Autumn in Japan is synonymous with beautiful scenes of orange, yellow and red colored leaves,
also called koyo in Japanese.
Just like the cherry blossom during spring time, the viewing of autumn leaves has been
a popular activity for centuries and today attracts more and more travelers from around the world.
Generally the best time to view the colorful leaves is from mid September to early December.
The autumn color front makes its way from the Island of Hokkaido in the North down to
the south of Japan.
Usually, autumn colors can be seen until early December in the regions of Tokyo and Kyoto.
Planning to visit the most beautiful spots can be a bit of headache since there are so
many across Japan.
So to make things a little easier, here are our top 10 autumn color spots in Japan.
Number ten: Urabandai.
The Urabandai area located north of Mount Bandai in Fukushima Prefecture is beautiful
all year long but is most attractive during Autumn.
Because of the wide range of elevations in the area, colorful leaves can usually be seen
all throughout the month of October, and the walking trails in the area offer a good opportunity for exploration.
We recommend the nearby Bandai Azuma Skyline for some breathtaking vistas.
Number nine: Onuma Park.
Twenty kilometers North of Hakodate on the island of Hokkaido lies Onuma park.
Its island dotted lakes and volcano make it one of the best spots to visit during fall.
There are many options to choose from when exploring the area: you can walk along the
pleasant walking trails, rent a bicycle for the day to cycle around Lake Onuma,
or you can also enjoy viewing the colorful leaves from sightseeing cruises.
Number eight: Nikko.
Only two hours north of Tokyo, the town of Nikko is famous for its many historic shrines
and temples. And also offers many beautiful autumn color viewing spots, especially in
the Okunikko region.
We particularly recommend the forested shoresaround Lake Chuzenjiko,
the view from Mount Hangetsuyama, visiting some of the waterfalls,
the drive along the Irohazaka Winding Road,
and exploring the boardwalks of the Senjogahara Marshland.
One thing to keep in mind when planning a trip to Nikko is that during koyo season large
numbers of visitors come to see the fall colors, which can sometimes slow down traffic both
on the roads and at popular attractions.
Number seven: Tateyama-Kurobe Alpen Route.
The Tateyama-Kurobe Alpen Route located in the Northern Alps of Japan offers spectacular
vistas that can be navigated via multiple ways of transportation such as cable-car,
trolley buses and a ropeway.
Due to the range of altitudes of the area, season colors can be enjoyed for a longer
period of time, usually from late September to early November.
Number six: the Fuji Five Lakes region.
From late October to mid November, the region north of Mount Fuji, known as the
Fuji Five Lakes region, offers some of the best opportunities to view the majestic mountain
framed by autumn colors.
Around Lake Yamanakako we recommend exploring the southern shore especially Nagisa Park,
the eastern shore with its firey red bushes, and the nearby Panarama Dai.
Lake Kawaguchiko also has several popular spots on its north shore such as:
The Kawaguchiko North Coast Walking Trail, the Maple Corridor,
the Momiji Tunnel,
and of course, the Chureito Pagoda.
Mount Fuji framed by fall leaves could be the most iconic picture to take during the trip.
Number five: Tokyo.
You can enjoy various autumn colors in Tokyo’s many parks and gardens from late November
to early December.
Amongst them, Rikugien is famous for being one of the nicest Japanese landscapes garden in the city.
And its night illuminations during the peak of the season are not to be missed.
The dozen of maple trees planted around Koishikawa Korakuen’s ponds which turn into vibrant
shades of orange and red also make for an especially nice viewing spot.
Tokyo’s official tree, the gingko, can be seen in all its glory with entire streets
lined with gingko trees.
The most famous one being Icho Namiki (Gingko Avenue) located in the Meiji Jingu Gaien Park.
Number four: Hachimantai.
This mountainous region located in Akita and Iwate prefectures typically offers spectacular
fall colors from early to late October.
With the region being far removed from cities, it is home to some of the best rustic onsen
in the country, such as Nyuto, Tamagawa and Goshogake Onsen.
Nothing beats admiring autumn’s colors while soaking in a hot spring bath.
Number three: Lake Towada and Oirase Stream.
Lake Towada is the largest caldera lake on Honshu, Japan’s main island.
The ferry rides across the lake allow visitors to admire the autumn colors from a different
point of view.
Another highlight is the picturesque Oirase Stream which flows out of the lake and down
the Oirase Gorge, winding among colorful trees, which make it one of the most beautiful spots
from late October to early November to enjoy autumn in all of its beauty.
Number two: Daisetsuzan National Park.
The first place in Japan to see the colorful leaves around mid September, Daisetsuzan is
bigger than some of Japan’s smaller prefectures and is Hokkaido’s largest national park.
Spectacular colors can be appreciated while hiking around Mount Asahidake, Ginsendai or
The different elevations of the park allow visitors to enjoy theautumn colors
for a longer period of time.
Number One: Kyoto.
Last but not least, Japan’s ancient capital holds the number one spot in our Top 10 recommended
autumn colors viewing spots.
One of the most popular koyo places in the city is Tofukuji Temple.
People come from all over the world to enjoy the colorful temple complex during autumn,
with one of the main highlights being the Tsutenkyo Bridge which spans a valley of maple trees.
The Arashiyama District also attracts visitors for its autumn colors, with Tenryuji Temple
being ranked first among the city's five great Zen temples, and now registered as a world
During autumn the temple grounds come alive and are a pleasant place to explore as the leaves change.
If you are looking to enjoy autumn’s beauty in a different light, several temples in the
city offer night illuminations, such as Eikando Temple and the legendary Kiyomizudera.
Of course there are many more worthwhile koyo spots around the city such as Shinyodo,
Enkoji, Nanzenji, and Kodaji to name only a few.
With such a large number of fall color viewing locations, practically anywhere you go in
the city will be nice, making Kyoto our number one spot in the entire country during autumn.
So there you have it, our top ten fall color locations in Japan.
We hope that this video will help you plan your perfect autumn trip.
More in-depth information on the autumn season can be found in the dedicated section of our
website including lists of the best autumn color spots depending on the area, and during
the season, frequent reports from around the country.
For more information or to watch another video, click the links on the screen now or
head to japan-guide.com, your comprehensive up-to-date travel guide first hand from Japan.
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