Deep reds, striking golds, and intense oranges found in nature's surroundings mark the beautiful autumn season in Japan. The colorful leaves (koyo) draw large numbers of travelers to Japan annually.
The viewing of autumn foliage (koyo) in Japan has gained world-wide attention from travelers all over the globe. This popular activity is comparable to the viewing of cherry blossoms in the spring time. The best koyo spots can be found in prominent cities to mountainous regions. Autumn colors begin to reveal itself in mid-September in northern parts of Japan. It moves towards central and southern regions around the end of November. Some trees even keep its vivid colors until December.
Autumn foliage (koyo) makes its appearance in Japan in the north first, beginning in mid-September. Colorful leaves then travel towards central and southern regions near the end of November. Beautiful autumn colors along with pleasantly cool weather make it an excellent time to visit Japan. Autumn also marks the time of harvest, and a variety of Japanese autumn festivals are held throughout the country. Experience nature in Japan surrounded by scarlet maple trees and golden ginkgo trees.
When is the best time to see Autumn Leaves in Japan?
Koyo can be seen throughout Japan for a period of 3 months. Because autumn colors appear at different times in different parts of Japan, there are specific dates and months to follow in order see koyo at its peak season. Depending on the location of where you wish to enjoy the scenery of autumn leaves, it is recommended to look at autumn forecasts of the region you are traveling to.
|Hokkaido||Late September - Mid-October|
|Tohoku||Early October - Early November|
|Kanto||Early October - Early December|
|Chubu||Early October - Early December|
|Kansai||Early November - Early December|
|Chugoku||Late October - Mid November|
|Shikoku||Mid November - Late November|
|Kyushu||Mid October - Late November|
Note: Due to fluctuating temperatures and weather conditions, the peak of autumn leaves can vary by a few days to a couple weeks.
The picture-perfect autumn colors of Japan are of great thanks to the illustrious Japanese Maple trees. The Japanese Maple tree is strongly associated with classic works of poetry and artwork, and is also viewed as a symbol of elegance. Its small, fingerlike leaves are distinguished for its rich red color, but also display shades of purple, orange, and yellow too. The turning of its colors is a highly anticipated event among Japanese people and from travelers abroad. They are commonly referred as "momiji", which means "become crimson leaves" and "baby's hands" in Japanese. The Japanese Maple tree is so celebrated in Japanese culture, there are even deep-fried maple leaf snacks found in Osaka, a special and tasty delicacy. Famous viewing spots of the stunning red leaves are found at temples and Japanese gardens, particularly in Kyoto, but can be admired at a variety of parks and streets as well.
#1 Oirase Mountain Stream (Aomori)
The Oirase Stream is a popular autumn leaves destination because of its lush atmosphere and picturesque trails. Here you can discover dozens of waterfalls, untouched forestation, and magnificent autumn colors along the mountain stream. You can enjoy the rich colors typically during late October through late November. It is the only outlet from Lake Towada, and features a number of easy walking trails with many bridges and bus stops along the way.
Tours including Oirase Mountain Stream
#2 Hiraizumi (Iwate)
The city of Hiraizumi once thrived with political power and cultural sophistication during the Heian Period (710 - 1185) before the fall of the Fujiwara clan. Today it holds historic treasures and is even ranked as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its most famous attraction is the Chusonji Temple, featuring a hall covered entirely with gold. The peaceful grounds are an exceptional resting spot to take in natural beauty and autumn colors in the surrounding scenery.
Tours including Hiraizumi
#3 Matsushima (Miyagi)
Matushima is ranked as another one of Japan's three most scenic views. Here you can enjoy sightseeing to the picturesque bay of small islands. Matsuhima is also well-known for its Zuiganji Temple. At night, the temple grounds feature a "light up" attraction of its stunning trees encompassed in autumn colors. You can also find more koyo beauty at the nearby Godaido Hall, a symbol of Matushima. The city itself offers an abundance of natural beauty, especially during autumn.
Tours including Matsushima
#4 Nikko (Tochigi)
Nikko is a small town famous for Toshogu, the tomb of Tokugawa Ieyasu and Japan's most lavishly decorated shrine. You can also find the Rinnoji Temple and the Futarasan Shrine, both founded by the Buddhist monk who introduced Buddhism to Nikko. Don't miss out on the 100 meter tall Kegon Waterfall during your trip to Nikko, ranked as one of the three most beautiful waterfalls in Japan. Finally, visit Lake Chuzenji, which is particularly beautiful in the autumn season.
Tours including Nikko
#5 Hakone (Kanagawa)
Visit Hakone during the autumn season for spectacular views of Mt. Fuji and Lake Ashi. The town is one of the most popular destinations to visit from both Japanese people and foreigners. Here you can find a large number of hot springs and natural beauty. Travelers can also enjoy sights of sulphuric steam from an active volcano zone during a ride along the Hakone Ropeway. Hakone's natural surroundings offer many opportunities to admire autumn leaves.
Tours including Hakone
#6 Shirakawago (Gifu)
Shirakawago is a small village distinguished for their traditional gassho-zukuri styled buildings. Gassho-zukuri refers to "built like hands in prayer", where the farmhouses' roofs resemble two hands praying. Shirakawago has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, featuring some farmhouses as old as 250 years. Due to its remote location in the mountains, its lush and natural surroundings allow beautiful sights of scarlet leaves.
Tours including Shirakawago
#7 Kiyomizu Temple (Kyoto)
First founded in 778, the Kiyomizu Temple is one of the most widely celebrated temples in Japan. It was built without the use of nails, and is most recognized for its huge wooden stage that protrudes from the main hall and overlooks a hillside. The stage grants visitors lovely views of maple trees and other natural scenery. Here you can stop by the Jishu Shrine and the Otowa Waterfall. At night, the temple also holds special autumn leaf illuminations.
Tours including Kiyomizu Temple
#8 Arashiyama (Kyoto)
One of the best ways to enjoy Japan's autumn colors is in Arashiyama. It is particuarly popular during both the autumn and spring seasons because of its natural atmospheric settings. Enjoy sights of beautiful landscapes from the Togetsukyo Bridge, Arashiyama's central landmark. Nearby, travel to the large and impressive Tenryuji Temple. Tour through Arashiyama's bamboo groves, a pleasant walk through a bamboo stalk forest.
Tours including Arashiyama
#9 Miyajima Island (Hiroshima)
Miyajima Island is an excellent way to indulge in Japanese culture with incredible views of natural scenery. The island is home to the Itsukushima Shrine, which is widely recognized for its famous "floating" torii gate. The giant, red torii gate is built over water and gives the impression of it floating during high tide. This photogenic sight has been ranked as one of Japan's three best views. Miyajima Island even has wandering deer, which are accustomed to tourists of course.
Tours including Miyajima Island
#10 Takachiho Gorge (Kyushu)
Takachiho Gorge is a narrow chasm featuring sheer cliffs and a 17 meter high waterfall. Its stone formations within the cliffs are even compared to the resemblance of dragon scales. The gorge's dense foliage turns into hues of red and orange during the autumn leaf season, granting a marvelous backdrop of the waterfall during your tour. The Takachiho Gorge allows two perspectives to enjoy its beauty, by either a pleasant walking trail or a boat ride along its calm rivers.
Tours including Takachiho Gorge
Interested in visiting Japan during its stunning autumn season? Our Autumn Leaves Tours take you to all the top attractions and places to enjoy Japan's marvelous autumn colors. Tour highlights include visiting Matushima, Nikko, Hakone, Shirakawago, Arashiyama, Miyajima Island, and many more destinations. We offer a variety of tour packages to suit your schedule and interests. Enjoy a fascinating and picture-worthy trip to Japan during the pleasantly cool autumn season. Visit Japan's most celebrated temples and experience the best autumn festivals on one of our Autumn Leaves Tours.
Our Autumn Leaves Tours showcase the best spots to enjoy the richly-colored autumn foliage that surround Japan. Take in the incredible beauty of the autumn colors in addition to the must-see sites of Japan.
Group Tour | Ultra-Deluxe Book Now & Save $300
Group Tour | Ultra-Deluxe Book Now & Save $300
8 Days 7 Nights | from US $11998.00
8 Days 7 Nights | from US $11998.00
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