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Autumn Foliage Forecast 2022: 7 best autumn spots in Japan

Autumn Foliage Forecast 2022: 7 best autumn spots in Japan

The weather in Japan is becoming pleasant as its temperatures dip, which means the season is changing. The fall season is kicking in, which brings the vibrant colours of autumn, painting the leaves in shades of red, orange, yellow, gold, and brown. While Japan is more known for its spring sakura (桜) cherry blossom season, many visitors also consider the Japanese autumn to be the most beautiful. 

 

Momijigari (紅葉狩り), or autumn leaves-hunting, is a favourite Japanese pastime. Many places around Japan get dyed in deep red and yellow hues, including city parks and many forests. You won’t want to miss the chance to catch the beautiful sceneries of nature in action. 

 

(Image credit: JR Times)

 

Typically lasting between October to December in Japan, the peak season for autumn leaves—also known as kōyō (紅葉)—varies by region. The autumn foliage usually starts from the northernmost island of Hokkaido and by mid-October through early December, the viewing peaks in other parts of Japan, lasting between two weeks to more than a month. By the end of November, the leaves in many areas will be at their best for sightseeing. Depending on the weather conditions, the autumn colours may peak in late November or early December in some areas.

 

We include a list below of some top spots that you may want to include in your itinerary to catch the beautiful autumn colour viewing.

 

1. Osaka Castle Park (Osaka)

(Image credit: photoAC)

 

Osaka Castle Park (大阪城公園 Osaka-Jō-Kōen) has long been a well-known picnic spot for those who seek the autumn viewing experience. Boasting a huge 260-square acre area, the park offers different attractions from forests, gardens and fountains. You may also find a flower market that is usually available during the spring and fall seasons.

 

Osaka Castle Park (大阪城公園)
Address: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo-ku, Osaka 540-0002
Nearest station: Osakajokoen Station (大阪城公園駅)
Access: Take the west exit from the station and cross directly into the park
Opening hours: All-day
Admission: Free (Note that some facilities require an entrance fee)
Tel: +81 6-6755-4146

 

2. Arashiyama (Kyoto)

(Image credit: photoAC)

 

Considered one of the most stunning cities when it comes to autumn scenery, Kyoto (京都) offers an incredible landscape of fall foliage located at the outskirts of the city. In Arashiyama (嵐山), there are many spots around the area that give a gorgeous view of the changing autumn leaves. Once your eyes land on the mountainsides blanketed in fiery red and orange, you will definitely see why this district is a top hot spot chosen by tourists for the perfect autumn experience. 

 

Arashiyama (嵐山)
Address: Ukyo-ku, Kyoto 616-0007
Nearest station(s): Saga-Arashiyama Station (嵯峨嵐山駅) / Arashiyama Station (嵐山駅)
Access: 5-10 minutes walk to get to central Arashiyama from the stations
Opening hours: All-day
Admission: Free
Tel: +81 7-5861-0012

 

3. Jozankei (Hokkaido)

(Image credit: photoAC)

 

Located just an hour away from Sapporo (札幌), Jozankei (定山渓) is one of the major tourist attractions in Hokkaido (北海道). If you are planning an early autumn visit to Japan, this is the place for you; Jozankei’s fall foliage usually kicks in the earliest during October. And to get your best autumn view, you may choose to ride the tour bus called Koyo Kappa Bus (かっぱライナー Kappa rainā), which offers a 60-minute scenic ride of the best autumn spots around the area. You may also visit the infamous hot spring, nestled in between the lush scenery of reds and golds.

 

Jozankei (定山渓)
Address: Higashi 3-chome, Minami-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 061-2301
Nearest station: Sapporo Station (札幌駅)
Access: From Sapporo Station Bus Terminal, you can take the Jotetsu Bus number 7 or 8 to get to Jozankei
Opening hours: All-day
Admission: Free (note that some facilities require an entrance fee)
Tel: +81 11-598-2012

 

4. Momijidani Park (Hiroshima)

(Image credit: photoAC)

 

Momijidani Park (紅葉谷公園 Momijidani-Kōen) is one of the most representative autumn spots located on the iconic Miyajima Island (宮島) in Hiroshima Prefecture (広島県 Hiroshima-ken). Nearly two hundred maple trees lined the park, making it one of Japan’s most famous maple trees park, as shown through its name, Momijidani, which literally means “maple valley”. And it looks all the more impressive as the maple leaves shine bright red during fall season. You will enjoy a picturesque view of the famous landmark, the floating torii gate, as you walk along the river. And if you’re lucky, you will get yourself a shika deer encounter along the way!

 

Momijidani Park (紅葉谷公園)
Address: 1162-18, Miyajima-cho, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima 739-0505 
Nearest station(s): Momijidani Station (紅葉谷駅)
Access: 4-minute walk from the station via the Miyajima Ropeway route
Opening hours: All-day
Admission: Free
Tel: +81 829-30-9141

 

5. Naruko Gorge (Miyagi)

(Image credit: photoAC)

 

Tohoku (東北) is another region in Japan where autumn leaves change relatively early compared to the rest of the country. If you’re into hiking and want to enjoy more of the mountainous views, Naruko Gorge (鳴子峡 Narukokyō) offers breathtaking imagery of cliffs that are 100m high. As you walk along the safe trail, you will find the entire forestry area covered in red and yellow foliage, contrasting with the green foliage of pine trees. Due to its scenic beauty, it attracts a lot of tourists every year.

 

Naruko Gorge (鳴子峡)
Address: Furutomae Narukoonsen, Ōsaki, Miyagi 989-6826
Nearest station: Nakayamadaira Onsen Station (中山平温泉駅)
Access: 30-minute walk from the station to the gorge
Opening hours: All day
Admission: Free

 

6. Kenrokuen Garden (Ishikawa)

(Image credit: photoAC)

 

Kenrokuen Garden (兼六園) is a part of Japan’s Three Great Gardens located in Ishikawa Prefecture (石川県 Ishikawa-ken). While it is exceptionally beautiful all year round, it especially stands out during autumn amongst all the other seasons. You can bask in the tranquillity of the place and enjoy the superb view of the beautiful maples reflecting off against the calm of the water.

 

Kenrokuen Garden (兼六園)
Address: 1 Kenrokumachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-0936
Nearest station(s): Kanazawa Station (金沢駅)
Access: Exit via the Kenrokuen Exit from Kanazawa Station. Board a Hokusetsu Bus for 15 minutes, which costs 200 yen one way. Alight at Kenrokuen-shita bus station, which is a short walk from the castle park
Opening hours: 7am–6pm (March to 15 October), 8am–5pm (16 October to February)
Admission: ¥320 (Adult); ¥100 (Children)
Tel: +81 76-234-3800

 

7.  Showa Memorial Park (Tokyo)

(Image credit: photoAC)

 

Showa Memorial Park (国営昭和記念公園 Kokuei Shōwa Kinen Kōen) is located in the city of Tachikawa (立川市 Tachikawa-shi), only 30 minutes away from Central Tokyo (東京), which is easily accessible by train. It is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan city if you want to enjoy some quiet amongst the autumn leaves. The park is also famous for its gingko trees lined up by the canal near the Tachikawa Entrance. With fallen leaves carpeting the ground, it makes a great spot for a photo snap.

 

Showa Memorial Park (昭和記念公園)
Address: 3173 Midoricho, Tachikawa-shi, Tokyo 190-0014
Nearest station: Nishi-Tachikawa Station
Access: The most convenient entrance is located just outside the Nishi-Tachikawa Station
Opening hours: 8:30am–5pm
Admission: ¥450 (Adult); Free (Children)
Tel: +81 42-528-1751

 

Now that we can travel to Japan again, this is the perfect time to plan a trip to Japan and visit these colour-changing sites and bask ourselves in between trees, mountains and valleys enveloped in different shades of red.

 

If you’d like to visit more than one location, travelling by train is the most convenient and affordable, especially when you travel using our Japan Rail Pass. You also get the chance to observe the local countryside in between stations, in all its autumn glory. It will definitely make the most out of your autumn in Japan!

 

Header image credit: photoAC

 

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