Move aside cherry blossoms, because autumn is here and it’s ready to show off
As summer winds down and the end of September ushers in the beginning of fall, Japan is blanketed in a vibrant array of orange, red and yellow leaves. In fact, there are two names to describe the viewing of autumn leaves that colour this stunning country from September through December, momijigari and koyo. Each of Japan’s four distinct seasons are jaw-droppingly gorgeous, but we love the picture-perfect combination of cozy scarves, hot drinks and golden leaves. Whether you prefer bustling cities or serene nature destinations, we’ve collected some of the best spots to see Japan’s beautiful fall colours.
Bring your camera but leave your books behind when you head to Hokkaido University. You don’t have to be a student to enjoy the wide open spaces, winding walkways and most importantly, the Ginkgo Tree Avenue. These towering trees line the 380-meter-long pathway, and from mid-October to early November, they turn a brilliant shade of gold.
If you’re looking to get outside of the bustling capital city of Hokkaido, Shikotsu-Toya National Park truly has everything to offer for the nature enthusiast. Whether you want to explore spots like Nishikibashi Bridge and Toyohira River or simply relax in the hot spring town of Jozankei, everything is just an hour bus ride from the city.
Every corner of Tokyo is picturesque, but you’ll find more people than trees at popular spots like Shibuya Crossing. However, this lively city is more than just busy streets and towering buildings. Meiji Jingu Garden is also home to the famous golden gingko trees, and during peak season, 146 of these trees turn the street into a glittering golden tunnel when the sun hits just right.
Shinjuku Gyoen is a famous Imperial garden that originally belonged to Lord Naitō and is now recognized as a national park for the public to enjoy. You’ll find everything from traditional French and Japanese gardens to winding pathways and stunning ponds that reflect the rainbow of autumn colours shimmering into the water.
For those who want to explore some of the dazzling nature that Japan has to offer but aren’t up to full days of hiking or driving, look no further than the Kurobe Gorge Scenic Railway. Winding through the Japan Alps in Toyama Prefecture, this one-of-a-kind train runs through tunnels and across bridges for ever-changing views of this incredible spot.
It can be hard to know where to go with so many beautiful temples and gardens dotting Kyoto. While there is truly no wrong way to go, one of our favourite spots is the Eikando Temple grounds. An abundance of fall colours ranging from bright reds to deep oranges make it one of the most popular spots, and it’s also one of several temples that offers special opening hours in the evening. As night falls and the sun slips below the horizon, the grounds are lit by hundreds of lanterns for a completely unique experience.
In the outskirts of Kyoto lies the dazzling district of Arashiyama. Some of the best temples for autumn colours are Jojakkoji, Gioji and Tenryuji, and whichever you choose to visit, you’ll be greeted by a stunning background of forested mountains.
This volcanic mountain is world-famous and one of the most iconic landmarks in the world. Now, picture this unforgettable view framed by a breathtaking expanse of colourful autumn leaves. Making a trip to this incredible destination is a must-do, and if you’re traveling between November 1st -23rd, you can celebrate the Kawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival at the northern shore of Lake Kawaguchi.
Japan is famous for its natural landscapes and exciting cities, making it the perfect destination for every type of traveler. We think there is no better way to celebrate the beginning of fall than with nature’s own confetti – beautiful red, orange and yellow leaves decorating the country from top to bottom. Capture some of Japan’s fall magic with an unforgettable vacation shoot with one of our talented local photographers!