Japan Autumn Season – A Guide To Nature’s Best Artwork!

Japan Autumn Season – A Guide To Nature’s Best Artwork!

Japan autumn leaves forecast 2019
The colourful autumn view of Mt. Fuji, framed by red leaves, as seen from across Lake Kawaguchiko!

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As summer starts to leave the horizon and autumn colours start to gently slide into nature, Japan starts basking in a glow of yellow, orange and red.  If you think that the cherry blossom season (spring) is the best time to visit the land of the rising sun, you should visit Japan in the autumn season to stand corrected! Besides, if you are in search of a budget-friendly Japan vacation, autumn is the best season – it is the perfect combination of mildly cold weather, picturesque vistas, less-crowded places and slashed hotel prices!

Autumn in Japan - Best Time To Visit!

Japan autumn season
The cascading Akiu Waterfall in Sendai
In Japan, autumn is known as koyo and the natural phenomenon of the leaves changing their colour is called momiji (meaning red leaf). The Japanese tradition of searching for the most beautiful coloured leaves is called momijigari. Super popular in Japan for centuries, and slowly getting popular with tourists too now, momijigari literally translates to ‘hunting red leaves’; momiji means red leaves and gari or kari means hunting.

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When is Japan Autumn Season?

Kyoto autumn season - Daigo ji temple
Autumn leaves at the Daigo ji temple in Kyoto
From mid-October to mid-December, the trees in Japan turn into vivid shades of yellow, orange and red, announcing the fall season. The Japan autumn leaves forecast for 2019 has been predicted, and, unlike the sakura season (cherry blossoms in spring), the autumn season lasts for a relatively longer period - almost two months, giving you enough time to plan the perfect Japan autumn itinerary.
Golden-yellow hues paint a pretty picture in the Takachiho George on the island of Kyushu
Fall spreads its colours in Japan from the north to the south. The autumn season in 2019 will begin in late October in Japan's northern region of Hokkaido and will slowly make its way to the southern part of the country in the Kyushu Region.

Also read: 9 Best Places To Enjoy Fall Colours In 2019

Best Places To See Autumn Season In Japan

Japan fall season
The Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima covered in a hue of yellow
Mother Nature spares no place when she decides to turn Japan into her masterpiece! There is no dearth of stunning places to enjoy the fall colours in Japan and no matter where you go, you will be rewarded with hauntingly gorgeous views. Views that’ll leave an impression on your mind, heart and soul…
Tokyo autumn season
Autumn colours in the Yoyogi Park in Tokyo
Having said that however, just to help you out with your Japanese autumn itinerary planning, we have handpicked a few destinations.
  • Tokyo - The Yoyogi Park, the Rikugien Garden, Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Avenue and Mount Takao. You can also take a day triip from Tokyo to Lake Kawaguchi and witness stunning autumn views of Mt. Fuji!
    Beautiful yellow leaves of Ginkgo trees in Tokyo, Japan
    The glorious yellow-golden coloured leaves of ginkgo trees lining the Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Avenue, Japan. You can see this brilliant display of fall colours by mid - late November
  • Kyoto - The Buddhist temple of Daitoku-ji, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tenryū-ji and the Kyoto Botanical Gardens.
  • Osaka - The Daisen Park, the Minoo Park and from atop the Hoshi No Buranko bridge in Hoshida.
  • Hiroshima – The heart touching Peace Memorial Park, the Hiroshima Castle and the Fudoin Temple.
  • Kobe – The Tsuzumigataki Park, the Mount Rokkō and the Kobe Municipal Arboretum.

This Japan travel guide will help you out with your trip planning!

Japan Autumn Festivals

Japan autumn itinerary
This is how beautiful autumn looks in Sapporo, Japan
There are several Japan autumn festivals that celebrate the arrival of the season with gusto. The most famous one being the Nagasaki Kunchi Festival. Started over 350 years ago, this festival will have you witnessing joyous processions of mikoshi floats and dragon dances. The Shuki Taisai Grand Autumn Festival which is celebrated in the Nikko area is another autumn festival that you should definitely experience. Beginning with traditional Japanese horseback archery, the highlight of this festival is the Parade of 1000 Samurai Warriors where 1000 men dressed as Edo-era soldiers take out a procession. If you plan to visit Kyoto during autumn, plan your holiday around the 22nd of October. Because that’s the day the annual Jidai Matsuri festival is held to celebrate the anniversary of the foundation of Kyoto. The highlight of this festival is the parade that has people dressed up in costumes that depict over 1100 years of Japan’s and Kyoto’s history.

Also read: Top 7 Japan Tourist Attractions For Your Travel Bucket List!

Japan Autumn Trivia

Fall colours against a backdrop of the castle in Kanazawa
  • In Japan, the colours of the fall are known as koyo (red), oyo (yellow), and katsuyo (brown).
  • The Japanese tradition of momijigari originated in the Heian period, which was from 794 to 1195 AD.
  • Several eateries in Japan serve delicious maple leaf tempuras during the autumn season. The best way to wash them down is with a cup of Japanese tea.
Japan autumn photos
Autumn in the Irohazaka winding roads in Nikko
  • Not all trees’ leaves turn red or orange; while Japanese maples, rowan, burning bush, wax trees and sumac turn red, ginkgo, poplars and Japanese turn yellow or golden, and the chestnut, oak and beech trees turn into a beautiful shade of brown.
  • During the autumn season, you will find the enchanting chrysanthemum flowers painting the country is a hue of yellow, pink and orange.
  • Many regions in Japan have holidays during the end of September, especially around the Autumnal Equinox Day. This leads to a rise in the numbers of locals travelling for momijigari. Plan your vacation accordingly.
Now that you have this guide to nature’s best artwork, where do you plan on going to this Japanese Autumn Season? Tokyo? Kyoto? Osaka? Sapporo? Or someplace else? Let us know by commenting below 😊

Also read: 8 Places Outside Japan Where You’ll Witness Beautiful Cherry Blossoms

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