Across from where Nobunagas Azuchi Castle once stood I climbed the mountain on my way to Kannonji, the penultimate temple of the pilgrimage. Halfway up the mountain was Kuwanomidera, a little known but ancient temple that was a real deight not only for its fall colors but also for the statuary.
On top of the mountain was the ruins of a small castle from the warring-states period, then a short way down the other side Kanninji itself, where the Buddha himself was enjoying the Fall colors.
Jizo seemed also to be enjoying it.
The real surprise of the day, and perhaps the whole trip, was Kyorinbo, a small sub-temple located below Kannonji. In terms of Autumn display it rivals anything Kyoto has to offer. The thatched roof covered in maple leaves was particularly stunning.
I was disappointed that I would not be able to make it here for the night time illumination, but the final temple of the pilgrimage beckoned and so I headed off in the sunshine north along the Nakasendo.