Luxury Autumn Leaves Tour of Japan
See Japan in its autumn glory with a luxury tour to Kyoto, Mount Koya and Osaka
Personalised journeys from start to finish
Save an acre of rainforest each time you travel
Every detail taken care of
- Completely private tours of Kyoto, Arashiyama, Mount Koya and Osaka
- Exclusive participation in Buddhist ceremony
- Luxury accommodation throughout
- Meet and greet airport service
- Full support from your Travel Concierge before, during and after your trip
- The best time to see autumn leaves is from mid-September to late November but please note that we cannot guarrantee autumn leaves sightings
At a glance
Each autumn, Japan is carpeted in hues of fiery red and gold as summer ends and the autumn leaves erupt on every tree. It’s very difficult to predict exactly when the autumn leaves will make their dramatic appearance in each city and just how long they will last for, but we’ll do our best to show you Japan’s autumn leaves on a luxury trip that takes in two of Japan’s most important cities and an ancient sacred mountain.
We begin our autumn leaves tour with four days in Kyoto, Japan’s imperial pearl, where we hope to see the spectacular sight of the city’s ancient palaces, traditional townhouses and ornate shrines augmented by vibrant autumn leaves. There’s time for a visit to the usually verdant Arashiyama which we anticipate will be coloured in autumnal reds and yellows.
Then it’s on to sacred Mount Koya, one of Japan‘s most revered ancient sites, for a monastery stay, a Buddhist ceremony and a tour of the famous Okunoin cemetery. Our final stop brings us to Osaka with a completely customised tour to take in the best of the city and its shades of autumn.
You’ll stay at luxury accommodation in each city with expert guides on hand and our insider recommendations to ensure that you get the most out of each destination.
Example Trip Itinerary
Private Transfer from Osaka Airport to your hotel in Kyoto
Accommodation in Kyoto
- 134 guest rooms and suites
- Four dining outlets
- Indoor pool
Exuding Japan’s simple elegance, the Ritz-Carlton combines luxury modern design with traditional Japanese zen accents. With 134 guest rooms, the Ritz-Carlton is Kyoto’s first urban luxury resort. Sitting on the banks Kamogawa river, the hotel boasts astounding views of the famous Higashiyama mountains. The hotel has four restaurants and you can take your pick from traditional Japanese dishes, Italian cuisine or go for the seafood private dining option. Enjoy brunch or sweet treats by the French patisserie Pierre Hermé Paris next to a cascading waterfall in the terrace, or retire to the library where a range of Japanese art and architecture books are available for you to thumb through at your leisure. Situated in close proximity to Kyoto’s popular downtown areas, retail and entertainment districts, this hotel will allow you to enjoy the rich culture of Japan’s ancient capital within modern luxury. Explore the Imperial Palace, Nijo Castle or the atmospheric dining of Pontocho, all of which will be on your doorstep.
- 25 guest rooms and suites
- Complimentary boat service
Sail along the banks of the Hozugawa River and tucked away in the hills of the Arashiyama district, you will find a series of traditional Japanese-inspired houses clinging to a mountainside, which make up the HOSHINOYA luxury hotel. Upon entering the hotel changed into slippers and silk robes and unwind in this retreat, which will make you feel miles away from the bustle of Kyoto. The 25 rooms at this exclusive resort infuses classic Japanese interiors with contemporary style, creating a tranquil, comfortable atmosphere. During your stay savour the creative multi-course Japanese kaiseki dinner, combining Japanese and foreign flavours for a totally unique culinary experience. Explore the local Arashiyama district and marvel at the famous cherry blossom or venture into Kyoto itself and discover the rich culture of this city. After a busy day treat yourself to a spa treatment at the hotel, relax in the gardens or visit the tea rooms. Unwind at the luxury, peaceful oasis.
- 189 guest rooms and suites
- Spa and fitness centre
- Three restaurants
- Pastry boutique
Located in the heart of Kyoto, the stylish Hyatt Regency offers spacious rooms and excellent hospitality. This hotel is perfect for those looking for a relaxed atmosphere whilst exploring the rich culture of Kyoto. Each of the elegant 189 guest rooms and suites are decorated in light neutral tones combining the aesthetics that Japan is famed for with the style and comfort of western living. During your stay marvel in the culinary excellence offered by the Hyatt, from authentic Italian cuisine to a French grill to flavourful Japanese dishes, there is something for everyone at this luxury hotel. Explore the wonders of Kyoto, with countless temples and shrines and other historical structures, marvel in this city’s fascinating culture. After a busy day of exploring why not visit the hotel’s spa for a relaxing massage or visit The Touzan Bar to taste the hotel’s boutique sake collection.
Spend your time in Kyoto admiring the impressive imperial beauty of the city, evident in the abundance of prewar buildings such as grand palaces, traditional "machiya" townhouses and ornate shrines, and augmented by stunning autumn foliage. See kimono-clad geisha on their way to engagements and stroll in the celebrated Ryoan-ji rock garden. Make sure you visit the magnificent wooden Kiyomizu-dera and the Golden and Silver Pavilion Temples. Your travel designer can help you to experience the city at its best with private guided tours and excursions.
Meet your guide early this morning at your hotel to start your exploration of Kyoto. We'll start at the Tofuku-ji temple which is one of Kyoto’s most attractive temples, especially when surrounded by autumn foliage. We then continue to the nearby Fushimi Inari Shrine which was founded in the 9th century in honour of the fox that farmers believe is the messenger of the harvest god. We then return towards Kyoto centre to visit the Sanjusangendo Hall. While you won't find much autumn foliage surrounding it, it's famed for its 1001 statues of Kannon the goddess mercy and its impressive demon guardians. Afterwards, we will continue to the nearby Kiyomizu-dera Temple, originally founded in 798. The magnificent views of the city from its main hall are especially impressive in the autumn and attract visitors throughout Japan. A nice and relaxing stroll will take you through the old neighbourhood of Sannenzaka which used to be the favoured route for pilgrims travelling to Kiyomizudera and is now lined with little shops and cafes. We'll then visit the Kodaiji Temple of the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism which was founded during the Momoyama-period by the wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the powerful general who unified Japan at the end of the 16th century. Enjoy lunch at your own account.
After lunch, take a break from temples with a visit to the Geisha district of Gion which is famed for the preservation of its traditional architecture and entertainment presented by graceful Geiko, “women of art.” During its golden age in the first half of 19th century, more than 3000 Geikos worked in some 700 teahouses in Gion. We'll also visit Nishiki market, a narrow shopping arcade that's only 400 meters in length featuring more than 100 vendors. A recommended shop to visit is “Aritsugu” which offers a variety of excellent kitchen tools. If time allows, we will make a final stop at Ginkakuji, the Silver Pavilion, which is splendid in Autumn. Ginkaku-ji has an area of around 25,000 square meters and is known for its luxuriant growth of moss and its garden is composed of two terraces. The upper terrace is arranged in the style of a dry garden that uses stones, sand and plants with no water, to represent a scenic view. We'll then return to the hotel where you can spend the rest of the evening at your leisure.
This morning your guide will meet you at your hotel and bring you to Kinkaku-ji the Golden Pavilion temple which was built in 1397 to serve as a retirement villa for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. From here we visit the serene Ryoan-ji temple and its celebrated rock garden which is comprised of nothing but clay walls, raked sand and 15 rocks.
Visit to Arashiyama, a lush district that provides a welcome break from the city’s hustle. Arashiyama features numerous interesting sites surrounded by nature and offers some stunning autumn vistas. We'll start at the unique and quiet Otagi-Nenbutsuji Temple to see its 1200 Rakan figures, carved by worshipers to pray for the prosperity of the temple which have been sculpted with much humour. Continue towards Okochi Sanso, a splendid mountain retreat that was once occupied by a silent screen actor with grounds at their best during autumn. From here, take a relaxing stroll around the bamboo forests, then come to Tenriu-ji Temple, a famous Zen Buddhist temple. We end our visit at the Togetsukyo Bridge, one Arashiyama's major landmarks and also known as “Moon Crossing Bridge”.
Private scenic transfer from your hotel to Mount Koya
Accommodation in Mount Koya
- Syojin Ryori Dinner Included
- Traditional Japanese Garden
The Eko-in Temple was founded by the monk Dosho a direct disciple of Kobodaishi, almost 1200 years ago. “Eko” originally means “Transference of Merit”, which is related to the “Karma” concept. Coming on a pilgrimage to Koya-san and staying at a Monastery is considered as an acquisition of merit for Buddhist followers. Rooms are traditional Tatami style, offering guests a authentic Japanese experience. Dinner is included in your stay and will be served early in the comfort of your room. Sample the delicious vegetarian cuisine created by monks, called “Shojin” and experience a very different aspect of Japanese society: the world of Buddhism. During your stay you will have the opportunity to enjoy the Buddhist practice of Shakyo, hand copying the Sutra.
Upon arrival in Koya, enjoy lunch (at your own account) and start your half-day excursion with a visit to Kongo Buji, the holiest Temple on Mount Koya and headquarters of the Shingon sect. The complex comprises administrative buildings, a religious university and a temple that's open to visitors. Built in 1593 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, it has been destroyed by fire and rebuilt several times. We then continue to the Garan where you will see some of the most important buildings in Koyasan and end your visit with a unique experience in the form of a “Jukai”, a formal and ancient Buddhist ceremony in which a Buddhist monk will guide you through the process of “taking refuge in the teaching of Buddha”. The setting is pitch-black - except a few flickering candles - and the ceremony will create a very spiritual atmosphere that will put you in the right frame of mind for your stay in Koya-san. After the ceremony, you will be brought to the Eko-in Temple to check-in. Your guide will assist you and explain the details of a stay at a Buddhist monastery.
Mount Koya is a sacred and tranquil spot that has been revered since ancient times. During your time here, you will stay in a buddhist monastery for a fully immersive experience. Speak to your Travel Designer to find out the best things to do and see here.
This morning, we will wake up early and take part in a morning Buddhist ceremony that is open to residents of the Temple in the richly decorated prayer hall. You'll find that the prayers and chanting are hypnotic and the ambience is spiritual. After the ceremony, you will be able to walk around the prayer hall and see funeral tablets as well as several Buddhist artefacts, usually not accessible to the public. This is a rare opportunity to glimpse the most sacred precincts of a Buddhist Temple. After the morning service, we will try and experience a “Goma” fire service, a traditional ceremony that is unique to Koya-san monasteries.
This morning, we will check out of the monastery and be transferred in a private vehicle to Okunoin where we'll enjoy a morning stroll in the largest cemetery of Japan. Your guide will explain the meaning of statues and funerary stalls along the way to the Mausoleum of Kobodaishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism. Upon arrival at the mausoleum, we'll bear witness to the daily ritual ceremony in which monks bring meals twice daily to the cave where Kobodaishi is said to be meditating for 1200 years. If time allows, we will visit the Daimon and Reihokan Museum. We'll then return to the centre of town and enjoy an early lunch.
Private transfer to Osaka
Accommodation in Osaka
- 292 guest rooms and suites
- Four restaurants
- Fitness centre with indoor pool
In the heart of a city full of eclecticism, where traditional temples meet the ultra-modern cityscape, you will find the perfectly placed Ritz-Carlton. Living up to its name, this hotel is a place of utter opulence, making your experience unforgettable in this wonderful city. A place of elegance and serenity amidst the bustle of the city, the 292 guest rooms and suites exude high-end luxuriousness, from the spaciousness of the suites to the marble bathrooms, experience the old-world charm that Ritz-Carlton is famous for. Dine on a selection of delectable cuisines during your stay from Cantonese, Japanese to Italian, but make sure not to miss out on Michelin starred French culinary delights at La Baie. Explore the centuries of heritage that await you in this cultural capital, explore the city’s castle, taste the phenomenal street food in the Kansai district and discover the local boutiques. After a busy day, retire to the Ritz and have a relaxing massage in the spa, or treat yourself to a signature cocktail in the bar.
- 160 guest rooms
- 2 restaurants
- Fitness centre
Set upon the grand avenue of the famed Midosuji, the St. Regis is a place of ornate serenity. Combining western decor with hints of Japanese influence, enjoy the tranquility of this luxury hotel, surrounded by the bustle of this diverse city. Taking inspiration from the refined Japanese aesthetic, the 160 guest rooms and suites offer an eloquent expression of comfort and elegance, combining rich neutrals with jewel tones to combine the luxury style of the St. Regis brand with the local culture. During your stay you will be able taste the wonderful cuisine on offer at the hotel. Dine in La Veduta to taste the sumptuous dishes of Northern Italy or head of Rue D’Or for the distinctive favours of France. Explore the wonderful city of Osaka, with many of the sights right on your doorstep at this wonderfully located hotel. Visit the stunning Osaka castle or the fascinating array of museums close by. Find Osaka’s most exclusive shopping just a stones throw away and taste the distinctive local cuisine. Make sure to try the hotel’s signature Bloody Mary, first created in 1934 at the original St. Regis in New York, an unmissable part of the St. Regis experience.
Spend your time in Osaka admiring the beauty of the city in Autumn. Depending on your interest, your guide can recommend the most enjoyable options for visits and experiences.
Meet your private guide in your hotel lobby after breakfast and checking out. You'll then be brought on a tour of Osaka in its autumn beauty that's been tailored to your interests.
Private transfer from your hotel to Osaka Kansai Airport
Get in Touch
Luxury Autumn Leaves Tour of Japan
How We Work
We create fully personalised trips from start to finish, working with you to pick locations, accommodation and guides that suit you.
Each time you travel with us, you preserve an acre of precious rainforest through our partnerships.
From in-depth private tours to restaurant reservations, we take care of every detail so you can make the most of your journey.