmingly massive Sanmon (山門, gate), a symbol of Heirinji.
Close to this is also the bell tower and the Buddhist sanctum.
Beyond the main area, the temple grounds even have a momiji (maple) forest, a pond as well as a graveyard.
It takes about 50-90 minutes to see the entire temple. On the opposite side of the temple, there is also a teahouse.
You will also get a chance to see many dressed in kimono matching the autumn colors!
Check out the video of this gorgeous temple from November 2018:
Closest Station: Asakadai on the Tobu-Tojo Line or Niiza Station on JR (both have buses that take you to the temple)
Entry: 500 yen
Best time to visit: mid- to end of November
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