Are you thinking of visiting Japan in autumn? Do you want to know where to go to get the best views of the stunning autumn foliage?
The autumn season is one of the best times to go to Japan. It typically runs from September through November, depending on the region and the weather.
Usually, the best time to view autumn foliage in the popular tourist route of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka is late November. During this period, daily temperatures are usually around 9 to 17 degrees Celsius.
In the Mt. Fuji area, Hakone, and Kawaguchiko, peak colors typically arrive in the first couple of weeks in November, while up north, in the Tohoku region, the leaves start to change colors one week into November.
Meanwhile, on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, autumn foliage kicks in several weeks earlier. At the Daisetsuzan National Park, for example, the mountainsides get completely covered with bright hues of red, yellow, and orange as early as the 3rd week of September. And, on Japan’s southernmost island of Kyushu, peak autumn foliage arrives around early November and ends before the start of December.
Autumn Foliage In Japan In 2019
This year, because the hot and humid days of the summer season seem to not be ready to end yet, meteorologists say that peak foliage may arrive later than usual.
The Japan Meteorological Corp. released their first autumn forecast for 2019, saying that the earliest time for foliage to begin may be delayed, as temperatures in September and October may still be too hot for color change to occur. They explained that the scorching hot weather may reduce the intensity of the yellow, red, and orange colors of the leaves.
According to their report, ginkgo leaves are expected to reach their peak on November 27 and maple trees on December 3 in the Tokyo area. In Osaka, yellow leaves will be the most attractive on November 3, and red leaves on December 1. In Nagoya, peak foliage will be from November 13 to November 30, and in Fukuoka, it will be from November 24 and December 7.
The table below provides the 2019 peak foliage dates forecast in some major Japanese tourist cities:
|CITY||YELLOW LEAVES||RED LEAVES|
|Sapporo||November 6||November 7|
|Sendai||November 29||November 26|
|Tokyo||November 27||December 3|
|Nagoya||November 18||November 30|
|Osaka||November 23||December 1|
|Kyoto||-not available-||December 8|
|Fukuoka||November 24||December 7|
Visit the official website of the Japan Meteorological Corp. for more autumn leaves 2019 forecast and information.
Best Autumn Viewing Spots In Japan
To enjoy the incredible autumn scenery of Japan, you should check out the following highly rated autumn viewing spots:
- Imperial Palace – The official residence of the Japanese Imperial Family, the Imperial Palace has a vast and spacious park that is home to many different kinds of trees that are a sight to behold during the autumn season. It is 10 minutes away on foot from Tokyo Station.
- Rikugien – An 18th century landscape garden that features a central pond, several walking paths, and lots of trees that look gorgeous during peak foliage. It is only a five-minute walk away from the JR Komagome Station along the JR Yamanote Line.
- Koishikawa Korakuen – An Edo-style landscape garden, Koishikawa Korakuen features many Japanese and Chinese inspired miniature scenery with numerous ginkgo trees, maple trees, cherry trees, and others. It is a 5 to 10 minute walk away from Iidabashi Station.
- Arashiyama – Situated in the outskirts of Kyoto, Arashiyama is surrounded by mountains covered with dense forests that look spectacular once the leaves change colors. From Kyoto Station, you can take the JR Sagano/Sanin Line to Saga-Arashiyama Station to get there.
- Kiyomizudera – An 8th century temple and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kiyomizudera is an iconic ancient Japanese landmark with a main hall that has a wooden balcony that affords breathtaking views of the vibrant red and yellow leaves below. To get there, catch bus number 100 or 206 at Kyoto Station, and get off at the Gojo-zaka stop or Kiyomizu-michi stop.
- Minoo Park – Located on the outskirts of Osaka, Minoo Park sits on a valley that is blanketed by thriving forests that look magical during peak autumn foliage. It has a temple, a waterfall, many hiking trails, and a number of old Japanese-style buildings. To get there, get on the Hankyuu Linoo Line at Ishibashi Station, and then get off at Minoo Station.
- Daisetsuzan National Park – The largest national park on the island of Hokkaido, the Daisetsuzan National Park boasts is home to majestic mountains, thriving forests, and diverse wildlife, including brown bears and deer. It is where you should go if you want to be close to nature and see up close some of the most impressive untouched areas of Japan. To get there, it is best that you rent a car.
- Shiretoko – A wildlife paradise, Shiretoko is known as Japan’s last unspoiled wilderness, where several animals, such as the red fox, white-tailed eagles, deer, and brown beer can be found. It offers many hiking opportunities that showcases the beauty of Hokkaido, and is a top-rated autumn viewing destination, particularly in the Shiretoko Five Lakes and the Shiretoko Pass areas.
- Hokkaido University – Around mid-October to early November, the ginkgo avenue at Hokkaido University transforms into a picturesque scene of bright yellow, as the 70 to 80 ginkgo trees that line both sides of the road change color.
- Maizuru Park – The ruins of Fukuoka Castle is found in Maizuru Park, which is popular as a sakura viewing spot as well as an autumn foliage viewing spot. The area also includes a number of surviving guard towers and gates, and parts of the castle moat. It is about 10 to 15 minutes away on foot from Ohori Koen Subway Station.
To get the most out of your trip to Japan we recommend having 24/7 internet access. With internet access, you can use a variety of apps for directions and navigation, translation, communication with friends and family back home, video and music streaming, and other services.
There are different options when it comes to getting internet access in Japan. For convenience and flexibility you can:
- Place an order for a Japan SIM card online and have it shipped to your home before your trip
- Buy a Japan SIM online and collect it at the airport when you arrive
You can choose any of these options when you purchase a SIM card through this link on our website.
What are the best mobile apps to download for your Japan trip?
To enjoy your Japan trip, the following Japan travel mobile apps are highly recommended:
- Google Maps – for directions
- Hyperdia – for Shinkansen and train routes and timetables
- Google Translate – for translation of Japanese texts
Want regular updates and tips about life in Japan? Sign up for our free newsletter here!