seasonal-koyo-approaching seasonal-koyo-beyond seasonal-koyo-brown seasonal-koyo-green seasonal-koyo-red seasonal-koyo-starting seasonal-koyo-yellow seasonal-sakura-aboutToOpen seasonal-sakura-endOfSeason seasonal-sakura-fullBloom seasonal-sakura-justOpened seasonal-sakura-notOpen seasonal-sakura-opening seasonal-sakura-petalsFalling seasonal-sakura-petalsStarting seasonal-sakura-simple-bestViewing seasonal-sakura-simple-falling seasonal-sakura-simple-finished seasonal-sakura-simple-notOpen seasonal-sakura-simple-opening

Autumn leaves can be enjoyed in various ways. During the early phase of the season, the colors are mostly found in the mountains where entire slopes turn orange, yellow and red, and provide some of the most amazing seasonal sceneries. Hiking is the most rewarding way to see the colorful leaves in the mountains, but many spots can also be conveniently reached by train, bus or ropeway.

In the second phase of the autumn leaf season, the colors descend into Japan's cities, where they can be viewed in parks and gardens. Among the highlights are the autumn colors in the temples gardens of Kyoto where they beautifully complement with the buildings' elegant architecture. Almost surreal is the sight of the trees during evening illuminations, which are held at selected gardens and temples.

Below is a list of some of the best autumn color spots across Japan:
Hokkaido - Tohoku - Tokyo - Around Tokyo - Central Japan - Kyoto - Western Japan

Ratings:    best of the best    best of Japan    outstanding



Early to mid October
The trees surrounding Noboribetsu's spectacular hell valley and around the sulfurous ponds further up the forested slopes, turn beautifully colorful in October.

Onuma Park••

Mid to late October
Located near the southern tip of Hokkaido, Onuma Park sees autumn colors in the second half of October. The colors can be enjoyed on pleasant easy walk along the park's ponds.



Early to late October
Some of Japan's most spectacular autumn colors are found in the Hachimantai mountains. Good spots include the summit of Mount Hachimantai, Goshogake Onsen with nearby Onuma Pond, Tamagawa Onsen and Nyuto Onsen.

Naruko Gorge

Late October to early November
Located about two hours inland from Sendai, the Naruko Gorge is one of the Tohoku Region's most famous autumn color spots. There are a few walking trails to enjoy the colors from. Most photographed is the view of Ofukazawa Bridge floating among the autumn foliage.


Early to late October
Urabandai is a pond dotted highland north of Mount Bandai popular for its hiking opportunities and attractive scenery. The popular autumn color destination also offers some spectacular sightseeing roads from which to view the autumn foliage.



Late November to early December
Rikugien is one of Tokyo's nicest Japanese landscape gardens. And its autumn leaves are among the best in the city. The garden is opened for special illuminations during the peak of the season.

Icho Namiki (Ginkgo Avenue)

Late November to early December
The ginkgo (icho) is the official tree of Tokyo. The most famous of the many ginkgo lined streets in the city is the Icho Namiki or "Ginkgo Avenue" in the Meiji-jingu Gaien Park, whose trees are pruned in a quite spectacular fashion.

Mount Takao

Mid to late November
Takaosan, a wooded mountain with temple, is a pleasant place near central Tokyo to enjoy some hiking in an autumnal natural surrounding. The base of the mountain can be reached in just a 50 minute train ride from Shinjuku.

More autumn color spots in Tokyo...

Around Tokyo


Late September to mid October
Oze is a national park about 100 kilometers north of Tokyo. It offers beautiful hiking courses through mountainous marshlands and around a pond. Autumn colors start in late September in form of kusamomiji (grass autumn colors) when the grass covered marshlands turn into a beautiful reddish yellow.


Early October to mid November
The Okunikko region around Lake Chuzenji and Yumoto Onsen is particularly nice for autumn colors during most of October. Colors then descend into the town of Nikko where they can usually be seen into mid November. The autumnal spectacle attracts large crowds, especially on weekends in October.

Mount Tanigawadake

Mid to late October
Tanigawadake is a famous mountain range in Minakami a popular outdoor destination in Gunma Prefecture, where spectacular autumn colors can be enjoyed from hiking trails and a Tanigawadake Ropeway. In the lower elevations around Minakami, autumn colors last into mid November.

Shosenkyo Gorge

Late October to mid November
Often referred to as Japan's most beautiful gorge, the Shosenkyo Gorge outside of central Kofu City is particularly spectacular during the autumn leaf season.


Early to late November
A moderate amount of autumn colors can be enjoyed across the Hakone region from early November in the higher elevations to late November in the lower elevations.


Late November to mid December
Several of Kamakura's temples and shrines come with some autumn colors. Due to the town's mild climate, the peak of the season is often not reached until early December.

Central Japan


Mid to late November
Korankei is a valley near Nagoya reputed to be one of the best spots for autumn colors in the Chubu Region. Hundreds of maple trees line the river and walking trails around Mount Iimori. Various food stands provide for a pleasant festival atmosphere.



Mid to late November
Usually best in the second half of November, Tofukuji Temple displays some of Kyoto's most spectacular autumn foliage. The views of and from the Tsutenkyo Bridge are particularly impressive, and the temple gets very crowded.


Late November to early December
Arashiyama is a district at the outskirts of Kyoto. The forested mountains in the background and the trees on the grounds of Arashiyama's temples usually turn colors in the second half of November.


Late November to early December
The highly popular Kiyomizudera is also a spectacular autumn color spot. The trees around the temples large wooded stages usually turn red in the second half of November.


Late November to early December
With their abundance of autumn colors, the temple grounds of Eikando are another of Kyoto's most popular koyo spots. It is one of several temples that offer special illumination opening hours in the evenings.


Mid to late November
Similar to Kiyomizudera on Kyoto's eastern mountains (Higashiyama), Yoshiminedera is a temple on the slopes of Kyoto's western mountains (Nishiyama) with nice views over the city and beautiful autumn colors.

More autumn color spots in Kyoto...

Western Japan (except Kyoto)

Mino Park

Late November
Mino Park is a valley with a temple and waterfall in the forested mountains north of Osaka, accessible from the city center in only 30 minutes by train. It is one of the city's most pleasant autumn color spots, but can become quite busy especially on weekends.


Late October to mid November
A moderate number of trees around the town of Koyasan provide attractive seasonal colors from around late October to mid November, making Koyasan a good destination for those too early to see the colors in the lower elevations of the Kansai Region.


Mid November
A moderate amount of autumn colors can be found in and around the small shrine town on Miyajima Island, just outside of Hiroshima. The highest concentration of colorful trees is found in the Momijidani (Maple Valley) behind the town.

Kuju Mountains

Early to mid October
The mild climate does not make Kyushu one of Japan's top destinations for autumn colors. Nevertheless, there are some nice spots to see the seasonal colors. Among the best are the Kuju Mountains, which contain the island's highest peaks and offer spectacular hiking in a volcanic landscape.

Ratings:    best of the best    best of Japan    outstanding