Japan Autumn Leaves: Top Spots and Transportation Guide (Oct 2023)

Japan Autumn Leaves: Top Spots and Transportation Guide (Oct 2023)

The season for autumn leaves in Japan has arrived in 2023! Are you planning a trip to Japan in October or November? If so, don’t forget to include a visit to see the beautiful fall foliage in your itinerary.

Just a quick note here: the timing for enjoying autumn leaves in different parts of Japan depends on the temperature. In chilly Hokkaido, the maple leaves start turning red in mid-October, while in the southern region like Kyushu, it may be more suitable to admire the maple leaves in late November. So, it’s important to note down “the best viewing time.”

And the following guide will explore more than 25 popular spots for enjoying autumn foliage in 12 major cities in Japan. Let’s get started!

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Things to know about Japan Foliage 2023

The warmer climate has slightly delayed the “best viewing time” (見頃) this year

Similar to the cherry blossom season, there is an annual foliage forecast in Japan that shows the condition of leaves changing colour in different regions. The leaves transition from golden yellow to deep red in different stages. The most beautiful and suitable time to admire the autumn foliage is referred to as “見頃” by the Japanese.

The latest forecast for the 2023 autumn foliage season in Japan indicates that, due to a longer summer and heatwave this year, the timing for the leaves to change colour for both maple and ginkgo trees will be slightly later than last year.

Japan foliage forecast for 2023

Here, you can find a brief Japan foliage forecast for 2023. Autumn leaves can be found from late September to early December.

2023 Japan Autumn Leaves Forecast
Region Prefecture / Location Best Viewing Period
Hokkaido Sapporo, Furano Late September to early November
Tohoku / Hokuriku Aomori, Ishikawa Late September to early December
Kanto Tokyo Early October to early December
Chubu Toyama, Nagano, Aichi Late September to early December
Kansai Osaka, Kyoto, Nara Mid-October to early November
Chugoku, Shikoku Okayama, Hiroshima Early October to late November
Kyushu Fukuoka, Kagoshima Late November to early December
*Note: The foliage period may vary each year due to climate differences. Please refer to the official forecast for each year.

This is a illustration to show the best time to see red leaves in Japan.

Japan autumn leaves 2023: Top must-visit regions

When it comes to the Japan Fall Foliage, the following cities are a must-visit spot:

  • Tokyo
  • Kyoto
  • Hokkaido
  • Kyushu
  • Kumamoto
  • Kagoshima 
  • Nagoya
  • Ishikawa
  • Okayama

Every city has its own unique charm, so it is highly recommended to explore the autumn foliage in multiple cities, allowing you to experience their own distinct atmosphere and breathtaking sights.

Tokyo fall foliage forecast 2023: Late September to early December

Tokyo is definitely a top choice when it comes to enjoying autumn foliage in Japan. The city offers numerous parks and scenic spots with different features. Picture this: you’re strolling through Tokyo, and suddenly, you find yourself surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colours in the mesmerising Yoyogi Park. It’s like walking in a dream! And oh, let’s not forget Rikugien Gardens, where you can immerse yourself in an Edo-style wonderland of autumn foliage. 

The autumn foliage season in Tokyo and the Kanto region is expected to be slightly later than last year. The leaves on Mount Takao are predicted to turn red and reach their best viewing time in mid-to-late November. In Tokyo, the foliage is expected to last until late November or even early December, offering beautiful views of both red leaves and ginkgo trees.

2023 Tokyo Autumn Leaves Recommendations
Location Address Transportation
Yoyogi Park 2-1 Yoyogi Kamizonocho, Shibuya City 5-minute walk from Harajuku Station
Rikugien Gardens 6 Chome-16 Honkomagome, Bunkyo City 10-minute walk from Komagome Station (JR)
Hibiya Park 1-6 Hibiya Koen, Chiyoda City 2-minute walk from Kasumigaseki Station or Hibiya Station, 8-minute walk from JR Yurakucho Station
Mizumoto Park 3-2 Mizumotokoen, Katsushika City Take a bus from JR Kanamachi Station to Mizumoto Park
Mount Takao Nishiguchi, Hachioji City Take a cable car from Takaosanguchi Station
Lake Okutama Okutamamachi, Nishitama County Take a bus for about 15 minutes from Okutama Station

Yoyogi Park: Near Harajuku Station

 

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Yoyogi Park is a convenient resting place in Tokyo, located near Harajuku Station. With over 1,000 trees, the park turns into a magnificent sight during the autumn and winter seasons.

Rikugien Gardens: An Edo-style garden

Rikugien Gardens is a famous classical Edo-style Japanese garden in Tokyo, near Komagome Station. During the autumn foliage season, from November to early December, the garden is open for evening maple viewing.

Hibiya Park: Stunning Ginkgo and maple trees

Hibiya Park is a historic park near the Imperial Palace Outer Garden in Tokyo. With various trees, including ginkgo and maple, the park offers beautiful views during the autumn foliage season.

Mizumoto Park: Riverside stroll for maple viewing

Mizumoto Park is a large riverside park located away from the city centre of Tokyo. During the autumn foliage season, visitors can enjoy a romantic stroll along the river while experiencing the autumn and winter atmosphere.

Mount Takao: Cable car ride for maple viewing

Mount Takao serves as an indicator for the autumn foliage forecast in the Tokyo area. It takes about 50 minutes to reach Mount Takao Station from central Tokyo, and once you arrive, you can purchase tickets to take a cable car up the mountain.

Lake Okutama: Visit the floating bridge and enjoy the scenic lake and mountains

 

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Lake Okutama is located on the outskirts of Tokyo, near Yamanashi Prefecture. To get there, you need to take an approximately 2-hour JR train ride. Visitors can prepare a round-trip ticket in advance. Along the lakeside of Lake Okutama, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of red leaves covering the mountains, and you can also visit the “floating bridge” on the lake.

Kyoto / Osaka / Nara autumn leaves 2023 forecast: Mid-November to late December

The Kansai region’s weather forecast for autumn foliage is expected to be similar to last year. The best viewing time for Kyoto, Osaka, and Nara is predicted to be from mid-November to late November. However, this year, the Kansai region may experience more rainfall than usual, so it is advisable to check the weather forecast before visiting for autumn foliage.

2023 Kyoto, Osaka, Nara Autumn Leaves Recommendations
Location Address Transportation
Osaka Castle Park Osaka Castle, Chuo Ward, Osaka 5-minute walk from Osaka Castle Park Station, Morinomiya Station, or Tanimachi 4-Chome Station
Mount Minoo Minoo, Osaka Prefecture About a 20-minute walk from Minoo Station
Maruyama Park Machiya-cho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto Take bus 50 or 101 from Kyoto Station to Kitano Tenmangu
Eikando Temple Ichijoji-Kudaricho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto 15-minute walk from Ichijoji Station or take a bus from Kyoto Station
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove Arashiyama, Kyoto Take the Randen Line to Arashiyama Station or take bus 11 from central Kyoto to Arashiyama
Nara Park Nara City, Nara Prefecture Take a loop bus from Nara Station to Kasuga Taisha-mae, then walk for about 5 minutes
Todaiji Temple 157 Hokkeji-cho, Nara City, Nara Prefecture Take a temporary bus from Nara Station or Kintetsu Nara Station

Osaka Castle Park: Majestic foliage in the heart of Osaka

Osaka Castle Park, located in Chuo Ward, Osaka, offers a stunning display of autumn leaves against the backdrop of the iconic Osaka Castle. It is just a 5-minute walk from Osaka Castle Park Station, Morinomiya Station, or Tanimachi 4-Chome Station. Take a leisurely stroll through the park and immerse yourself in the vibrant colours of the foliage.

Mount Minoo: Nature’s autumn wonderland

 

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Located in Osaka Prefecture, Mount Minoo is a picturesque destination for enjoying the beauty of autumn leaves. It is about a 20-minute walk from Minoo Station. As you hike up the mountain, you’ll be surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colours as the leaves change. The view from the observation deck at the mountaintop is particularly breathtaking, offering panoramic views of the vibrant foliage stretching across the landscape.

In addition to being home to one of the top 100 waterfalls in Japan, Minoo Falls (箕面大滝, Minoo Otaki), the park is also known for its abundant maple and autumn leaves. A must-try local delicacy is the “Maple Leaf Tempura” (もみじの天ぷら, Momiji no Tempura).

Maruyama Park: Serene beauty in the Heart of Kyoto

Maruyama Park, situated in Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, is a popular spot for hanami (花見, cherry blossom viewing) in spring and an equally enchanting destination for autumn foliage. To reach the park, take bus 50 or 101 from Kyoto Station to Kitano Tenmangu.

As you wander through the park, you’ll be captivated by the sight of ancient maple trees adorned with vibrant red and orange leaves. Find a peaceful spot to sit and savour the tranquilly of this serene oasis in the heart of Kyoto.

Eikando Temple: A tranquil retreat amidst autumn splendour

Located in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Eikando Temple is a renowned Buddhist temple famous for its stunning autumn foliage. It is a 15-minute walk from Ichijoji Station or accessible by bus from Kyoto Station. As you explore the temple grounds, you’ll be greeted by a mesmerising array of maple trees ablaze with colour.

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove: A surreal experience of nature’s beauty

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, located in the Arashiyama district of Kyoto, is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts. To reach the grove, you can take the Randen Line to Arashiyama Station or bus 11 from central Kyoto. As you walk through the towering bamboo stalks, you’ll feel like you’ve entered a magical realm, with the golden hues of the bamboo complemented by the vibrant foliage.

Nara Park: Ancient capital’s autumn delight

 

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Nara Park, situated in Nara City, Nara Prefecture, is renowned for its historical landmarks and friendly deer population. To reach the park, you can take a loop bus from Nara Station to Kasuga Taisha-mae and then walk for about 5 minutes. In autumn, the park’s maple trees transform into a riot of colours, providing a stunning backdrop to the ancient temples and shrines. You can take a leisurely stroll through the park and interact with the friendly deer while enjoying the serene beauty of the autumn foliage.

Todaiji Temple: Majestic foliage amidst ancient architecture

Todaiji Temple, located in Nara City, Nara Prefecture, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a history spanning approximately a thousand years and is home to the iconic Great Buddha statue. You can reach the temple by taking a temporary bus from Nara Station or Kintetsu Nara Station.

The temple is surrounded by 3,000 trees, including maple trees, which all turn vibrant colours in late autumn. It’s definitely a place to visit.

Hokkaido autumn leaves forecast 2023: Late September to late October

In Hokkaido, the mountainous and northern regions are expected to turn red and reach their best viewing time in late September. The lowland areas are expected to transition to red from mid- to late-October. For cities like Hakodate in the southern region, there may still be autumn leaves to see until November.

Hokkaido is known for its vast natural landscapes and is one of the earliest regions in Japan to experience autumn. Therefore, it is highly recommended to check the autumn foliage forecast carefully before visiting different areas in Hokkaido.

2023 Hokkaido Autumn Leaves Recommendations
Location Address Transportation
Sapporo, Hokkaido Shrine Miyanomori, Chuo Ward, Sapporo 10-minute walk from Maruyama Koen Station
Lake Shikotsu Lake Shikotsu Hot Spring, Chitose City Take the airport bus “空4支笏湖線” from New Chitose Airport

Hokkaido Shrine: Sapporo’s maple viewing spot

Hokkaido Shrine and the surrounding Maruyama Park are famous natural and primaeval forest areas in Sapporo. The area is known for its maple and katsura trees, making it one of the most popular maple viewing spots in Sapporo.

Lake Shikotsu: Enjoying autumn leaves by the lake

Another recommended spot to see autumn foliage is Lake Shikotsu. The “Lake Shikotsu Toya National Park” surrounding Lake Shikotsu is known for its breath-taking environment, with maple and ginkgo trees covering the entire mountain. When autumn arrives, the combination of the lake and the foliage creates a magnificent view.

Kyushu autumn leaves 2023 forecast: Early November to early December

Kyushu’s warmer climate predicts that the autumn foliage season will occur from early November to early December. Because there is a significant temperature difference between urban and rural areas in Kyushu, it is recommended to check the “best viewing time” forecast for each specific location.

2023 Fukuoka Autumn Leaves Recommendations
Location Address Transportation
Seita-no-Mori Park Yawata Nishiku Seta 2-Chome 5-minute walk from Morishita Station or take a bus to “Marunouchi” and walk 5 minutes
Kamado Shrine 883 Uchimachi, Dazaifu City, Fukuoka Prefecture 30-minute walk from Nishitetsu Dazaifu Station or take a city bus

Fukuoka, located in Kyushu, has become a popular travel destination for tourists due to its direct flights. It’s also a great place to enjoy autumn foliage towards the end of the year. However, the autumn foliage in Kyushu arrives slightly later than in Tokyo.

Seta-no-Mori Park: Fukuoka’s largest park

Seta-no-Mori Park is the largest park in Fukuoka City, featuring the “Maple Valley” (もみじ谷) with over 100 trees. Visitors can enjoy the autumn scenery by the reservoir lake and from the observation deck.

Kamado Shrine: Enchanting Evening Maple Views

Kamado Shrine is located in the mountains of Dazaifu City, southeast of Fukuoka City. The shrine is surrounded by a maple-tree forest. When visiting in late autumn, you can experience the vibrant red autumn scenery, and the shrine holds maple leaf festivals and nighttime visits annually.

Kumamoto autumn foliage forecast 2023

Kumamoto, which has gained popularity in recent years due to Kumamon, offers popular autumn foliage spots both in the city and on the outskirts, such as the former Hosokawa Residence Garden and Tategami Gorge.

2023 Kumamoto Autumn Leaves Recommendations
Location Address Transportation
Former Hosokawa Residence Garden 3-1 Furukyomachi, Chuo Ward, Kumamoto City 5-minute walk from Sugatamachi Station
Tategami Gorge 648-4 Tatekami, Higashikushira, Yatsushiro District Take a bus for approximately 15 minutes from JR Araso Station to “Tategami-kyo Park Entrance”

Former Hosokawa Residence Garden: Evening maple viewing you shouldn’t miss

The Former Hosokawa Residence Garden, located on the outskirts of Kumamoto Castle, is a popular spot for locals and tourists to enjoy autumn foliage. The garden is home to maple and ginkgo trees, and during the late November to early December autumn foliage season, it is open for evening viewing.

Tategami Gorge: Enjoying autumn foliage with a suspension bridge

Tategami Gorge is a suburban area of Kumamoto City that is relatively close to the city centre. It can be reached by taking a JR train from Kumamoto City Centre to Araso Station and then taking a bus. The gorge is known for its various maple trees, and visitors can enjoy the vibrant autumn foliage while crossing the suspension bridge.

Kagoshima autumn leaves recommendations 2023

Kagoshima, located in scenic southern Kyushu, is a great place to enjoy autumn foliage. Many of the recommended spots are located outdoors, making them perfect for self-driving or hiking excursions.

2023 Kagoshima Autumn Leaves Recommendations
Location Address Transportation
Kanmuriyama Kanmuriyama, Ichiki-Kushikino City About 25-30 minutes by car from JR Kushikino Station
Sogi Waterfall 628-41 Oguno, Isa City, Kagoshima Prefecture Take the “Nankoku Kotsu Bus” from JR Shimomuta Station

Kanmuriyama: Experience the ambience of famous mountains, ideal for self-driving

Kanmuriyama, located in Ichiki-Kushikino City, Kagoshima, is known as a famous mountain on the island. It has a hiking trail that is approximately 10 km long, with maple trees and a classical Chinese-style garden. Due to its remote location, it is recommended to drive there on your own.

Sogi Waterfall: Waterfall with autumn leaves, unique scenery

Sogi Waterfall (Sogi no Taki) is located in the town of Isa City and is a group of waterfalls with unique landforms. In autumn, the ginkgo and maple leaves on the mountainside surrounding the waterfall will change colour, creating a unique view.

Kagoshima Autumn leaves 2023 spots recommendations

2023 Kyushu Autumn Leaves Recommendations
Location Address Transportation
Ichiki-Kushikino City Ichiki-Kushikino City, Kagoshima About 25 to 30 minutes by car from JR Kushikino Station
Sonomi Waterfalls 628-41 Ogomimachi, Isa City, Kagoshima Prefecture Take the “Nankoku Kotsu Bus” from JR Shin-Minamata Station

Kyushu, located in the beautiful southern part of Japan, is known for its stunning autumn foliage. Many of the recommended spots are located in the great outdoors, making them perfect for self-driving trips or hiking excursions.

Ichiki-Kushikino City: Experience the Majesty of the Famous Mountains

Ichiki-Kushikino City is home to the famous mountain range known as “Kandake.” It is considered a sacred mountain in Kagoshima Prefecture and features a 10-km hiking trail lined with maple trees and a Chinese-style garden. Due to its remote location, it is recommended to drive to the area.

Sonomi Waterfalls: Unique Combination of Waterfalls and Autumn Foliage

Sonomi Waterfalls (Sonomi no Taki) are a group of unique waterfalls located in Isa City. During autumn, the ginkgo and maple leaves on the surrounding mountains change colour, creating a breathtaking view.

Nagoya Autumn leaves 2023 spots recommendations

As another popular tourist spot, Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture has an early autumn foliage season, which typically starts in early November. As a big city, it is convenient to find natural environments to enjoy the autumn leaves.

2023 Nagoya Recommended Maple Spots
Location Address Transportation
Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens 3-70 Higashiyama Motomachi, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 3-5 minutes walk from Higashiyama Koen Station or 7 minutes from Hoshigaoka Station
Tokugawa Garden 1001 Tokugawa-cho, Higashi-ku, Nagoya 10 minutes walk from JR Ozone Station or Mori-shita Station

Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens: Conveniently located in the city

Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens is located within Nagoya City and is easily accessible. The park is spacious and features over 60 types of changing-colour plants. During the autumn season, the foliage is illuminated at night, making it a must-visit spot.

Tokugawa Garden: An Edo-style traditional garden

Tokugawa Garden is another famous Japanese-style garden located within Nagoya city. It is also a renowned spot for viewing autumn foliage. Visitors can enter the garden for a fee. In late November, the garden holds the “Autumn Foliage Festival” and illuminates the maple trees at night.

Ishikawa Japan red leaves viewing spots 2023 recommendation

Ishikawa 2023 Red Leaves Viewing Spots Recommendation
Location Address Transportation
Kenrokuen 1-4 Kenrokuen-machi, Kanazawa Take a bus from JR Kanazawa Station to Kenrokuen
Natadera Temple 122 Natani-cho, Komatsu Take a bus from JR Kagaonsen Station for approximately 30 minutes

With the opening of direct flights from Hong Kong to Komatsu City in Ishikawa Prefecture this year, visitors can easily explore both Komatsu City and various attractions in Ishikawa Prefecture. As Ishikawa is located in the Hokuriku region, the autumn foliage season is cooler, usually occurring from late October to mid-November.

Kenrokuen: One of the three great gardens in Ishikawa

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Kanazawa City is a well-known city in Ishikawa. Besides its famous old streets, it is also home to Kenrokuen, one of Japan’s “Three Great Gardens.” Kenrokuen has a spacious environment and is designed in traditional Japanese garden style. Over 100 maple trees are carefully planted, offering beautiful scenery during the autumn season.

Natadera Temple: Exquisite historical design

Natadera Temple is located in the small town of Natani-cho, between Komatsu City and Kaga City. The temple is a 1,000-year-old building with exquisite design. During the autumn season, the maple trees in the temple turn vibrant colours, creating a stunning view.

Okayama recommended maple viewing spots in 2023

Okayama is a relatively lesser-known tourist destination for foreign visitors. It belongs to the “Chugoku” region of Japan, and the timing for autumn foliage is later compared to Kansai but earlier.

2023 Okayama Recommended Maple Spots
Spot Location Transportation
Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter Kurashiki Station, Kurashiki City 10 minutes walk from JR Kurashiki Station
Korakuen Garden 803 Ashimuro, Kita-ku, Okayama Take a bus from JR Tsukumo Station to “Ashimuro-chu-no-machi,” then walk for 5 minutes

Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter: Classical architecture with autumn foliage

 

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The Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter is famous for its well-preserved traditional architecture and picturesque canals. During the autumn foliage season, the area becomes even more enchanting as the vibrant colours of the leaves complement the historic buildings. It’s a must-visit spot for those who appreciate the harmonious blend of classical architecture and nature’s beauty.

Korakuen Garden: Edo-style garden architecture

 

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Korakuen Garden is located at the northern end of Okayama City and is an important cultural property in Okayama City with a tranquil environment. The garden features a classical-style pond, flowing water, and small islands where visitors can enjoy the most traditional Edo-style autumn scenery.

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Frequently asked questions: Japan Autumn leaves

Where can I see autumn leaves in Osaka?

Mount Minoo, located in Minoo, Osaka Prefecture, offers a picturesque destination for enjoying autumn leaves. It is about a 20-minute walk from Minoo Station.

What are the top autumn foliage spots in Kyoto?

Maruyama Park in Kamigyo Ward is a popular spot known for its enchanting autumn foliage. Take bus 50 or 101 from Kyoto Station to Kitano Tenmangu to reach the park.

Eikando Temple in Sakyo Ward is another renowned Buddhist temple famous for its stunning autumn foliage. It is a 15-minute walk from Ichijoji Station or accessible by bus from Kyoto Station.

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama District is a must-visit destination. You can take the Randen Line to Arashiyama Station or bus 11 from central Kyoto to reach the grove.

Where can I enjoy autumn foliage in Nara?

Nara Park in Nara City is renowned for its historical landmarks and friendly deer population. Take a loop bus from Nara Station to Kasuga Taisha-mae, then walk for about 5 minutes to explore the park.

Todaiji Temple, located in Nara City, is surrounded by 3,000 trees, including maple trees that turn vibrant colors in late autumn. Take a temporary bus from Nara Station or Kintetsu Nara Station to reach the temple.

What are the recommended autumn foliage spots in Hokkaido?

Sapporo’s Hokkaido Shrine and Maruyama Park are popular spots for maple viewing. They are conveniently located within the city and can be reached by public transport.

Lake Shikotsu, known for its breath-taking environment, offers a magnificent view of autumn foliage.

Where can I see autumn leaves in Kyushu?

Fukuoka’s Seta-no-Mori Park, featuring over 100 maple trees, provides beautiful autumn scenery. It is a 5-minute walk from Morishita Station or accessible by bus.

Kamado Shrine, located in Dazaifu City, offers enchanting evening maple views. It can be reached by a 30-minute walk from Nishitetsu Dazaifu Station or by taking a city bus.

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