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Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

Autumn leaves in Japan are almost as popular as the cherry blossom season. Kōyō is the Japanese word for autumn leaves. Kōyō and momiji (maple leaves) use the same kanji and has been that way since the Heian Period. It is a time when all the mountains, rivers, countryside, temples, shrines, parks, gardens and areas around famous structures are surrounded with fall foliage. Searching for autumn leaves has been a custom of Japan since the 8th century when it was mentioned in the compilation of Manyoshu poetry. The activity was even mentioned in the famed “The Tale of Genji,” as a scene of hunting for gorgeous autumn colors. Even a large part of the Kokin Wakashu poetry collection is centered on the autumn leaves. There are many maple trees, Japanese Rowan, Japanese larch, Ginkgo, beech, birch, and many others that change colors during this time. The autumn foliage starts appearing as early as September.

photo of Autumn leaves in Japan

photo of Chusonji Temple

Tohoku | Iwate | Hiraizumi

Chusonji Temple

Chusonji is a Buddhist temple located in Hiraizumi and is one of the most important structures related to Buddhism in Japan.

photo of Geibikei Gorge

Tohoku | Iwate | Hiraizumi

Geibikei Gorge

Geibikei Gorge is located to the west of Ichinoseki and is one of the 100 best landscapes of Japan.

photo of Oirase Mountain Stream

Tohoku | Aomori | Towada

Oirase Mountain Stream

The Oirase Mountain Stream is the only outflow of water for Lake Towada and is one of the best places to see autumn colors.

photo of Lake Towada

Tohoku | Aomori | Towada

Lake Towada

The largest caldera lake in Honshu; located on the borders of Aomori and Akita prefectures.

photo of Ginga & Ryusei Waterfalls

Hokkaido | Sounkyo

Ginga & Ryusei Waterfalls

Waterfalls located in the Sounkyo Gorge and are in the top 100 waterfalls in Japan list.

photo of Irohazaka Winding Road

Kanto | Tochigi | Nikko

Irohazaka Winding Road

Irohazaka Winding Road has 48 hairpin turns, which goes through the mountainous region of Okunikko and ends at Nikko.

photo of Kiyomizu Temple

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Kiyomizu Temple

Kiyomizudera is one of the most famous temples in Kyoto and is most known for the wooden stage that is 13 meters tall.

photo of Tenryuji Temple

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Tenryuji Temple

Tenryuji Temple is one of the most important temples in the Arashiyama District and has a garden that has been around for centuries.

photo of Tenryu-kyo Valley / Tenryu-gawa River Rafting

Chubu | Nagano | Ina

Tenryu-kyo Valley / Tenryu-gawa River Rafting

The Tenryu Valley, situated on the southern tip of Ina Basin in Nagano, is a valley created by the erosion of rocks located in the Ina area over the years.

photo of Lake Ashi

Kanto | Kanagawa | Hakone

Lake Ashi

Lake Ashi is a caldera lake that was formed 3000 years ago from the last volcanic eruption of Mount Hakone.

photo of Kegon Waterfall

Kanto | Tochigi | Nikko

Kegon Waterfall

Kegon Waterfall is listed as one of the three most beautiful falls in Japan along with Nachi Waterfall in Wakayama Prefecture and Fukuroda Waterfall in Ibaraki Prefecture.

photo of Sagano Scenic Railway

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Sagano Scenic Railway

The Sagano Scenic Railway is a sightseeing train route that winds through mountains and utilizes old fashioned trains.

photo of Lake Chuzenji

Kanto | Tochigi | Nikko

Lake Chuzenji

Lake Chuzenji is located in the mountains near Nikko at the foot of Mount Nantai and is beautiful around the autumn season.

photo of Arashiyama

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City


Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of the most popular photo spots in Kyoto along with Kinkakuji and Fushimi Inari Shrine.

photo of Shin-Hotaka Ropeway

Chubu | Gifu | Okuhida

Shin-Hotaka Ropeway

The Shin Hotaka Ropeway has one of the largest elevation gains and features double decker gondola cars.

photo of Korankei

Chubu | Aichi | Nagoya


Korankei is located in Aichi prefecture and is a popular location for viewing autumn leaves in Nagoya.

photo of Shisendo Temple

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Shisendo Temple

Shisendo Temple was a mountain hermitage built by Ishikawa Jozan, a scholar, landscape architect, and soldier.

photo of Ritsurin Koen Park

Shikoku | Kagawa | Takamatsu

Ritsurin Koen Park

A 3 star Michelin Green Guide rated traditional garden of Takamatsu, often closely referred to as one of the most beautiful gardens of Japan.

photo of Kazurabashi Bridge

Shikoku | Tokushima | Iya Valley

Kazurabashi Bridge

One of the oldest bridges in Japan built in the Iya Valley of Shikoku Island.