Fall Foliage 2024: Best Places to See Autumn Leaves in Japan

Last Updated: June 21,2024

From mid-to-late September, Japan's fall season begins. The sight of Japan autumn leaves turning beautiful shades of vibrant colors is one not to be missed! Head to the best place to see fall foliage during the best time for autumn colours in Japan, and behold the sights of all the colorful autumn trees, painting the landscape with their fiery reds, golden yellows, and rich oranges.

Table of Contents

1. Japan Autumn Leaves 紅葉狩り

2. Japan Fall Foliage Forecast 2024

3. Best Spots to View Red Leaf Japan 2024

4. Top Places to Enjoy Momiji in Japan 2024 without Crowds

Best Place to View Autumn Leaves in Oita, Japan

1. Japan Red Leaves Hunting: 紅葉狩り

Viewing cherry blossoms in spring and maple leaves in fall are supposed to be two of the most seasonal outings of the year in Japan. Japanese people like to observe and feel the wheel of the seasons and reflect them in their daily lives. Japanese native culture even called the appreciation of red leaves "red leaf hunting 紅葉狩り". "狩" does not mean hunting, but the meaning of Japan autumn leaves tour, which is the activity of viewing maple leaves in the mountains and forests in autumn.

Around the 16th century, "red leaf hunting" was only a hobby for the nobles. However, after the 17th century, ordinary citizens also began to go out to enjoy the red leaves, so "red leaf hunting" gradually became a popular autumn excursion.

On a cool autumn day during the Japanese fall foliage season 2024, you will be intoxicated by the stunning scene of the maple leaves fluttering in the sky, quietly gaze at the mountains and fields full of Japanese red maple, and marvel at the redness of the fall colors in Japan.

紅葉狩り

2. Japan Autumn Leaves Forecast 2024

The Japan Meteorological Corporation releases yearly forecasts every September, which predict the peak levels of fall foliage colors during the Japan autumn leaves season. Although Japan's fall color forecast varies from year to year, weather conditions are usually rather temperate and consistent all around. The following picture is the Japan fall foliage forecast 2023 released by Japan Meteorological Corporation. If you are searching for more details about Japan autumn foliage forecast, just check the autumn leaves forecast Japan 2024 for further reading.

In contrast to Sakura forecast, Hokkaido, the northernmost part of Japan, is the earliest region in Japan to enjoy the red leaves. Starting from Hokkaido in late September after the beginning of autumn, the maple leaves begin to turn red; as the cold air continues to move southward, the maple trees in the Kanto area, as well as in the Kansai area and the Kyushu area, are successively decked out in red, and by the beginning of December the red leaves will all fall down.

So, for the Japan autumn leaves forecast 2024, from the end of September to the beginning of December, you can view the stunning fall colors in Japan during the best time to see autumn leaves. As long as you travel to Japan in autumn at the predicted fall foliage time, you can see the incredible leaf color of the Japan autumn peak!

Japan Fall Colors

In addition to the maple leaves, ginkgoes also are worthy of admiring during Japan's fall! The ginkgoes will be yellow slightly earlier than the maple leaves. But if you happen to see ginkgo and red maple intertwined and covered at the same time, it's definitely lucky enough during the autumn leaves season in Japan 2024!

3. Best Places for Autumn Leaves in Japan 2024

Japan is home to many beautiful autumn time festivals, which make for exciting activities and locations to visit for the best autumn colors and scenic sights. Here are a few of the very best spots to enjoy the stunning red leaves during the fall foliage season in Japan 2024:

Hokkaido Region

The northmost of Japan's main islands, Hokkaido is one of Japan's most beautiful and culturally rich parts of the country, taking up its own region. Hokkaido autumn foliage season starts from mid-September to late October, earlier than most of the country, with Hokkaido fall colors reaching its peak in mid-October.

Best Place to See Autumn Colors in Sapporo, Hokkaido

Locales to appreciate Hokkaido fall foliage 2024:

●Daisetsuzan National Park

Hokkaido's largest park, Daisetsuzan spans an enormous area of wilderness larger than some of Japan's prefectures and is a wonderful place to catch a glimpse of both Japan’s snow and fall colors for nature lovers everywhere during the best time for Hokkaido autumn leaves.

Maruyama Park

Maruyama Park in Sapporo offers plenty of majestic cedars, magnolias, and Japanese maple trees which paint a breathtaking scene. Mid-to-late October is the prime time to enjoy the Hokkaido fall foliage in Maruyama Park. Stroll leisurely through the park's scenic paths, enjoying the lively chatter of squirrels and birds, before winter blankets the landscape in snow.

Akaishi Mountains

It is the awe-inspiring Akaishi Mountains in Japan's Southern Alps. With rugged peaks, lush valleys, and its highest peak at 3,193 meters, it's a hiker's dream. Dive into ancient forests, visit charming villages, and savor local cuisine. Unforgettable adventures await in this natural and cultural wonderland during autumn in Hokkaido Japan.

Tokyo

In fall, the maple leaves on Tokyo's trees transform into stunning shades of red and yellow.

Best Place to See Fall Colors in Tokyo, Japan

Locales to enjoy autumn foliage in Tokyo 2024:

Some of the city's gardens such as Rikugien Gardens and Koishikawa Korakuen Garden swarm with tourists and visitors who can't get enough of the city's beautiful autumn leaves scenery, as well as the numerous parks throughout the city. To get stunning scenic views of Tokyo fall foliage, you can also take a hike in one of the nearby mountainous areas.

Kyoto

While Kyoto is world-renowned for its lovely cherry blossoms blooming during spring, its autumn color isn't anything to be scoffed at either. If you miss the peak colors of Kyoto Fall Foliage in the city center, you can explore the nearby Kitayama Mountains early or head south to Uji or Nara.

Best Spot to View Kyoto Fall Foliage in Kinkaku-ji Temple

Locales to admire Kyoto autumn colors 2024:

Kinkaku-ji Temple

With its golden tiers reflecting in the lake and surrounded by picturesque forests, Kinkaku-ji, or the Golden Pavilion, is a captivating sight. Dating back to the 14th century, this World Heritage Site is one of Kyoto's most iconic attractions, drawing visitors to admire its stunning architecture and serene surroundings during the best time to see autumn leaves in Kyoto.

Fushimi Inari Taisha

In Fushimi ward pay a visit to Fushimi Inari Taisha, the esteemed headquarters of approximately 30,000 torii gates scattered across the country.

Mt. Fuji/Lake Fujikawaguchiko

Mid-November is usually close to the peak colors of Mt Fuji fall foliage.

Lake Fujikawaguchiko, the Best Place to View Fuji Autumn Leaves

Locales to see Fuji autumn leaves 2024:

●Lake Kawaguchi Maple Corridor

Also known as the Maple Tunnel, this corridor of maple trees is located near the northern shore of Lake Kawaguchi. Visitors can stroll along this 150-meter-long tree-lined pathway, which becomes a canopy of colorful vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow. The peak time to visit Kawaguchiko autumn leaves is typically late October to early November when these hues are at their most vivid and beautiful.

Saiko Iyashi-no-Sato Nenba

Lake Saiko is one of the Fuji Five Lakes at the foot of Mt. Fuji, a World Heritage Site. More than 20 reconstructed thatched-roof houses have been converted into shops, restaurants, museums, and galleries. You can enjoy dishes using local ingredients, cute Japanese sweets, and matcha green tea. The gallery displays handicrafts made by the locals, which can be purchased as souvenirs. Please have a peaceful time while enjoying the beautiful scenery of autumn foliage that can only be seen at this time of year and the majestic appearance of the World Heritage Mt. Fuji.

Osaka

Osaka Castle, the Best Place to See Autumn Colors in Osaka, Japan

One of Japan's largest and most populated cities, Osaka is known for its many historic landmarks, cuisine scene, and status as a cultural hotspot. It is home to plenty of the country's top attractions, which include Universal Studios Japan, the Dotonbori entertainment district, and the Shinsaibashi shopping ward. Autumn leaves in Osaka also attract many tourists coming here for a visit during the Japanese fall foliage season.

Locales to view Osaka maple leaves 2024:

●Osaka Castle Park

It is perhaps the most popular spot for Osaka autumn foliage, the spacious park on the grounds of Osaka Castle is filled with all kinds of stunning great Japanese maple trees and ginkgo trees, making it the perfect setting for a leisurely scenic stroll during the Osaka autumn.

Nara

The city of Nara, the capital of Nara Prefecture is known for its variety of gorgeous scenery. Nature parks and shrines such as Nara Park, Kasuga-Taisha Shrine, and Kasuga-Taisha Shrine offer splendid scenic attractions to enjoy a beautiful blend of lush and autumn colors amidst some traditional architecture.

Best Place to View Fall Colors in Nara, Japan

Locales to see Nara fall foliage 2024:

●Tanzan Shrine

Nestled in the southern reaches of Nara Prefecture, Enveloping the shrine's distinctive 13-tiered pagoda are approximately 3,000 Japanese maple trees, creating a breathtaking canopy of vibrant hues during the best time for fall colors in Japan.

●Former Site of Fujiwara Palace

Visitors can visit this preserved site where the great palace was once built, back when it was part of the former capital Fujiwara-Kyo for sixteen years (between 694 and 710). This site is also home to fields of breathtaking cosmos flowers in September, along with scores of cherry trees that blossom in the spring.

In addition to these locales to view autumn leaves in Japan, there are some more available, such as autumn leaves in Fukuoka and Hakone fall foliage. If you are interested in experiencing different fall colors in Japan, just take a visit there!

Autumn foliage can be viewed everywhere during the best time to see fall colors in Japan, and these spots recommended above can guarantee you the spectacular scenery of Japanese red maple. Tell us which fall foliage viewing spot you hope to visit the most during your Japan autumn tour 2024.

4. Less-crowded Spots to Admire Fall Foliage in Japan 2024

Japan is renowned for its stunning fall foliage, known as "Momiji" in Japanese. While some popular spots like Kyoto and Nikko can get quite crowded during peak red leaf season, there are many lesser-known locations where you can enjoy the autumn colors in a more peaceful atmosphere. Here are a few places highly recommended to view the charming Japan maple leaves 2024 with fewer crowds:

Oirase Gorge, the Best Place to See Autumn Leaves in Aomori, Japan

Oirase Gorge, Aomori Prefecture

Located in Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan, Oirase Gorge is famous for its scenic hiking trail along the Oirase River, lined with beautiful foliage in the fall. It's a bit off the beaten path compared to more popular destinations like Nikko or Kyoto, making it a great choice for avoiding crowds.

Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, Gifu Prefecture

These historic villages are famous for their traditional thatched-roof houses and picturesque scenery. While they can get busy during peak seasons, visiting in the fall offers a quieter atmosphere with incredible Japan autumn colors.

Mount Hiei, Shiga Prefecture

Just outside Kyoto, Mount Hiei offers panoramic views of Lake Biwa and the surrounding countryside. The hiking trails leading to Enryakuji Temple are especially beautiful during the fall foliage season, and you're likely to encounter fewer tourists than in Kyoto itself.

Koya-san, Wakayama Prefecture

This sacred mountain town is home to numerous temples and is especially atmospheric during the fall season. You can enjoy colorful autumn foliage while exploring the peaceful temple grounds and surrounding forested hills.

Nikko National Park, Tochigi Prefecture (Okunikko)

While Nikko can get crowded, there are quieter spots within the national park, like the Okunikko area, where you can still enjoy the fall foliage in relative tranquility. Places like Lake Chuzenji and Senjogahara Marshland are particularly beautiful during autumn. Explore lesser-known hiking trails or visit the park's lakes and waterfalls for a serene autumn leaves experience.

Best Place to Enjoy the Autumn Leaves in Nikko, Japan

Hachimantai, Tohoku Region

Located in northern Honshu, Hachimantai is famous for its highland marshes, volcanic landscapes, and beautiful autumn colors. The area offers hiking trails and scenic drives where you can enjoy the fall foliage without the crowds.

Gero Onsen, Gifu Prefecture

This charming hot spring town in Japan boasts colorful foliage in the surrounding mountains during the autumn months. It's a great place to relax and enjoy the fall scenery away from the crowds.

Regardless of where you choose to go, the quieter spots often provide a more intimate and memorable experience of stunning Japan autumn leaves landscapes. And consider visiting these Japanese maple viewing spots during weekdays or early mornings to avoid the largest crowds.

Conclusion

Japan's maple leaf season can last for three months, with different levels of green, tender yellow, brick red, and russet alternating together, which is full of charm during autumn in Japan. Pick your favorite fall foliage viewing spots, and join us to embark on a private 2024 Japan autumn trip!

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