Autumn is a sweet spot between the warm summer vibes and the chill of winter. The best nature attraction during this season is the sight of leaves changing color. Attracting many visitors, Japanese maples, wax trees, rowan, burning bush, ginkgo, and elms turn vibrant red, orange, and yellow colors. Leaf peeping ("Momiji-gari" in Japanese) is highly popular in Japan and is the main draw for many tourists. Plus, the relatively pleasant temperatures make autumn a peak travel season in Japan.
When is the best time to see fall foliage in Japan
Leap peeping season in Japan starts in mid-October and can last until the end of November. The timing varies depending on altitude and geography. For example, in the mountains, the leaves typically turn yellow a bit sooner, while the leaves in the milder southwestern island of Kyushu change their color around the end of November. Overall, Japan has a relatively long period for autumn, but September is a little too early for fall foliage.
Best places to see fall foliage in Japan
Even though everybody imagines Tokyo as a concrete jungle, it's abundant with different parks and gardens. You can pay attention to Yoyogi Park, located next to Shibuya, Omotesando, and Harajuku. It's home to many ginkgo and maple trees. Also, you can visit Icho Namiki, Tokyo's iconic fall foliage spot. In the middle of Tokyo, you will find Koishikawa Korakuen—one of Tokyo's oldest and best Japanese gardens. Don't miss a chance to visit Rikugien—a wonderful garden with plenty of trees and a teahouse with a small waterfall near at hand.
Sometimes, Kyoto seems overwhelming. It's one of the oldest cities in Japan, with a rich history and many temples. In addition to historical buildings, this city is full of impressive gardens and parks. One of the most breathtaking spots for enjoying autumn color is Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Overlooking the Higashiyama area, this place offers inspiring views. Another spot is Tofukuji—the main temple of the Tofukuji School. It's full of maple trees, turning red in mid-November. Overall, this city is filled with unique spots to enjoy colorful leaves. We suggest you check our article about autumn foliage in Kyoto to find out more.
The best time to enjoy fall foliage in Osaka is mid-October through December. The most appealing spot is Osaka Castle Park, known as Osaka-jo-koen in Japanese. If you are looking for something away from the city center, check Mino Falls. They are located in northern Osaka Prefecture and offer excellent trails to stroll around while viewing vivid colors.
This popular island has many places where you can enjoy a vivid palette of yellow, red, and orange colors. For instance, you can head to Daisetsuzan National Park—the largest national park in the Hokkaido region. It consists of various hiking trails, mountain ranges, hot spring resorts, and beautiful wildlife. Sounkyo is another Japanese paradise located at the foot of Mount Kurodake. Its forested valleys offer spectacular fall colors. Shiretoko Five Lakes is one more destination that will take your breath away. Just imagine: the crystal clear surfaces of these lakes reflect the shimmering colors and mountain range. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it?
The best time to see fall foliage in the Kanto area is in September and even in December. Shima Onsen, located right in Joshin'etsu-kogen National Park, is definitely worth your time and attention. The colorful trees of the Hakone Museum of Art are also amazing but less popular, meaning you can avoid the crowds of tourists. The Haruna Mountains offer some of the best places to enjoy autumn leaves, such as Kajika Bridge and Ikaho Onsen.