Autumn Foliage at Saimyoji Temple – Enjoy over a 1000 Japanese Maples in Shiga


Saimyoji temple autumn foliage is selected as “Japan’s 31st most beautiful place in Japan” on the CNN website! You will see colorful autumn leaves with Japanese temples and shrines in the area. Around 1000 of Momiji (もみじ/Japanese maple tree) will show you a beautiful autumn scene. There are more than 350 years old Momiji trees as well. At the same time, you can see cherry blossoms – Fudan Zakura which blossom in the autumn season! The garden is one of the national scenic spots. You can enjoy all day at this place!

What is Kouyo?

Kouyou means autumn leaves. In kanji characters, 紅means red and葉means leaves. You can read it as Kouyou or Momiji which means Japanese maples. In Japan, you can see lots of different types of trees. Therefore, you can see the different colors of leaves in the autumn season, and it is breathtaking! Japanese people have appreciated the beauty of autumn foliage since ancient times. In autumn, many Japanese people go to various parks and temples to see the autumn foliage. This is called Momijigari which means “autumn leaves peeking”.

About Saimyouji Temple

Saimyouji temple stands on the Mt. Koto Sanzan (湖東三山) in Shiga prefecture. It was founded in 834 (during Heian period). Shogun Minamotono Yoritomo visited this temple to pray for winning. Hondou (本堂/main temple) and Sanjunotou (三重塔/castle) are both national treasures of Japan. Both are built in Japanese style (no nails used) of the Kamakura Period. Hondou is known as the first Japanese national treasure. There are more buildings here which are designated as national important properties. At Mt. Koto Sanzan, you can also visit these temples: Kongourinji (金剛輪寺) and Hyakusaiji (百済寺). If you plan to visit these 3 temples, you will need a car to move around the mountains. It will be nice driving under the autumn leaves!

Why Cherry Blossoms in Autumn?

Nature in Japan is picturesque. Cherry blossoms season is in spring, and it is the most popular time to do sightseeing in Japan. However, in autumn, you can do Momijigari under the colorful maple leaves. Imagine, if you can see both at the same time… Saimyoji temple is the place where can make your dream comes true! Fudan zakura is a type of cherry blossom tree that blooms in the end of October to early April. It is known as a natural monument of Shiga prefecture.

Try Local Delicacies Abikoya traditional Japanese food

Looks good, tastes good! About 80 years old traditional Japanese restaurant. You should make a reservation if you plan to go there the day before because it is very popular!
Address: 369-4 Abiko, Aishō-chō, Echi-gun, Shiga-ken
Tel: 050-5592-5482
Open: 11:30~14:00(L.O.13:30). 17:30~22:00(L.O.21:30)
– Itokirimochi Souhonke Tagaya (糸切餅総本家多賀や) Japanese sweets
Anko (あんこsweet beans) covered with mochi (もちrice cake). It is a specialty of Shiga. If you have time, you can visit Tagataisha shrine (多賀大社) and this shop is just in front of this shrine. It is only 50 Yen for one Itokirimochi. Better to try!
Address: 601 Taga, Taga-chō, Inukami-gun, Shiga-ken
Tel: 0749-48-1430
Open: 8:00-17:00

Details and Access

Best season: November
Place: Saimyoji temple
Address: 26 Ikedera, Kōra-chō, Inukami-gun, Shiga-ken
Fees: adult (over 15) – 600 Yen, middle school student (12 -15) – 300 Yen, elementary school students (7 – 12) – 200 Yen, parking is free
Open: 8:00 – 16:30
Official homepage of the temple (Japanese only):


【Train】20mins drive from JR Kawase (河瀬) station and JR Hikone (彦根) station (There is a 300 Yen shuttle bus from Hikone station on the season. You can call 0749-22-1210 (湖国バス/kokoku bus) to check.) 30 mins drive from Shinkansen Maibara (米原) station.
【Car】20mins from Meishin highway Hikone IC / 5mins from Meishin highway Kotosanzan smart IC

Closing Remarks

There are many places where you can see the autumn leaves in Japan. But only at a few places, you can see autumn leaves with cherry blossoms and temples! I am sure that Saimyoji temple in fall will leave a special memory for you.


If you want to know more about Kouyou in Shiga prefecture, find out new places, know more about the history of the area, local guides are here to help. Please check the banner below!

For those who wants to enjoy Autumn leaves…

You probably know that autumn with its colorful leaves scenes is as popular emong tourists and locals as spring with its cherry blossoms. Momiji or enjoying autumn leaves is an indispendable part of Japanese culture. I hope this article raised your interest in Japanese autumn. And the following one picked top 12 best places and events to enjoy colorful autumn leaves!
Check it out! URL:

If you are interested in other festivals in Japan please check this below!

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A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel themselves a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!


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Japan is a country of festivals indeed. Matsuri is an essential part of traditional Japanese culture. Thus, every day somewhere in Japan a festival takes place. There are traditional and modern festivals, on the sea and on the ground, in summer and winter. Japanese are hardworking people. However, when you attend at least one festival in Japan, you will understand how locals like to party. The article under the link below will introduce you to a celebration on any day of the year. I am sure you will find an event that suits your interests utmost!


I was born and raised in Japan, Aichi prefecture. I went to high school in Australia as an exchange student and now I have many foreigner friends in Japan! I hope everyone who visits Japan enjoy our interesting Matsuri culture.

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