During the same weekend we went to Soni Kogen in late November 2015, Josh and I took some friends to see the Kou-an glass tea house in Kyoto 京都市 at Shoren-in which sits on top of the Shogunzuka mound.
I thought instead of writing a long post about it, I'd just share these photos because I think they're pretty and show how gorgeous Kyoto is in the fall. If you're looking for a spot to look for autumn color in the Kansai area, Shoren-in 青蓮院 is a great choice. The Japanese gardens are peaceful, there's a great view of the city, and the tea house is an added bonus.
That same afternoon we had the taxi drop us off at Maruyama Parkまるやまこう. The sun was setting, but that didn't stop people from gathering around to enjoy the cooler temperatures and fire-hued trees.
If you're coming from the Yasaka Shrine 八坂神社 entrance to the park, make your way to the left and keep an eye out for the most beautiful gingko tree. I want to go back for a picnic under it next fall.
The Kou-an glass tea house was supposed to end in Spring 2016, but luckily for you it's been extended indefinitely. They're supposed to update their website 3 months before they decide to close the exhibition. When we went it was crowded, but I've heard bad weather keeps visitors away and the rain soaked pictures look minimal and a bit lonely. If you'd like more information on the temple itself here's the website. We took a taxi from Gion-Shijo Station 祇園四条駅 which was less than 2,000 yen, but that wasn't too bad between 4 people. I think you could get to Keage Station 蹴上駅 and take a taxi from there to make it cheaper. It was not easy to flag a taxi back down. When we arrived, the place had tons of taxis swarming around, but when we left we had to walk partway down to find one. Keep a phone number on hand for a taxi company in case you can't flag one down. I had heard it was not possible to hike the mountain, but I definitely saw a few hikers around. Entry to the temple was 500 yen. If you'd like to read more about the tea house here's an interview the Japan Times did with the artist Tokujin Yoshioka and here's a post I wrote last fall about things to do in Kansai during the autumn.