20 Best Spots for Autumn in Japan (Fall Foliage Viewing)

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A visit to Japan has nearly all the time been synonymous with iconic sights of sakura or cherry blossoms; in any case, hanami or cherry blossom viewing is a should for vacationers visiting in April. However… there’s one thing to be mentioned about autumn in Japan, particularly with its spectacular fall foliage!

First issues first, be aware of the interval from mid-September or October till December as a result of it’s famously generally known as koyo season — it’s the time when the climate is cooler and vibrant autumn foliage begins to disclose itself. From the deep pink Japanese maple leaves to the distinctive kusamomiji or pink autumn grass, there are tons of gorgeous spots that you could try.

Just take observe that the majority of those locations (particularly temples) shall be full of individuals, however don’t let that truth cease you from taking the journey. Besides, come nighttime, among the places will typically illuminate the autumn timber for a panoramic foliage view.

As of 2023, beneath is the foliage forecast map for Japan:

Source: Japan Meteorological Corporation

Autumn in Japan: Top Spots

» North of Tokyo

Daisetsuzan National Park

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Daisetsuzan National Park, positioned in Hokkaido, is an enormous expanse of pristine wilderness that stands because the nation’s largest nationwide park at 2,267.64 sq. kilometers. Known for its dramatic landscapes, it options rugged mountain ranges, serene plateaus, and vibrant alpine forests, showcasing Japan’s unspoiled magnificence that’s nice for sightseeing — if not mountaineering!

In autumn, Daisetsuzan transforms right into a mesmerizing tapestry of fiery reds, sensible oranges, and golden yellows. Not to say, it’s a hotspot for leaf-peepers and nature fanatics, because the koyo, or autumn colours, begin to seem earlier right here than wherever else in Japan.

TIP: Don’t neglect to drop by the Mikuni Pass (seen within the picture above).

  • Address: Sounkyo, Kamikawa, Kamikawa District

Hitachi Side Park

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This spot is an emblem of autumn in Japan, notably within the autumn months! Miharashi Hill particularly turns into a surreal dream throughout this season, with its undulating panorama swathed within the deep reds of Kochia vegetation (often in full bloom in October).

This crimson blanket creates a stark but mesmerizing distinction to the park’s azure skies, inviting pictures fanatics and nature lovers alike. Beyond this, the park unravels additional magnificence by way of its myriad gardens teeming with vibrant tulips and calming hues of lavender. While Hitachi Seaside Park is famend for its huge fields of Baby Blue Eyes, many guests are pleasantly stunned to find that the park provides an array of different floral spectacles, every including a novel contact to its breathtaking panorama.

  • Address: 605-4 Mawatari Onuma, Hitachinaka

Irohazaka Route

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This scenic winding path is actually the embodiment of nature’s grandeur, notably in the course of the autumn months! With every flip and twist, the street reveals panoramic vistas of cascading hills drenched in a spectrum of fiery reds, radiant oranges, and golden yellows.

Recognized by many as essentially the most thrilling street to traverse in autumn, it doesn’t simply supply a journey from one level to a different however a voyage by way of nature’s beautiful autumnal show. It helps to notice that the downslope (1st Irohazaka), which has 28 curves, features a cease to see two waterfalls; whereas the upslope (2nd Irohazaka), which has 20 curves, has the Akechidaira Plateau on the high that may give you spectacular views of the valley.

TIP: During autumn, the inflow of holiday makers can lengthen a typical 20-minute drive by way of Irohazaka Route to three to 4 hours! For a smoother expertise, contemplate reserving a tour on a weekday.

  • Address: Hosoomachi, Nikko, 321-1445

Towada Lake

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Nestled within the serene confines of Aomori prefecture lies Towada Lake, the grandest crater lake in mainland Japan which is a superb place to go to for autumn in Japan.

As autumn units in, the lake transforms right into a canvas painted with sensible hues of crimson, gold, and orange. Here, you’ll be able to embark on a scenic cruise, letting the light waves information you alongside shores adorned with beech and maple timber. But for many who are adventurous at coronary heart, tread the paths alongside the Oirase Stream, the place the colourful fall colours play backdrop to the stream’s fierce rapids and cascading waterfalls, making a mesmerizing mix of tranquility and uncooked nature.

  • Address: 034-0301 Aomori-ken, Towada-shi

Naruko Gorge

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Reaching its vibrant peak from mid-October to early November, this iconic gorge comes alive as hues of gold, amber, and crimson drape its slopes.

However, because of the influence of the 2011 earthquake, your complete gorge strolling path isn’t accessible. Still, guests can seize the gorge’s essence from the remainder home, providing iconic views of the bridge and surrounding magnificence — plus, a partial part of the path stays open for exploration. Once you’ve soaked within the vistas, unwind in close by areas like Naruko Onsen, Higashi-Naruko, or Onikobe, every boasting distinctive onsen scorching springs.

  • Address: Narukoonsen, Ōsaki, Miyagi 989-6100

» In & Around Tokyo

Hamarikyu Gardens

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Hamarikyu Garden, a tranquil oasis amidst Tokyo’s bustling cityscape, provides a fascinating autumnal retreat for nearly anybody!

As the season progresses, the backyard’s foliage dons a palette of vibrant reds, oranges, and gold, making it an excellent vacation spot for these in search of nature’s resplendent show within the coronary heart of the metropolis. But the magic doesn’t finish at sundown. As night descends, the timber are bathed in a delicate, ethereal glow, as illuminations solid their gentle upon the leaves, remodeling the backyard right into a luminous dreamscape. This mix of pure magnificence and suave lighting creates an ambiance of serene magnificence, making Hamarikyu Garden a must-visit throughout Tokyo’s autumn nights.

  • Nearest Metro: Hama-Rikyū (Hama-rikyu Garden) Station
  • Address:  1-1 Hamarikyuteien, Chuo City, Tokyo

Kajika Bridge

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Kajika Bridge, gracefully arching over the waters of Ikaho Onsen, turns into a magical pathway throughout autumn in Japan. As you stroll throughout, let the colourful canvas of russet and amber leaves envelop you within the season’s embrace.

And after all, the encompassing onsen city, with its wealthy historical past, provides not simply scenic magnificence but in addition partaking actions. Delight in fruit-picking, savoring the contemporary flavors of the season, or embark on a mountaineering path, permitting nature to information your journey. For these in search of a chicken’s-eye view of Gunma’s fall splendor, the Ikaho ropeway awaits, whisking you to vantage factors the place your complete valley is painted in wealthy hues.

  • Address: 590 Ikahomachi Ikaho, Shibukawa, Gunma

Lake Kawaguchi of Fuji Five Lakes

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As essentially the most famend of the Fuji Five Lakes, it provides beautiful panoramic views the place the snow-capped peak of Mt. Fuji enhances the fiery hues of fall foliage. The annual Autumn Leaf Festival is a spectacle to not be missed; because the solar units, the timber are illuminated, enhancing the colourful reds, oranges, and yellows.

A spotlight of the area is the Maple Corridor – a picturesque path lined with brilliantly-colored maple timber that appear to set the place ablaze with their splendor. For these in search of that picture-perfect shot, you’ll be able to attain this visible deal with by hopping onto the Kawaguchiko Sightseeing Bus (Red line) and alight on the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum bus cease.

The prime time to expertise this vibrant show is between early to mid-November. To keep away from the crowds, contemplate an early morning go to and even higher, an in a single day keep, guaranteeing each serene morning views and a glimpse of Mt. Fuji in its full glory.

Meiji Jingu Gaien

Hamarikyu Gardens

Nestled a stone’s throw away from Meiji Shrine, Meiji Jingu Gaien, or the Outer Garden, stands as a testomony to nature’s grandeur within the coronary heart of Tokyo. The avenue, adorned with towering ginkgo timber, transforms right into a golden hall throughout autumn, making it a high contender for one of the best fall foliage spots in Japan.

Now, one of many issues it’s best to NOT miss out on whereas there’s the annual Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Festival. Celebrated since 1997, guests not solely get to immerse themselves within the mesmerizing hues of the leaves but in addition revel within the vibrant ambiance dropped at life by road performers and an array of meals cubicles. (Usually occurs from mid November to early December).

  • Nearest Metro: Sendagaya Station
  • Address: 1-1 Kasumigaokamachi, Shinjuku City, Tokyo, Tokyo

Mount Nasu

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Mount Nasu, sometimes called Mount Chausu, stands majestically as one of many area’s outstanding lively volcanoes. To begin off your autumn in Japan expertise on an excellent observe, embark on a memorable journey on the Nasu Ropeway, main you as much as the mountain’s Ninth Station – a big level on the mountaineering path.

For these contemplating a guided expertise, there’s a tour that not solely provides transportation to Mt. Nasu but in addition treats contributors to a buffet lunch and an entrancing go to to the famend Ashikaga Flower Park — and this park dazzles guests with its beautiful evening illuminations and vibrant flower reveals!

Rikugien Garden

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To actually recognize Rikugien’s magnificence, allocate an unhurried afternoon autumn in Japan to meander by way of its scenic trails, punctuating your journey with tranquil moments at its conventional teahouses.

Highlights embody the serene ambiance close to the Tsutsuji no Chaya teahouse stream, the picturesque attraction across the Togetsukyo Bridge, and the panoramic vistas from the Fujishirotoge viewpoint. The backyard’s autumnal splendor often reaches its greatest from late November to early December, so take observe!

  • Nearest Metro: Komagome Station
  • Address: 6 Chome-16-3 Honkomagome, Bunkyo City, Tokyo

Shinjuku Gyoen

Hamarikyu Gardens

The park boasts 3 signature gardens, every providing a novel autumn in Japan expertise,

The Japanese Garden dazzles with its fiery pink maple cover, portray a serene image paying homage to conventional landscapes. In distinction, the British Garden is a sea of golden splendor, due to its ginkgo timber that shimmer within the gentle. But autumn isn’t nearly fiery hues; the French Garden surprises with late-blooming roses, including a contact of romance to the autumn palette.

To actually seize the essence of Shinjuku Gyoen, traversing by way of all three gardens is a should. So plan your go to between mid-October and mid-December to bask within the backyard’s full autumnal glory!

  • Nearest Metro: Shinjuku-sanchome Station
  • Address: 1-1 Kasumigaokamachi, Shinjuku City, Tokyo, Tokyo

Ueno Park

Hamarikyu Gardens

Autumn in Japan’s Ueno is not only a visible deal with; it’s an expertise. Besides marveling on the fall foliage, guests can discover the a number of museums housed throughout the park, together with the Tokyo National Museum and the Ueno Royal Museum.

The park’s serene Shinobazu Pond additionally provides paddle boating amidst the lotus vegetation, and the Ueno Zoo gives a pleasant encounter with numerous wildlife. As the solar units, contemplate having fun with a leisurely boat experience or just sitting by the water, taking within the reflection of the colourful leaves.

  • Nearest Metro: Yushima Station
  • Address: Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo

» South of Tokyo

Eikando Zenrinji Temple

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This serene temple, with its stunning pond backyard and timeless structure, mirrors the essence of Japan’s conventional magnificence towards the colourful backdrop of autumn leaves. But the magic doesn’t finish with sundown.

As night descends, the temple grounds are illuminated, casting the timber, pond, and constructions in an ethereal glow, turning the panorama right into a dreamy world straight out of a portray. This nightly illumination is an expertise in itself, because the shimmering reflections and shadows create a mystical ambiance.

  • Address: 15 Chome-778 Honmachi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto

Houkyou-in Temple

Houkyo-In, a hidden gem within the cultural coronary heart of Kyoto, provides a serene escape, particularly in the course of the autumn months.

As the extra common spots in Kyoto buzz with vacationers, Houkyo-In stays a tranquil oasis, the place the altering leaves might be admired in relative solitude. The temple grounds come alive with a burst of reds, oranges, and yellows, every leaf narrating its personal story of time.

  • Address: Saga-shakado-monzen-minamichuin-cho 9 Kyoto Ukyo-ku, Kyoto

Korankei Valley

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With the serene Tomoe River reflecting the colourful cover, maple timber numbering within the hundreds, flank the riverbanks and mountainsides, making a charming backdrop to this picturesque gorge.

Visitors also can take pleasure in a myriad of actions right here! Embark on a tranquil boat experience alongside the Tomoe River, immersing your self within the surrounding magnificence. Wander alongside well-trodden paths, crossing the enduring pink Taigetsukyo Bridge, which provides among the best panoramic views of the valley. And as night approaches, the illuminations solid a magical glow on the timber, creating an ethereal ambiance.

  • Address: Iimori Asukecho, Toyota, Aichi

Minoo Park & Falls

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Tucked away from the bustling cityscape of Osaka, Minoo Park provides a serene escape and is refreshingly uncrowded.

An autumn go to reveals a canvas of vibrant hues, with crimson and gold leaves making a mesmerizing backdrop. Not to say, the centerpiece of this pure haven is the Minoo Falls, cascading gracefully and complementing the season’s magnificence. As you wander the park’s trails, don’t miss out on the distinctive culinary delight it provides: the momiji tempura. These battered and deep-fried maple leaves present a crunchy style of autumn, making your go to to Minoo Park a deal with for each the eyes and palate!

  • Address: 1-18 Minookoen, Minoh, Osaka 

Nara Park

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As autumn descends, this well-known park is drenched in a riot of reds, oranges, and yellows, providing a picturesque backdrop to the tons of of docile deer that roam freely. These iconic residents, revered and guarded, are all the time looking forward to a biscuit and would possibly even bow in gratitude!

Amidst this autumnal splendor, the majestic Todai-ji Temple stands tall, offering a serene setting that contrasts with the playful deers. For a postcard-perfect shot, place your self throughout the shimmering Daibutsu-Ike Pond, capturing the temple, fall foliage, and maybe a deer or two in a single body.

Sagano Romantic Train

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Embark on a picturesque 25-minute journey across the Arashiyama district aboard the Sagano Romantic Train for one of the best autumn in Japan expertise!

As you traverse landscapes awash in vibrant autumn hues, it’s clear why this route is a favourite, notably amongst romantics. Experience the district’s full splendor by reserving a tour now. Besides, past the prepare experience, you’ll be able to get pleasure from ample time to wander the enduring Togetsu Bridge and the mesmerizing Arashiyama bamboo forest. You may even delight within the included Hozugawakudari River Boat Ride, stretching from Kameoka to Arashiyama.

  • Address: Near JR Saga-Arashiyama Station

Tofukuji Temple

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Established within the early Heian interval, this temple has lengthy been a revered place of worship and reflection. With sprawling grounds and iconic constructions, it showcases one of the best of Japanese temple structure.

Anyhow, autumn in Japan at Tofukuji Temple is nothing wanting magical. Visitors are drawn to the Tsutenkyo Bridge for panoramic views over a valley of maples, whereas the Zen-inspired gardens present tranquil spots for reflection.

  • Address: 15 Chome-778 Honmachi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto

» BONUS: Dress Up in a Kimono throughout Autumn in Japan

Elevate your autumn trip and pictures by draping your self in a standard yukata or kimono! Rental retailers throughout Japan additionally cater to males and even the youthful ones — so sure, you’ll be able to simply maintain a photograph shoot together with your family members.

For one of the best expertise, try the vary of rental retailers everywhere in the nation by way of Klook: [click]. I guarantee you, your Instagram feed is about to change into the envy of all!

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Overall

As the colourful hues of autumn in Japan paint the panorama, every of those 20 spots absolutely provides a novel tapestry of reds, oranges, and gold!

So whether or not you’re a photographer, traveler, or just somebody who appreciates nature’s artistry, these places promise unforgettable recollections. Go seize your digicam, a heat drink, and let the serene fantastic thing about Japan’s autumn foliage captivate your coronary heart!

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