Japan is famous for its pink cherry blossoms but did you know that it’s a wonderful autumn destination too? With November coming up, it can only mean one thing – the long awaited koyo (autumn) has arrived in Japan.
Head to Japan’s countryside from mid-October to early December for stunning views of the country’s autumn leaves. The colours of the leaves change to shades of red, orange, and yellow in autumn. Koyo in Japan is so spectacularly beautiful that it’s gaining popularity among travellers.
Autumn in Japan falls between June and December and is an off-peak season. This means you can escape the crazy crowds and enjoy the cool weather in peace!
Here are 10 of the best places where you can see the autumn leaves in Japan.
1. Daisetsuzan National Park, Hokkaido
Hokkaido is a famous winter destination. However, many people don’t know that it’s a great place to view the autumn foliage. Daisetsuzan National Park is located in central Hokkaido and it’s where the foliage always appears first in Japan! If you’re feeling adventurous and would like to hike around the park, you can observe the colours of fall from mid-September up to November.
If you’re looking for a way to get around Hokkaido, grab yourself a Hokkaido Rail Pass. With UNLIMITED rides around Sapporo, Hakodate and more, this is the fastest and easiest way to explore the region and be captivated by Hokkaido’s natural wonders!
2. Oirase Keiryu, Aomori
The Aomori Prefecture is home to many scenic walking trails. One great spot to view the autumn leaves is Oirase Keiryu, a mountain stream. It meanders 14 kilometres from Lake Towada, another great spot to view the foliage. The lake and stream boasts great viewpoints where travellers can admire the fall foliage.
3. Meiji Jingu Gaien, Tokyo
Meiji-Jingu Gaien Park is one of the most famous spots to see the fall foliage in Tokyo. With over 140 gingko trees turning yellow, the park is breathtakingly beautiful during autumn. You can view the autumn colours anytime from mid-November to early December. It’s only 5 minutes away from Shinnanomachi station on the JR Line and Gaienmae Station on the Tokyo Metro!
4. Lake Kawaguchi, Tokyo
You can get a great shot of Mount Fuji with the fall foliage from Lake Kawaguchi. You can get there by heading to Kawaguchiko Station on the Fuji Express Line and transferring to a bus. Use your Mt. Fuji Free Pass to travel on the Fujikyu Line, buses, ropeways, boats, and even entrance to attractions around the area!
You can view the wonderful autumn foliage in Hakone from late October to late November. One of the best ways is by taking a scenic ride on the Hakone Tozan Train. The train is said to represent Hakone and is popular among tourists. With the Hakone Free Pass, you can discover the sights in autumn that make Hakone a favourite among locals and tourists alike.
6. Bishamon-do Temple, Kyoto
In autumn, Bishamon-do Temple is covered in red and orange from the foliage. This phenomenon is called shiki kōyō or a “bed of autumn leaves”. The bright red road leading to the temple has to be the most iconic thing about Bishamon-do in autumn.
7. Fukuroda Falls and Hananuki Valley, Ibaraki
Enjoy the gorgeous scenery of the autumn foliage at Fukuroda Falls, one of the three most beautiful waterfalls of Japan. During autumn, the trees surrounding Fukuroda Waterfall burst into red, orange and yellow hues, creating an even more breathtaking view.
8. Biwako Valley and Keisoku-ji Temple, Osaka
If you’re spending a day in Osaka during autumn, you have to see the falling red leaves at Shiga! Witness the beauty of autumn in the Shiga Prefecture at Biwako Valley and Keisoku-ji Temple.
Take a ride on the ropeway at Biwako Valley and get a bird’s eye view of the valley covered in autumn colours. In addition, you can marvel at the panoramic view of Lake Biwa from the Biwako Terrace once you reach the top.
Keisoku-ji Temple’s red carpet of maple leaves greet you the moment you step foot into the temple grounds. Taken care of by locals, Keisoku-ji Temple is one of the most important cultural assets in Shiga Prefecture. With 200 maple trees that shower red leaves onto the stairway, it is certainly a sight to behold!
9. Izuruhara Benten Pond and Takatsudokyo Gorge, Tokyo
Hop aboard the Watarase Keikoku Sightseeing Railway and take a visit to the Izuruhara Benten Pond, one of Japan’s clearest water sources. Marvel at the beauty of the autumn foliage at Takatsudokyo Gorge. While on the railway, you can also admire the red, orange, and yellow leaves and natural scenery that runs along the river.
10. Itsukushima, Hiroshima
Itsukushima or Miyajima is one of Japan’s most iconic sights and is one of the Three Views of Japan. Miyajima is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s filled with beautiful autumn leaves viewing spots. This includes Momijidani Park, the Five-Storied Pagoda, and Senjōkaku Shrine. You can access the island by a convenient 10-minute ferry ride!