Hokkaido Autumn 2024: See the Earliest Fall Foliage in Japan

Last Updated: June 21,2024

If Japan is a pink country in spring because of the cherry blossoms in bloom, then it becomes warm and romantic with the red color of the mountains in fall. From Hokkaido to Kyushu, as the temperature gradually drops, the autumn leaves in Japan begin to change color from green to yellow, orange, and red, bringing endless beauty to the country. Fall foliage in Hokkaido, which lasts for about a month and a half from mid-September in the Daisetsuzan Mountain to early November in Hakodate in southern Hokkaido, has the longest red leaves viewing period in Japan and is characterized by a mixture of the green color of the coniferous trees. Read more about our guide to the Hokkaido fall foliage 2024 here.

Table of Contents

1. Best Time to See Autumn Foliage Hokkaido 2024

2. 8 Popular Spots to View Hokkaido Fall Foliage 2024

3. 6 Less-Crowded Places to Enjoy Hokkaido Fall Colors 2024

4. Top 3 Destinations to See Red Leaves in Japan

5. More Things to Do during Autumn in Hokkaido Japan 2024

Hokkaido Fall Colors at Sapporo in Late October

1. Hokkaido Autumn Leaves Forecast 2024

Viewing autumn leaves in Japan is a representative seasonal event, just like Hanami viewing in spring. Before every red leaf season, the Japan Meteorological Agency will release the fall foliage forecast to the whole country, which is what the Japanese call the "red leaf front", that is, the forecast of when the autumn leaves will turn red. Starting from mid-September, the Hokkaido autumn foliage 2024 will be the first to turn red, and then go all the way south to Kyushu, like the palette of nature, dyeing the entire Japan into a sea of red.

Due to its latitude, Hokkaido has long winters and short summers. With the advent of autumn, Hokkaido is the starting point of red leaves in the long and narrow Japanese archipelago. The higher the altitude, the earlier the red leaves begin. Especially Daisetsuzan, located in central Hokkaido, is surrounded by mountains with an altitude of about 2,000 meters. The Hokkaido red leaves there will start to turn red in mid-September and it is the earliest and most beautiful place in Japan to view the fall colors.

In short, according to Japan fall foliage forecast 2024, the best time to visit Hokkaido autumn for maple leaves viewing is from the end of September to early November.

Hokkaido in the Fall

2. Favorite Spots to Enjoy the Autumn Leaves in Hokkaido 2024

Hokkaido in fall is beautiful as the mountains are dyed red, and there are many places where you can see the autumn foliage in Hokkaido. From Mount Asahidake in Daisetsuzan to the ginkgo avenue at Hokkaido University, they are all ideal places to view red leaves. Even if you don't go to the mountains and forests, the bright red color of the rowan berries or the golden yellow leaves of the ginkgo and aspen trees along the roadside in Hokkaido are beautiful enough for you to enjoy the earliest fall foliage during your autumn leaves scenic tour. Here are 8 popular fall foliage viewing spots that are highly recommended for you when you visit Hokkaido in autumn 2024.

Daisetsuzan National Park: Enjoy Japan's Earliest Autumn Leaves 2024 at Various Stunning Viewing Spots

Best time to see Hokkaido fall foliage 2024 at Daisetsuzan: Mid-September to early October

Daisetsuzan National Park, with its rolling hills, is the first place in Japan to see the fall foliage and has a unique natural landscape where waterfalls and red maple leaves coexist.

There are a number of spots to see autumn foliage Hokkaido in Daisetsuzan, and you can view the autumn leaves in early September. Daisetsuzan is the name of Hokkaido's Central Volcanic Complex, which consists of more than 20 peaks of various sizes, with Sounkyo being the most famous one, and the scenery is unparalleled in autumn against the backdrop of the red foliage. In Daisetsuzan National Park autumn, whether you are overlooking the Hokkaido fall foliage from the Asahidake Aerial Ropeway or admiring the stunning red leaves while soaking in the Sounkyo onsen, it is a very enjoyable experience.

At Gensendai in Mount Aka in the Daisetsuzan area, the red and yellow leaves gradually spread to the slopes of the mountain in mid-September, overlapping each other to create a magnificent view of Hokkaido in fall. In particular, the remaining snow on the top of the mountain and the red leaves on the hillside complement each other, making it a unique experience for viewing autumn leaves in Hokkaido 2024.

Address: Sounkyo, Kamikawa, Kamikawa District, Hokkaido 078-1701, Japan

Hours: Open 24 hours

Phone: +81 1658-2-2574

Hokkaido Autumn Leaves

Hokkaido University: Take a Stroll on the Best Ginkgo Avenue in Hokkaido Autumn 2024

Best time to enjoy Hokkaido fall colors 2024 at Hokkaido University: Late October to the End of October

When it comes to viewing spots for autumn leaves Hokkaido, the first thing that many people can think of is the Ginkgo Biloba Avenue of Hokkaido University, where 70 ginkgo trees form a golden landscape in the fall. In addition to Ginkgo Avenue, the campus is home to a variety of natural attractions such as farms and pastures, and the Golden-leaf Festival (Kon'yousai) is held every year in late October when it is the best time to experience the Hokkaido University autumn.

Address: 5 Chome Kita 8 Jonishi, Kita Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0808, Japan

Hours: Opens 8:30 am

Phone: +81 11-716-2111

Onuma Quasi-National Park: An Awesome Hokkaido Autumn Foliage Spot not far from Hakodate

Best time to experience Onuma Quasi National Park autumn: mid-October to early November

Onuma National Park Lake is not far from Hakodate and features three lakes and Hokkaido Koma-ga-take. When people start catching fish here, it is the beginning of the maple leaf season in Onuma Quasi-National Park. The blazing red color of the autumn leaves reflected in the lake and the sharp outline of the Komagatake ridge make a stunning picture. When you visit Hokkaido in autumn to see the red leaves here, your heart will be refreshed.

Address: Nanae, Kameda District, Hokkaido 041-1354, Japan

Hours: Open 24 hours

Phone: +81 138-47-9439

Jigokudani (Hell Valley): Specialized Trails Are Available for Foliage Viewing

Best time to enjoy Hokkaido foliage 2024 at Jigokudani Hell Valley: Mid to late October

"Noboribetsu Jigokudani" was selected as one of the "100 Best Red Foliage Spots in Japan" and is a well-known destination to enjoy fall colors in Hokkaido. The view from the Jigokudani Observatory Deck is especially recommended when you travel to Hokkaido in fall 2024. You can smell the sulfur smell that comes from the steam, witness the rare volcanic eruption that is only seen in movies, the white hot spring smoke, and the red leaves, all in front of your eyes will make you feel unbelievable. After a 20-minute hike from Jigokudani, you will come to Lake Oyunuma, where the rocky cliffs and the reddish-yellow foliage contrast with each other, giving you great visual enjoyment. If you are tired of walking, you can soak your feet in the River Oyunuma Natural Footbath to get rid of fatigue, or stay overnight at a Noboribetsu Onsen hotel for more relaxation.

Address: 無番地 Noboribetsuonsencho, Noboribetsu, Hokkaido 059-0551, Japan

Hours: Open 24 hours

Phone: +81 143-84-3311

Jozankei Onsen Autumn

Jozankei Onsen: Witness the most Beautiful Fall Foliage in the Whole Valley from Futamitsuri Bridge

Best time to enjoy the Hokkaido Autumn Festival 2024 at Jozankei Onsen: Late September to mid-October

Jozankei Onsen is not only famous for its hot springs but also for its fall colors. The Onsen is set amidst lush forests and the scenery is superb. In Jozankei Onsen autumn, when the foliage leaves turn red, the view is even more mesmerizing. Take a look at the stunning autumn colors from the Hōheikyō Dam, or take the "Autumn Leaves Ropeway" at Jozankei Sapporo International Ski Resort to capture the best of the fall foliage in Jozankei Onsen. Of course, we also recommend soaking in a hot spring while enjoying the Hokkaido autumn leaves 2024 here.

Address: Jozankei Onsen Higashi 3-chome, Minami-ku, Sapporo

Hakodate Kosetsuen: A Popular Spot to Enjoy Hokkaido Fall Colors at Hakodate

Best time to admire Hokkaido red leaves at Hakodate Kosetsuen: Late October to Early November

Built in 1927 as the former villa of the Iwafune family, a well-known wealthy merchant in Hokkaido, Hakodate Kosetsuen features old Japanese-style buildings and flowers and trees in the courtyard that complement each other. During Hokkaido autumn, the maple leaves in Hakodate Kosetsuen change color, alternating between red and yellow, making the whole garden a beautiful sight.

Address: 56 Miharashicho, Hakodate, Hokkaido 042-0956, Japan

Hours: Closes 5:30 pm

Phone: +81 138-57-7210

Nakajima Park: Appreciate the Best Hokkaido Fall Foliage 2024 at Iris Pond

Best time to enjoy the Nakajima Park autumn 2024: Mid-October to early November

When it is the best time to visit Hokkaido in autumn, the golden ginkgo trees blowing in the wind seem to tell the story of the years. When you walk from the subway exit to Iris Pond, you will see yellow ginkgo trees along the way, and it is really beautiful during the fall in Hokkaido! Don't forget to bring your camera to record the beauty of the Hokkaido foliage at this moment! Iris Pond is one of the highlights of Nakajima Park. In addition to the ginkgo and maple leaves along the shore, there are also mallard ducks paddling on the surface of the lake, which is very cute. Nakajima Park is also a great spot to appreciate the Sapporo Sakura in early May.

Address: 1 Nakajimakoen, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 064-0931, Japan

Hours: Open 24 hours

Phone: +81 11-511-3924

How to get to Nakajima Park: Take the subway and get off at Nakajima Koen Station or Sapporo Horohirabashi Station on the North-South Line.

Autumn Foliage Hokkaido at Sapporo

Maruyama Park: Enjoy the Best Hokkaido Foliage around Mt. Maruyama, Mt. Moiwa and Mt. Sankakuyama

Best time to enjoy Maruyama Park Sapporo autumn 2024: Mid-October to late October

Maruyama Park, located in Sapporo, Hokkaido, is located in the dome-shaped Maruyama 226 meters above sea level. It was originally a tree testing ground established by the Meiji period's pioneering envoys, but was later converted into a park at the end of the Meiji period and during the Taisho period. In the autumn foliage season, the wide park is filled with clusters of red leaves and green vegetation, which makes the quiet scenery of late autumn gorgeous and moving. As you stroll through the park, you can observe squirrels, weeds, wild birds, and many other plants and animals apart from viewing the autumn foliage Hokkaido. In addition to being an ideal spot to enjoy Hokkaido in the fall, Maruyama Park is also a stunning place to admire Hokkaido cherry blossom in the spring season.

Address: Japan, 〒064-0959 Hokkaido, Sapporo, Chuo Ward, Miyagaoka, 3

Hours: Open 24 hours

Phone: +81 11-621-0453

3. Best Places to Avoid Crowds When Viewing Hokkaido Autumn Foliage 2024

The Hokkaido area has majestic nature, mountains, lakes, and seas. Starting from September, this is where Japan's red foliage frontline takes its first steps. Hokkaido autumn leaves season starts in mid-September and ends in early November, and is characterized by an early start and a quick end. What are some of the most famous viewing spots for autumn foliage Hokkaido 2024 that are not so crowded?

Hokkaido Fall Foliage at Shirogane Blue Pond

Shirogane Blue Pond (Aoiike)

Best time to experience Shirogane Blue Pond autumn 2024: Early October

Biei is a quiet town surrounded by rolling hills. The most popular attraction in this picturesque town is the Shirogane Blue Pond. The water of the pond is a dreamy blue color, and the dry larch trees at the edge of the pond add to its charm. When it is the best time for the Hokkaido autumn foliage, the yellow color of the larch and birch trees surrounding the pond is reflected in the water, and the pond is tinted a golden yellow. The Biei River, to which the Aoike trail leads, is also known as the Blue River, and the contrast between the clear blue water and the red leaves creates a beautiful scene of autumn in Hokkaido Japan. After the red leaf season, from November every year, Shirogane Blue Pond is illuminated at night and transformed into a mysterious dreamy winter landscape of white and blue.

Address: Shirogane, Biei, Kamikawa District, Hokkaido 071-0235, Japan

Phone: +81 166-92-4321

Lake Akan

Best time to appreciate the Hokkaido autumn colours 2024 at Lake Akan: Late September to Early October

Located in Kushiro City in the eastern part of Hokkaido, Lake Akan is a crater lake that represents the tourist destination of eastern Hokkaido. Lake Akan is the home of the Japanese special nature conservation plant Chlorella. Don’t miss the Marimo Exhibition and Observation Center on Churui Island on the lake where you can see amazing Chlorella. It is recommended that you take an excursion boat or a motorboat to enjoy the autumn foliage Hokkaido 2024 from a distance on the lake.

Lake Shikotsu

Best time to enjoy Lake Shikotsu autumn 2024: Mid to late October

Lake Shikotsu, with its clear and transparent water, good ecological environment, and unique ecological flavor, is a must-see place for maple viewing during autumn in Hokkaido Japan. When the red maple leaves are reflected in the clear water of the lake, the scenery is like a dream. The contrast between the red leaves and the reflection in the lake makes people marvel at the ingenious work of nature.

Fall Foliage in Hokkaido

Shinsen-numa Marsh

Best time to see Hokkaido autumn colors 2024 at Shinsen-numa Marsh: Early to mid-October

The fall foliage of Shinsen-numa Marsh in the ski resort Niseko is said to be the most beautiful autumn leaves in Hokkaido, and is located on a plateau with an elevation of 750 meters. About 20 minutes from the entrance, you can see this legendary marsh, which is beautifully surrounded by alpine flora and red Ezo pines. There are also a large wetland and many ponds around it, giving people a mysterious feeling.

Address: Maeda, Kyowa, Iwanai District, Hokkaido 048-2201, Japan

Access: Take the Hakodate Main Line from JR Sapporo Station to Niseko and transfer to a taxi for 30 minutes.

Shiretoko Goko Lakes

Best time to admire Hokkaido fall leaves 2024 at Shiretoko Goko Lakes: Mid-October

Shiretoko Goko Lakes preserves the most pristine natural scenery. There are two tourist trails around it, where you can enjoy both the beautiful Hokkaido autumn foliage and the lake view at the same time. The "Elevated Wooden Path" offers a stunning view of one of the lakes and takes about 20 minutes to complete. The "Ground Pathways" allow you to walk around the other four lakes. While enjoying the autumn leaves here, you may meet with fish, birds, and other animals, making it a vivid scene to enjoy more about the Hokkaido autumn festival 2024.

Lake Notoro

Best time to enjoy Hokkaido fall colours 2024 at Lake Notoro: Mid-late September

Lake Notoro is located in Abashiri City, which is connected to the Sea of Okhotsk. Coral grass grows here, and around the middle of September every year, the whole area around the lake is colored in deep red. In autumn, the coral grasses become as beautiful as coral, and their deep red color becomes a distinctive feature. The "red leaves" here are completely different from those of deciduous trees, and they look unique in Hokkaido in the fall.

Fall in Hokkaido

Enjoy More Japan Autumn Colors 2024 in Other Regions:

●Fall Colors in the Kanto Region:

>>>Autumn Leaves Tokyo 2024

>>>Mt. Fuji Fall Foliage 2024

>>>Nikko Japan Fall Foliage 2024

>>>Hakone Autumn Leaves 2024

●Fall Colors in the Kansai Region:

>>>Autumn Foliage Kyoto 2024

>>>Osaka Red Leaves 2024

●Fall Colors in the Kyushu Region:

>>>Kyushu Autumn Leaves 2024

>>>Fukuoka Fall Foliage 2024

4. Top 3 Destinations to See Fall Foliage in Japan

There are so many places to see fall foliage in Japan, but which one is the top 1? AirTrip, a Japanese travel company, has released the results of a questionnaire survey conducted from September 22 to 26, 2023, targeting people over 20 years of age about autumn. The following is a list of destinations where Japanese people would like to go to enjoy the autumn leaves:

No. 3: Hokkaido

Hokkaido may give people a strong impression of winter because of its snow festivals and snow sports, but it is actually a great place to visit in autumn. Hokkaido is not as cold in the fall as it is in the winter, and visitors can enjoy Hokkaido's magnificent nature at a leisurely pace. There are many best places to visit in Hokkaido during autumn to view the red leaves, such as the Jozankei Onsen in Sapporo, Asahidake, the highest peak in Hokkaido, and the Shirogane Blue Pond in Biei. Visitors can also enjoy delicious food such as okonomiyaki, hairy crabs, and gunnery squid, and these autumn flavors unique to Hokkaido are also a great attraction to enjoy fall in Hokkaido.

No.2: Nagano

Nagano Prefecture is home to many famous attractions such as Tsugaike Nature Garden, Shirakoma Pond, and Karuizawa. Among them, the Tsugaike Nature Garden is one of the most famous alpine wetlands in Japan, with an elevation of 1,900 meters above sea level. When snow accumulates on the top of the mountain, you can enjoy a beautiful scene of snow, red leaves, and green leaves, which complement each other perfectly. There are so many different kinds of fall foliage in Nagano alone that it's no wonder visitors would like to come back again and again during the autumn leaves season in Japan.

Kyoto Autumn Leaves at Arashiyama

No.1: Kyoto

Kyoto has a number of scenic spots where you can enjoy both traditional architecture with a sense of history and the beauty of the autumn leaves. Visitors can enjoy the unique scenery at various places such as Rurikouin Temple, Eikando (Zenrin Temple), and Kiyomizu Temple. In addition, the Sagano Excursion Train, which passes between the famous Arashiyama, is popular for its stunning view of Kyoto red leaves from inside the train.

Even though Hokkaido autumn leaves ranked third place, it still is worthy of a visit. If your time permits, highly recommend you enjoy Kyoto fall foliage and Nagano autumn leaves after you experience the Hokkaido autumn festival, so as to witness more fall colors in Japan.

5. Experience More Adventures in Hokkaido in the Fall Foliage Season 2024

Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, is a fantastic destination for autumn adventures, offering stunning natural landscapes, cultural experiences, and outdoor activities. Here are some cannot-missed highlights to experience in Hokkaido autumn 2024 in addition to viewing the earliest fall foliage.

●Relax in Hot Springs (Onsen)

Noboribetsu Onsen: It is one of the best hot springs in Hokkaido, offering various baths with mineral-rich waters.

Lake Toya: Enjoy the lakeside hot springs with stunning views of the autumn foliage in Hokkaido.

Niseko Onsen: While known for its winter sports, Niseko also offers beautiful autumn scenery and numerous hot springs.

●Outdoor Activities and Adventures

Cycling and Hiking: The cooler weather during autumn in Hokkaido Japan is perfect for outdoor activities. Consider cycling around the lakes of Akan National Park or hiking in the mountains of the Niseko area.

Furano and Biei: Known for their flower fields in summer, these areas also offer stunning autumn landscapes. Take a scenic drive or bike ride through the rolling hills and patchwork fields.

Autumn in Hokkaido Japan

Take a Scenic Drive

Shiretoko Pass: Offers panoramic views of the Shiretoko Peninsula and is particularly beautiful in autumn in Hokkaido.

Niseko Panorama Line: A scenic route through mountains and forests, perfect for leaf-peeping.

Enjoy Seasonal Foods

Kani (Crab): Autumn is the season for Hokkaido's delicious crab. Visit a seafood market or try a crab feast at a local restaurant.

Jingisukan (Mongolian Barbecue): This lamb dish is popular in Hokkaido and is especially hearty in the cooler autumn weather.

Experience Autumn Festivals

Sapporo Autumn Fest: This is a food festival celebrating the harvest season with local delicacies, held in Odori Park from September 6 to 29.

Marimo Matsuri: A unique festival at Lake Akan celebrating the marimo algae from 8th Oct to 10th Oct.

Hokkaido Chrysanthemum Festival: Held in various locations, showcasing beautiful chrysanthemum displays during October and November.

Wildlife Watching

Kushiro Shitsugen National Park: Known for its marshlands and the chance to see red-crowned cranes.

Shiretoko Peninsula: Home to brown bears, deer, and other wildlife, especially active during autumn in Hokkaido.

Enjoy Local Crafts and Souvenirs

Ningle Terrace in Furano: This picturesque collection of craft shops in a forest setting is perfect for finding unique Hokkaido-made souvenirs.

Otaru Glass Workshops: Otaru is famous for its glassware, and you can visit workshops to see artisans at work or even try your hand at making your own glass items.

Go Fruit Picking

Apple and Grape Picking: Visit orchards around Yoichi and Niki for a hands-on experience of the Hokkaido autumn harvest.

Furano Wine Factory: Learn about the local wine production and enjoy some tastings.

Hokkaido in autumn is a haven for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and those looking to experience the rich culture and traditions of northern Japan. Whether you hope to enjoy outdoor adventures, relax in hot springs, or taste local cuisine, Hokkaido has something to offer for everyone during this colorful season, more than just admiring red leaves. Contact us to make your Hokkaido autumn tour more enjoyable and memorable.

Hokkaido in Fall

Conclusion

In mid-to-late September, it's time for Hokkaido's fall foliage. Although it is famous for its snow scenery and skiing in winter, the colorful autumn natural feast here is mesmerizing! When you visit Hokkaido in autumn 2024, you can take a tour bus and overlook the autumn colors of Hokkaido from the ropeway, or ride a bicycle to see the colorful red leaves on both sides, or kayak to admire the fall foliage from the lake, and of course, you can also soak in the open-air hot springs to listen to the whispering autumn leaves in Hokkaido. Join us to embark on a private guided tour to enjoy the autumn foliage Hokkaido 2024!

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