When to See Autumn Colors in Japan
Japan's fall foliage can typically be seen from early September to early December. The turning of colors starts from the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, which gradually moves downward to the rest of the country. The optimal viewing dates vary according to area, so make sure to prepare beforehand and check the forecast.
Please note that the written dates are forecasts only. Actual dates may vary according to weather conditions.
Where to Go
Fall foliage can be seen almost anywhere in Japan, but Kyoto tends to be popular during this season. The prefecture's traditional Japanese architecture blends perfectly with fall colors and evokes a nostalgic feeling.
Similarly, Tokyo's traditional Japanese gardens make for a pleasant stroll during the fall season. Modern streets glowing with the warm yellow of perfectly-lined gingko trees add to the city's delightful sights. Tokyo also serves as a good starting point to explore Kanto's enchanting natural landscapes, with Mt. Fuji, Nikko and Nagatoro among the popular fall sightseeing spots.
Miyajima in Hiroshima is a particularly special treat. Visitors to the small island get to see the vermillion magnificence of Itsukushima Shrine as well as the alluring red of maple leaves. The deer strolling freely around the island make pefect photo opportunities, too.
With day trips and multi-day tours, VELTRA offers convenient and exciting ways to spend your time in Japan. Check out our fall tour collection and let the gorgeous landscapes of the country serve as the stage for the wonderful memories you create with your friends and loved ones.
Biei Blue Pond
This pond shifts in different shades of blue each season. The landscape also includes a gathering of withered and partly-submerged Japanese larch and silver birch trees, making the sight all the more captivating.
Mid-September to Early November
Usually the first among Japan's prefectures to exhibit fall colors, Hokkaido boasts stretches of land lush with trees that turn into fiery colors in autumn. Nature lovers will love the Ginsendai Trail at Daisetsuzan National Park as well as the contrast between bright blue waters and yellow foliage at the Blue Pond. We also recommend taking a dip at a hot spring after long walks.
A small town with a deep cultural and religious history, Nikko is a perfect day trip from Tokyo. Gaze over the beautiful Chuzenji Lake and finish with a visit to Kegon Falls, one of Nikko's most impressive waterfalls.
Surrounding the busy city of Tokyo are gorgeous landscapes with natural wonders and rich heritage. Go on a day trip to Nikko to see magnificent shrines as well as the beautiful Kegon Falls. The Maple Leaf Corridor near Mt. Fuji is picture-perfect, while the red spider lilies of Saitama and the kochia of Ibaraki provide charming alternatives to maple leaves. Kamakura's Great Buddha appears to be more relaxed than usual, too, as if enjoying the sight of autumn foliage.
Early October to Mid-November
Nikko and Kegon Falls World Heritage Day Tour From Tokyo
Late November to Early December
SEIBU 1 Day Pass + Nagatoro
Mt. Fuji Area
Early November to Early December
Mt. Fuji Tours from Tokyo - Kawaguchi Maple Corridor Fall Tours
Stroll among the forest of red maple leaves as you spend time taking wonderful pictures of autumn in Japan. Wander through the dreamy forest with over 1,000 maple leaves standing since the early 1900s.
Late November to Early December
Tokyo is a great place to start your autumn journey. Make your way to Mt. Takao and enjoy the view as you ride the cable car. You can also hop on a trolley train and sit back as it takes you to enchanting scenery surrounding Watrase Gorge. These tours take care of all your transport needs, so you can easily make your way from Tokyo and see fall foliage to your heart's content.
Fall Foliage Tour from Tokyo to Watarase Gorge & Ashikaga Flower Park Light-up
Mt. Fuji 5th Station Autumn Hiking & Oishi Park Kochia Viewing Tour from Tokyo
Shuzenji Temple Autumn Maple Viewing and Izu Mt. Fuji Viewing from Tokyo
Mt. Fuji 5th Station, Oshino Hakkai & Gotemba Premium Outlets Tour from Shinjuku
Mt. Takao Fall Foliage Festival & Meiji Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Viewing from Tokyo
Enjoy the colors of autumn as a retro train takes you on a leisurely ride. Hop on a traditional boat and marvel at arresting sights as you make your way down the Hozugawa River.
Mid-November to Early December
See magnificent temples like Eikando and Bishamondo in their autumn glory. Go on a romantic boat ride on the Hozugawa River and make your way to Arashiyama with these tours.
Arashiyama Sagano Scenic Railway and Hozugawa River Boat Tour from Kyoto
Kyoto-Style Autumn Lunch Plan at Myoshinji Taizoin Temple (Nov 1 - Dec 2, 2019)
Kyoto Evening Fall Foliage Light-up at Konkai Komyoji Temple (Nov 4-Dec 8, 2019)
Kyoto Fall Leaves Viewing with Lunch at Bishamondo Temple (Nov 21-Dec 1, 2019)
Autumn Colors Light-Up and Kaiseki Course Dinner at Eikando Temple in Kyoto
Fall Foliage and Elegant Tofu Lunch at Eikando Zenrinji Temple in Kyoto
Make way to the grand castle of Osaka. See a Japanese castle up close and go inside to learn more about the history of Japan and how the castle played a major role during the nation's unification.
Mid-November to Early December
Japan's food capital is not just known for its mouthwatering delicacies. Check out the handsome Osaka Castle and surrounding areas for beautiful sights that capture the heart.
Todaiji is a World Cultural Heritage Site and home to the largest bronze Buddha statue in the world, housed by the largest wooden building in Japan.
Early November to Early December
Hang out with Nara's deer as you check out lovely temples and shrines including Kasuga Taisha and Todaiji.
Full Day Cultural Sightseeing Tour of Kyoto, Arashiyama and Nara from Osaka
Hop on board and make your way from Nagoya to the traditional thatched roof house village of Shirakawago.
Early to Late November
Fall in love with the charming village of Shirakawa-go and admire its historic thatched roof houses. See Korangkei Gorge in autumn colors all lit up in beautiful lights.
Shirakawago and Hida Takayama Tour from Nagoya with Optional Gifu-Style Lunch
One-Day Bus Tour to Shirakawago, Hida Takayama and Tsumago-juku from Nagoya
Korankei Gorge Autumn Light-Up and Obara Shikizakura Festival Tour from Nagoya
Jizo God Statues
Discover the history and culture of Miyajima through your hike up Mt. Misen in Miyajima. Pass by stone Buddhas and massive rocks marking the distance of your route.
Early November to Late December
Let Miyajima mesmerize you with its unmistakable allure. Play with deer, go hiking at Mt. Misen, or simply gaze at the exquisite beauty of Itsukushima shrine. Don't forget to try maple leaf sweet buns while you're in the area!
Komyozenji Temple, Dazaifu
Pay a visit to one of the three major Shinto Shrines of Japan, the Dazaifu Tenmangu. This shrine is dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane along with other Tenjin Gods of Japan.
Early November to Late November
Start your trip in Fukuoka and explore Kyushu! Take in the view from Japan's tallest suspension bridge called Kokonoe Yume. Hop in a wooden boat and go on a cruise down the Yanagawa River. Cap off your day with a relaxing dip at Kurokawa Hot Springs.
Yufuin and Kurokawa Onsen Scenic Hot Spring Tour from Fukuoka City
What to Wear
In the early weeks of fall, temperatures tend to range between 20-29ºC (68-46°F), dropping slightly in the evening as well as the early hours of the day. Temperatures drop to lower than 15ºC (59°F) midway through, and lower than 10ºC (50°F) closer to winter.
Clothing that covers the whole body is advised, in particular, long-sleeved shirts and pants. Women who prefer skirts to pants usually wear light stockings or slightly opaque tights.
Light scarves and boots are also common during this season. Hats help in keeping the body warm, as heat tends to escape from our head. In the colder weeks, a light coat would also come in handy.
During the fall season, it's best to layer up so that you can adjust your clothing as the temperature changes within the day. Most department stores and major clothing shops carry thermal undergarments which add more warmth for travelers who are not particularly used to colder temperatures.
Fall for Foodies
There's an adage in Japanese that says "Autumn is the season for eating." Fall brings with it a wealth of savory and sweet treats. Here are some of our recommendations:
This simple dish is a staple in autumn and is often enjoyed grilled and lightly salted. Seafood lovers will enjoy its crispy skin and fatty meat. Grilled sanma goes best with white rice, with soysauce, lime and grated radish on the side.
Known as "yaki imo" in Japanese, sweet potatoes are a well-loved autumn snack. You can find them in food stalls and food trucks as well as in supermarkets. Enjoy them hot and fresh from the oven as you gaze at autumn leaves.
Midly sweet and juicy, this orange-colored fruit is best enjoyed fresh as a dessert or snack. Supermarkets often brim with persimmons during fall, but you will also find persimmon cakes and tarts in bakeries and pastry shops.
Chestnut-flavored sweets are available all year round but are particularly popular in autumn. From convenience stores to high-end patisserie, chestnut comes in different forms and variations, the most popular of which is the classic mont blanc.
Just as pumpkin is a symbol of autumn in Western countries, Japan loves to be creative with its kabocha (squash) dishes in fall, too. Kabocha tempura and kabocha croquette are among the crowd favorites.
Whether you like them grilled, dipped in batter and then deep fried or as an ingredient in hot pot dishes, you will find many restaurants that serve mushrooms at this time of the year. Matsutake, maitake and shiitake are the varieties that are particularly abundant during this season.
Everybody's go-to comfort food during the colder seasons, oden is a variety of ingredients—fishcakes, sausages, boiled eggs and more—cooked in savory broth. You can find them in most convenience stores as soon as September kicks in. For a more in-depth experience, we recommend eating oden at a drinking bar, coupled with good sake.
Japanese Words to Remember
|紅葉[Kōyō]||Fall Foliage, Autumn Colors|
|紅葉狩り[Momijigari]||Autumn Leaf Viewing|