Fall is a wonderful time of year in Japan because it is no longer sweltering hot, the humidity has dropped, and it is not wintery cold yet. You can also see fiery red maple leaves and gold gingko leaves! Watching fall leaves in Japan is called koyo or momiji, and lasts from October to November. However, Japan is quite vast when it comes to climate, and the time to see fall leaves in each region varies. This post will you the best times to see fall leaves in different parts of the country, so you can plan your autumn trip accordingly.
I also have a small collection of photos from my momijigari (fall leaves hunting) trip to Okazaki Park in Aichi!
And two announcements at the end of this post… dun dun dun
When to see fall leaves in Japan
Although Japan is small, the climate and seasons vary by region. Hokkaido and northern Honshu have cold winters, heavy snowfalls, and mild summers. And even though the rest of Honshu is quite hot and humid in the summers, winter season varies. Okinawa is hot enough the whole year, there are no fall leaves, as my Okinawan husband tells me.
A bit like cherry blossom season, watching fall leaves in Japan is popular fall activity for Japanese people and foreigners. Though perhaps not so drunken. The air is crisper, and I think people are generally happy that summer is over.
There are two popular types of leaves that draw a crowd: maple leaves and gingko. The maple leaves are small compared with North American maple leaves, and they turn a bright red that lights up the whole tree. The gingko leaves, which personally I prefer, are fan shaped and turn a rich golden yellow. The only downside to the gingko trees is they also drop nuts/seeds onto the ground. If you step on them, they smell like cat pee. The red maple leaves are pretty, but I like the yellow gingko leaves.
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If you are coming to Japan during the fall and want to see the fall leaves, check the guide below to make sure you will be in the right place at the right time.
> You can also see the seasons change when you Escape Kyoto And Experience Nature On The Hozugawa River
Here is table with where to see fall leaves in Japan by region and by place
When to see fall leaves in Japan by region
|Region||When to view fall leaves|
|Hokkaido||Late September to late October|
|Tohoku||Early October to early November|
|Kanto||Late October to early December|
|Chubu||Late October to early December|
|Kansai||Early November to early December|
|Chugoku||Early November to late November|
|Shikoku||Mid November to early December|
|Kyushu||Early November to late November|
|Place||When to view fall leaves|
|Tokyo||Late November to early December|
|Kamakura||Mid November to early December|
|Nikko||Early October to mid November|
|Mt. Fuji area||Early November to early December|
|Hakone||Early November to late November|
|Alpine Route Tateyama||Early October to mid November|
|Takayama||Mid October to mid November|
|Kanazawa||Early November to mid November|
|Aichi||Early November to late November|
|Nagoya||Mid November to early December|
|Kyoto||Mid November to early December|
|Arashiyama||Late November to early December|
|Osaka||Mid November to early December|
|Nara||Early November to early December|
|Koyasan||Late October to mid November|
|Miyajima (Hiroshima)||Early November to late November|
Finding fall leaves in your Japanese backyard
You don’t have to go to the most popular places to see fall leaves in Japan. Places like Kiyomizudera in Kyoto or Kamakura near Tokyo might be nice, but they will also be crowded. Remember, there will be fall leaves in smaller attractions, at parks, and just around the cities. Here are a few photos from a momijigari trip I took at a park just outside of Nagoya. It was full of red leaves, but not full of people. I also saw an elephant and a turtle because why not? There’s also a photo of a cool orange tree, and a small street covered with gingko leaves.
>> Spring is also beautiful, The Best Place To See Cherry Blossoms In Nagoya
>> And Nagoya is a lot of fun, 15 Things To Do In Nagoya That Are Worth Your Time (Free Checklist)
Autumn is a great time to visit Japan because the weather is finally comfortable, and you can see beautiful fall leaves. If your goal is to watch fall leaves, make sure you check with the table above so you will be in the right place at the right time.
Now, two things I would like to mention:
- Did you like these autumn photos? Well, if you did, please check out my new photography page. I’ve chosen a few photos I took in Japan and put them in my own personal gallery. Please check out my photography. 🙂 I want to include a bit more photography posts on my blog.
- Also, I would like to know what my readers think about my blog, so I’ve made a survey. I want to ask you to please complete the survey and let me know what you like about my blog, what you don’t like, and what I could do better. It is only a few questions, and should only take one minute. I would very much appreciate your feedback. To complete the survey, please follow this link.
What is your favourite place to watch fall leaves?