Japan autumn leaves forecast 2019 and best places to see them

Published Date Dec 04 2019
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If you are wondering when is the best time to visit Japan, Autumn might just be the answer. With comfortable weather and being a great timing for seasonal delicacies and autumn's biggest attraction; the beautiful autumn maple tree leaves scenery, this is definitely a great time to visit Japan!
In this article, find out about the best times/places to see the autumn leaves here in Japan. We’ll be introducing not only the most popular and famous spots by area but also all the hidden gems around the country too! They also all come with added info about recommended spots nearby, and videos to entice you even more!

How to enjoy “Koyo” (Autumn leaves) viewing

In Japan, we call the brightly and beautifully colored autumn leaves “Koyo”. Koyo Viewing, just like Cherry Blossom Viewing, is a popular seasonal social activity.
Beautiful mountain ranges and canyons viewable from big suspension bridges are decorated with vivid reds, oranges, and yellows along with spots where you can have thrilling downstream rafting activities are just some of the options. You can also enjoy the autumn leaves at night too, with beautiful light-up spots!
So be sure to check out Japan’s unforgettable atmospheric autumn scenery unique to other countries You can view this dynamic scenery not only just out in nature, but also in places with temples and shrines and in Japanese gardens etc, that are beautifully lit up with the colorful leaves.

Best times to see “Koyo” (autumn leaves) by area

Firstly, please check out the “Autumn Leaves Forecast Map” down below to see the best times to see the autumn leaves by area.
If you’ve already decided which area you want to look in, check out the links below where you can jump to each area’s recommended “koyo” spots!”

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Best places to see autumn leaves in Hokkaido and Tohoku region

The first place to see the peak season for the autumn leaves is Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, followed by the Tohoku region.
In Hokkaido “koyo” season usually starts around the beginning of October, and for the Tohoku region, the middle of October.
So let’s take a look at the recommended spots to see “koyo” in Hokkaido and the Tohoku region!

#1 Shikaribetsuko lake (Hokkaido)

shikaribetsuko_lake

This crystal clear lake reflects the beautiful colors of the trees on its surface making for a very popular “koyo” viewing spot. You can even get on a canoe and check out the autumn leaves whilst traveling around the lake!
Best time : From the beginning of October until mid-October

shikaribetsuko_lake

#2 Mt. Nakano Momijiyama (Aomori)

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A famous “koyo” viewing spot in Aomori where autumn leaves are illuminated at night. Stalls are temporarily set up near its entrance in this period and large crowds are drawn to the area.
2019 Illumination Period: From October 12th (Saturday) to November 4th (Monday)

Best time : From the mid-October until beginning of November

#3 Tsutanuma Lake (Aomori)

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The lake is surrounded by the beautiful, virgin forest. The brightly coloured foliage is an amazing sight for many visitors during the autumn season.
Best time : From the mid-October until beginning of November

#4 Akiu Otaki Falls (Miyagi)

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A famous “koyo” viewing spot in Sendai City where a waterfall with water rushing down from a height of 55m is surrounded by the stunning hues of red and orange autumn leaves in the fall which add to its magnificent beauty.
Best time : From mid-October until the beginning of November

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#5 Dakigaeri Keikoku Gorge (Akita)

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A superb spot where visitors can enjoy “koyo” viewing from “Kami no Iwa” bridge, a suspension bridge across the Dakigaeri Keikoku Gorge. An autumn leaves viewing festival is held from October 10th to November 10th at Dakigaeri Keikoku Gorge and many events will be held.
Best time : From the end of October until beginning of November


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#6 Mt. Chokai (Akita)

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The autumn leaves of Mt. Chokai, a mountain range sprawling across the boundaries between Akita and Yamagata prefectures, are best enjoyed while driving along the mountain road known as the Mr. Chokai Blue Line.
Best time : From the mid-October until end of October


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#7 To no Hetsuri (Fukushima)

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“Hetsuri” refers to the cliff formation connecting giant rocks like a tower which has been designated a natural monument of Japan. This cliff formation is covered with colorful maple and oak leaves in the fall.
Best time : From the end of October until the beginning of November


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Best places to see autumn leaves in Tokyo and Kanto region

The best time to enjoy autumn colors in Tokyo and the Kanto region is from late October to early December. Check out the recommended autumn color spots in Tokyo and the Kanto region.

#8 Fukuroda Waterfall (Ibaraki)

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This powerful waterfall which is 120m high and 73m wide is surrounded by colorful trees, whose magical atmosphere is amplified during the illumination events held from autumn to winter. Fukuroda Waterfall is also highly popular as an Insta-worthy spot in autumn and winter.
Best time : From the beginning of November until mid-November


fukuroda_waterfall

#9 Ryujin Big Suspension Bridge (Ibaraki)

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Visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the beautiful autumn leaves around them while crossing a 375m-long suspension bridge that is 100m above ground level. The adventurous few who are looking to add some thrill to their autumn leaves viewing experience can try bungee jumping from this bridge.
Best time : From the beginning of November to the end of November


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#10 Kegon no Taki Waterfall (Tochigi)

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Among the many famous “koyo” viewing spots in the Nikko area, Kegon no Taki Waterfall stands out for its exquisite contrast between the autumn leaves and the waterfall, and many people flock to this waterfall to enjoy its autumn colors every year. Do not miss the spectacular view of the interplay between the autumn leaves and the waterfall from atop the Akechidaira observation deck!

Best time : From the end of October until the beginning of November


kegon_no_taki_waterfall

#11 Nagatoro River (Saitama)

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Nagatoro is special for offering visitors a memorable experience of enjoying “koyo” viewing while going downstream in a boat, which allows them to leisurely enjoy the vividly colored maple leaves in the area while the boat takes them down the river.
Best time : From the beginning of November until mid-November


nagatoro_river

#12 Rikugien Garden (Tokyo)

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This spot is very crowded during the “koyo” season as it is located within Tokyo’s 23 wards and is highly accessible. An autumn leaves illumination is held in this period which allows visitors to immerse in the magical atmosphere of this Japanese garden.
Best time : From mid-November until the beginning of December


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#13 Mt.Takao (Tokyo)

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A 599m-high mountain located around an hour away from the center of Tokyo, Mt. Takao is a popular hiking trail throughout the year as it is relatively beginner-friendly. It draws especially huge crowds in the fall as an exceptional “koyo” viewing spot. Viewing autumn leaves is made easier by a cable car which bring visitors who prefer not to hike to the top of the mountain.
Best time : From mid-November until the end of November


mt_takao

#14 Showa Memorial Park (Tokyo)

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The Showa Memorial Park is a popular photography spot, its rows of gingko trees create picturesque tunnels and blankets of gold across the park in the fall. An exclusive illumination known as the “Autumn Night Walk” is held in this period and the park’s Japanese garden will be lit up for the first time this year.
Best time : From the beginning of November to the end of November


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#15 Ashinoko Lake (Kanagawa)

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Ashinoko Lake is said to be the first location in Hakone where autumn colors can be seen each year. Visitors can enjoy the gorgeous autumn leaves against the background of Mt. Fuji while trekking or taking a sightseeing boat.
Best time : From the beginning of November until mid-November


ashinoko_lake

Best places to see autumn leaves in Tokai, Hokuriku and Koshinetsu area

The best time to enjoy “koyo” viewing in the Tokai, Hokuriku and Koshinetsu region is from mid-October to the end of November. Check out the recommended autumn color spots in the Tokai, Hokuriku and Koshinetsu region.

#16 Matsukawa Keikoku Valley (Nagano)

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With many hot springs in the vicinity, it is recommended for visitors to enjoy the stunning autumn leaves that surround them while soaking in one of the open-air baths here.
Best time : From mid-October until the end of October


matsukawa_keikoku_valley

#17 Korankei Valley (Aichi)

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This is the most popular "koyo" viewing spot within Aichi prefecture. During the Korankei autumn leaves viewing festival, visitors can enjoy illuminations until 9:00 PM in addition to other events that will mainly be held on weekends.
Best time : From mid-November until the end of November


korankei_valley

#18 Tateyama Ropeway (Toyama)

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There are no supporting towers between the Daikanbo and Kurobedaira stations of the Tateyama ropeway due to environmental conservation as well as to preserve the unspoiled scenery of the surrounding landscape, thus you can enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of the area.
Best time : From the end of September until mid-October


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#19 Natadera Temple (Ishikawa)

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In 2015, this temple was awarded “1 star” in the “Michelin Green Guide Japan,” a French travel guide book. The temple’s premises are packed with important cultural assets and visitors to the temple can enjoy a picturesque view reminiscent of Japan from its observatory.
Best time : From the beginning of November until the end of November


natadera_temple

#20 Karikomi Ike Pond (Fukui)

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This spot is a well-kept secret that is recommended for those who would like to enjoy “koyo” viewing while trekking. The magical reflection of autumn leaves off the surface of the pond is a highlight of this spot.
Best time : From the end of October until the beginning of November


karikomi_ike_pond

Best places to see autumn leaves in Kyoto, Nara and Hyogo

The best time to enjoy "koyo" viewing in Kyoto, Nara and Hyogo is from
the beginning of November to early December. Do check out the recommended autumn color spots in Kyoto, Nara and Hyogo .

#21 Eikando Temple (Kyoto)

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This temple is an “koyo” viewing spot in Kyoto so famous that it has been hailed as “Autumn Leaves Eikando” since ancient times. Illumination events are held in this period when around 3000 maple trees envelope the Japanese garden in a stunning burst of color.
Illumination Period: From November 6th (Wednesday) to December 4th (Wednesday)
Best time : From mid-November until the end of November


eikando_temple

#22 Nara Koen Park (Nara)

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Widely known as the park inhabited by wild deer, this is Nara’s top sightseeing spot. Visitors can enjoy “koyo” viewing together with the adorable deer in the park.
Best time : From the beginning of November until the beginning of December


nara_koen_park

#23 Takedajo Castle Ruins (Hyogo)

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Famous for its reputation as the “castle floating in a sea of clouds,” Takedajo Castle will welcome the peak of its autumn colors along with the cloud season. The captivating view that is exclusive to this season is so stunning that it is sure to take your breath away.
Best time : From the mid-November until end of November


takedajo_castle_ruin

Best places to see autumn leaves in Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and Fukuoka

The best time to enjoy "koyo" viewing in Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and Fukuoka is from the beginning of November to beginning of December. Check out the recommended autumn color spots in Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and Fukuoka.

#24 Daishoin Temple (Hiroshima)

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Daishoin Temple is a temple with a long history in Miyajima, a popular tourist destination. Here, autumn leaves viewing festivals are held during the autumn colors season.
Best time : From the beginning of November until mid-November

daishoin_temple

#25 Sankeien Garden (Hiroshima)

sankeien_garden

Sankeien Garden is located right next to Hiroshima Airport and is a popular sightseeing spot regardless of the time of the year. In the fall, the garden’s allure is given a boost as the entire area is covered with autumn leaves.
Best time : From the beginning of November until the end of November

sankeien_garden

#26 Rurikoji Temple (Yamaguchi)

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Trees with colorful autumn leaves surround the five-story pagoda, the symbol of Rurikoji Temple. Illumination events are held in this period after sunset when visitors can enjoy a unique atmosphere in the temple that is markedly different from daytime.
Best time : From the beginning of November until the end of November

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#27 Chomonkyo Gorge(Yamaguchi)

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This is one of the most famous spots for “koyo” viewing within Yamaguchi prefecture. The Chomonkyo Gorge autumn leaves viewing festival will be held on November 3rd. This spot is especially recommended for those who love outdoor activities.
Best time : From the beginning of November until mid-November


chomonkyo_gorge

#28 Raizan Sennyoji Daihioin Temple (Fukuoka)

raizan_sennyoji_daihioin_temple

The large oak tree in the temple premises is said to be around 400 years old and has been designated a natural monument by Fukuoka prefecture. Even after 400 years, this tree still offers astonishing autumn colors for the pleasure of visitors to the temple.
Best time : From the beginning of November until mid-November


raizan_sennyoji_daihioin_temple

#29 Hyugami Gorge (Fukuoka)

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With excellent autumn colors surrounding the dam at the gorge, visitors can enjoy the attractive gradations of the autumn leaves while driving or strolling leisurely. Don’t forget to stop by the “heart-shaped rock” in the area where it has been rumored that visitors to the rock will be blessed with good fortune!
Best time : From the end of October until mid-November


hyugami-gorge

#30 Nomiyama Kannon Temple (Fukuoka)

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The autumn leaves that paint the temple premises in shades of crimson in the fall showcase some of the best autumn colors in Japan. The many highlights at this temple include the rows of maple trees lining the main approach to Tenno-in and the thousands of Japanese azalea plants near the Hyakukannon-do.
Best time : From the beginning of November until the beginning of December


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Have you found an “koyo” viewing spot that you would like to visit? Please feel free to refer to this guide when planning your itinerary if you are visiting Japan in autumn!

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