Autumn in Japan: 2023 autumn leaves forecast & must-visit places

Lifestyle
04 Oct 2023
10 mins read
Written by Riona lye

You know, it’s not just the cherry blossoms that capture the Japanese spirit. Autumn in Japan has its own magic, with vibrant yellow and red foliage that’s simply enchanting. So, if you’re curious about experiencing this beautiful season, keep reading to learn when to see autumn leaves in Japan and where to go in Japan during autumn.

When is autumn in Japan?

If you’re one of us who’s used to the tropical heat, figuring out when fall kicks in can be a bit of a puzzle. But don’t worry about Googling “when does autumn start in Japan” – we got you covered! Autumn officially starts in September, and if you’re looking for the precise date for autumn foliage, the Japanese meteorological department pins it down to around October 28, 2023.

How long do autumn season last in Japan?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how long do autumn season last in Japan, let’s grasp a key point: there are two stunning waves of autumn foliage to enjoy:

  • In late October, you’ll be treated to those beautiful yellow leaves of Ginkgo trees.
  • Then, as we roll into early November, it’s time for the fiery red leaves of Japanese maple trees.

autumn in japan forecast

Now, it’s worth noting that the peak colours can vary depending on where you are in Japan. Factors like elevation and weather can stretch the autumn spectacle sometimes all the way into late November or even early December. Mother Nature likes to keep us on our toes!

So, if you’re thinking about catching the peak of fall foliage in Japan, you might be wondering when is the best time to visit Japan in autumn, right? Well, the prime time to soak in the glorious autumn leaves is towards the end of November. That’s when nature puts on its most vibrant display!

Predicted schedule for enjoying yellow autumn foliage

yellow foliage

Location

Forecast for yellow leaves

Average date for yellow leaves

Sapporo

6 Nov

4 Nov

Aomori

6 Nov

2 Nov

Sendai

29 Nov

23 Nov

Tokyo

25 Nov

23 Nov

Kanazawa

10 No

10 Nov

Nagano

14 Nov

10 Nov

Nagoya

18 Nov

18 Nov

Kyoto

27 Nov

24 Nov

Osaka

24 Nov

22 Nov

Wakayama

26 Nov

23 Nov

Hiroshima

20 Nov

15 Nov

Kochi

15 Nov

15 Nov

Fukuoka

17 Nov

20 Nov

Kagoshima

28 Nov

25 Nov

Predicted schedule for enjoying red autumn foliage

arashiyama boat

Location

Forecast for red leaves

Average date for red leaves

Sapporo

8 Nov

28 Oct

Aomori

14 Nov

13 Nov

Sendai

27 Nov

21 Nov

Tokyo

30 Nov

28 Nov

Kanazawa

30 Nov

24 Nov

Nagano

22 Nov

12 Nov

Nagoya

2 Dec

28 Nov

Kyoto

11 Dec

5 Dec

Osaka

3 Dec

1 Dec

Wakayama

12 Dec

6 Dec

Hiroshima

28 Nov

22 Nov

Kochi

9 Dec

2 Dec

Fukuoka

9 Dec

1 Dec

Kagoshima

13 Dec

15 Dec

Must visit places in Japan autumn

Now that you’ve got the autumn leaves schedule down, the next step is to choose the perfect place to soak in those breathtaking yellow and red landscapes. So, where to see autumn leaves in Japan?

P.S. You’re not restricted to these options. The ones listed below are just suggestions, and you’re free to pick and choose as you like. 

Tokyo

Calling all laid-back hikers and train enthusiasts, this one’s for you! We’ve got a mountain that won’t put your physical strength to the test – Mount Takao. Just hop on a train and let it carry you to the top, where you can bask in the glorious autumn reds. Or, if you’re up for a picnic, Ueno Park or Yoyogi Park are excellent options, though be warned, they can get pretty crowded.

For a dose of time travel, why not swing by Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens? You’ll step right into the Edo period and see autumn through the eyes of the old Tokugawa Lord. It’s like a trip back in time!

Osaka

Sure, Osaka is famous for its foodie paradise and the thrilling Universal Studio Japan, but life’s about more than just fun and feasting, right? So here are still some fantastic places to explore or ogle at.

Don’t skip out on Osaka Castle. It’s a chance to dip your toes into history and immerse yourself in the world of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the daimyō of the late Sengoku period.

Next up, make your way to Daisen Park, a sprawling 26,000-square-meter Japanese garden built to celebrate Sakai city’s centenary. Fun fact: right next to the park, you’ll find the tomb of Emperor Nintoku. The park is so massive that you might need a good hour to soak it all in.

And if you happen to have some extra time on your hands, why not hop on a train to Nara Park? Here, you can have close encounters with the resident deer (though watch out for those nibbling antics!) while you explore the park’s scenic beauty. Osaka’s got more to offer than meets the eye!

Kyoto

First up, make your way to Arashiyama and hop on a Hozu River Boat Tour – you might even spot some playful monkeys in action along the way.
If you’re more into the idea of enjoying a meal with a view, no worries – there are plenty of restaurants nearby where you can slurp down some delicious soba noodles while soaking in the scenery.

Feeling like your love life could use a little boost? Swing by Jishu Shrine at Kiyomizudera, a shrine dedicated to the deity of love and matchmaking.
And if you’re in the mood for a touch of nostalgia, why not don a kimono and take a leisurely stroll down Higashiyama? It’s like stepping back in time with its feudal-era charm, and you can even do some shopping in these picturesque lanes. Plenty of adventures await in Arashiyama and beyond!

Other prefectures and cities to consider

Sure, you’re not restricted to just these four spots. You’ve got the whole wide world to explore, including other cities and regions. The only little hurdle is that you might need to hop on another flight, bus, or even a cruise to reach these different cities and prefectures. But hey, as they say, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and a bit of cash can certainly help smoothen the journey!

Fukuoka Prefecture
  • Kitakyushu
Hyogo Prefecture
  • Kobe
  • Himeji
  • Tamba
Kanagawa Prefecture
  • Hakone
  • Odawara
  • Kamakura
Saitama Prefecture
  • Chichibu
  • Nagatoro
  • Hanno
Tochigi Prefecture
  • Nasu
Miyagi Prefecture
  • Sendai
Nagano Prefecture
  • Karuizawa
Ishikawa Prefecture
  • Kanazawa
Aichi Prefecture
  • Nagoya
  • Okazaki
Gifu Prefecture
  • Takayama
  • Ena
  • Nakatsugawa
Shizuoka Precture
  • Atami
  • Lake Hamana

Another thing to take note of…Specifically what to wear for autumn in Japan?

While you’re out there, savouring the beauty of autumn, it’s essential to keep yourself nice and toasty. Unlike the scorching heat of summer or the bone-chilling cold of winter, autumn in Japan can be a bit unpredictable.

Month

Morning

Afternoon

Evening

October

7ºC to 12ºC

19ºC to 23ºC

7ºC to 12ºC

November

7ºC to 12ºC

14ºC to 18ºC

7ºC to 12ºC

So, rather than what to wear in Japan in autumn, your focus should be how to layer your clothes during Autumn.

To stay comfy all day, be sure to layer up in the morning. Wear clothes that allow you to shed those layers when the afternoon sun starts warming things up. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the changing seasons without breaking a sweat or shivering in the cold!

And if you’re worried about looking like a walking dumpling with too many layers, consider picking up some Uniqlo heat tech gear – it’s a game-changer!

Aside from viewing foliage, what to do in Japan during autumn?

Well, we’re not expecting you to go there and just glue your eyes to the leaves all day (although, if that’s your jam, that’s perfectly fine too). It’s more like a gentle reminder to slow down, soak in the scenery, and savour some fresh air. But when it comes to Japan, there’s just so much to do! So, how about we find a way to tick multiple boxes at once?

Onsen

One fantastic option is to indulge in an Osen bath, especially the ones outdoors. Just a quick note, though – in onsen culture, it’s customary to soak in the buff. So, if the thought of baring it all in front of strangers makes you squirm, this might not be your cup of tea.

Before you immerse yourself in that inviting hot spring, make sure to scrub up thoroughly. Nobody wants to share their relaxing soak with someone else’s dirt and grime, right?

Picnic at a park

Now, if you’re looking for another enjoyable pastime, consider having a picnic in the park. What’s great about it is that there’s no need to battle scorching heat, drenching sweat, or bone-chilling cold. The temperature is just perfect for an alfresco feast. And when it comes to food, don’t worry; you’ve got options galore. Pop into a Konbini like Lawson, 7-11, or Family Mart – these stores are like wonderlands and practically line every street in the country.

Apart from the usual snacks and drinks, you can also find hot meals, salads, and sometimes even entire dinners at some of these stores.

Alternatively, if you’re stepping off a train, keep an eye out for a train bento, also known as ekiben. They’re a tasty and convenient choice.

Need a picnic mat? No worries – just swing by a 100 yen store like Daiso, Can Do, or Seria, and you’ll find what you need without breaking the bank. Happy picnicking!

Hiking

Let’s talk about hiking. Now, when you’re in Japan, you’re likely indulging in all sorts of delicious Japanese treats, intentionally and unintentionally loading up on carbs. So why not put all that energy to good use?

Hold on, we’re not suggesting you tackle Mount Fuji or anything that intense, especially in the cold. The truth is, many of the significant temples and shrines are perched on top of hills, so it often feels like every time you visit one, you’re in for a mini-hike. Take Fushimi Inari Taisha, for instance – all those stairs up the hill make for quite a trek!

But here’s the kicker: when you reach the summit, it’s like hitting the jackpot. You’ll get to take in the breathtaking autumn foliage from a whole new perspective, and you’ll feel extra grateful for all those Oyako dons you devoured – they’ve transformed into the perfect hiking fuel! So, lace up those sneakers and get ready for a leisurely adventure that’ll leave you with stunning views and a happy belly.

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Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. All details are accurate at the time of publishing. Instarem has no affiliation or relationship with products or vendors mentioned.

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