Few things draw the Japanese masses as easily as nature viewing. I have written about this phenomenon in my article on moon viewing in September, and it is well known even outside of Japan that the Japanese are crazy about cherry blossoms in spring.

Now is another time of nature viewing – the time of koyo, viewing the autumn colours – not just any colours, but those of the maple. The momiji or Japanese maple has small, almost dainty leaves of about 4 cm length, which are induced – by a drop in temperature below a certain threshold – to turn from green to yellow to orange and finally to a blazing red. This change can occur quickly and it is a rather short lived beauty. Right now the red momiji are on their peak, and Kyoto is packed with (mainly Japanese) tourists who go around exclaiming kireii – pretty at every step and seem to take pictures of each individual leaf.

Well, when in Japan… here are a couple of my own pictures

maples in all coloursroofs in nanzen-ji templenear kurodani templeginkakujimaple leaves in yellow