Explore the 10 Best Places to Visit in Japan in Fall

Daigoji Temple in Kyoto Japan in the autumn

The best places to visit in Japan in the fall aren’t just beautiful—they’re downright mesmerizing.

Picture this: an explosion of warm colors transforming serene temples, bustling cities, and tranquil landscapes into visual poetry. Intrigued?

Strap in and let’s embark on an unforgettable journey through Japan’s top 10 fall destinations.

1. Hokkaido

Daisetsuzan National Park in Autumn

Our journey begins in Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands. Famous for its untamed wilderness, Hokkaido comes alive with blazing fall foliage in October. The Daisetsuzan National Park, renowned for its rugged beauty, hosts a multitude of colors, painting the area in vibrant hues of red, yellow, and gold.

After a day spent chasing autumn leaves, nothing can beat a relaxing soak in one of the island’s natural hot springs, followed by a taste of the delicious local cuisine – the freshest seafood and delectable ramen.

Pro Travel Tip: Remember to carry some extra layers; Hokkaido can be quite chilly in the fall.

2. Nikko

shinkyo bridge Nikko Japan

Step into the history-soaked city of Nikko, nestled amidst mountains, where the past meets the present under a beautiful autumnal canvas. The vibrant fall colors provide a striking backdrop to the Toshogu Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A boat ride on Lake Chuzenji, reflecting the colorful mountains around, is a fall experience that’s nothing short of poetic. Don’t miss out on the Autumn Grand Festival, a spectacle where you can witness a Samurai Procession.

Pro Travel Tip: Keep a raincoat handy; Nikko can be a bit rainy in the fall.

3. Kyoto

sanjunoto pagoda and kiyomizudera temple in kyoto during autumn

As we venture further into our exploration, the city of Kyoto, the cultural heart of Japan, greets us with its timeless beauty. Kyoto’s temples, such as Kiyomizu-dera, and the surreal Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, take on an enchanting allure under the autumn leaves. The traditional tea ceremony, set against the fall foliage, is a quintessential Kyoto experience.

Pro Travel Tip: Autumn is the peak season in Kyoto; book your accommodation in advance.

4. Osaka

osaka castle with autumn leaves in japan

Next on our list is Osaka, a modern metropolis where skyscrapers and ancient sites coexist. Osaka Castle Park turns into a vibrant palette of colors in the fall, offering breathtaking views. End your day with a steaming bowl of Osaka’s famous Okonomiyaki – a savory pancake that is a culinary delight.

Pro Travel Tip: Use the efficient public transportation system to navigate through the city.

5. Tokyo

autumn leaves at shinjuku gyoen park in tokyo japan

Tokyo, the capital city, is up next, bustling with energy yet embracing autumn’s tranquility. A visit to the Rikugien Garden, known for its beautiful fall lighting, is a must. Look out for the many autumn festivals, including the Kichijoji Autumn Festival, that Tokyo hosts.

Pro Travel Tip: The Tokyo Metro is the best way to get around the busy city.

6. Hakone

gora park in hakone japan with water fountain and blue water

Escape the city hustle and head to Hakone, a mountainous region famous for its hot springs and natural beauty. Hakone Open-Air Museum, adorned with fall colors, is an unforgettable sight. Don’t miss a boat ride on Lake Ashinoko, surrounded by hills draped in autumn colors.

Pro Travel Tip: Get the Hakone Free Pass for unlimited travel on designated transport routes.

7. Kanazawa

Kanazawa Castle Park

Our journey continues to Kanazawa, a city that is an exciting mix of the traditional and the contemporary. The Kenroku-en Garden, one of Japan’s top three landscape gardens, is a sight to behold in the fall. After you’re done leaf-peeping, explore the local craft scene; Kanazawa is renowned for its gold leaf artistry.

Pro Travel Tip: Take a guided tour to learn about the craft-making process.

8. Nara

a woman feeding deer at Nara Park

Next, we step into Nara, Japan’s first permanent capital. The city’s historical sites, such as Nara Park and Todai-ji Temple, become even more enchanting under the warm fall foliage. Don’t forget to try the local specialty, persimmon leaf sushi, a unique culinary experience.

Pro Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes; you’ll be doing a lot of walking.

9. Aomori

autumn in onsen lake aomori japan

As we move further north, Aomori greets us with stunning landscapes that magnify its beauty during the fall. Aomori’s Towada Lake and Oirase Gorge become magical with autumn colors. The region’s vibrant food scene, especially its seafood and apples, is worth indulging in.

Pro Travel Tip: Rent a car for a more immersive experience of Aomori’s fall scenery.

10. Miyajima (Itsukushima)

bridge with red railing and autumn colors in miyajima japan

Last but not least, we land on the enchanting island of Miyajima, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Itsukushima Shrine, best known for its “floating” torii gate, is a sight to behold against the backdrop of vibrant autumn hues. A walk through Momijidani Park, named after the maple trees that turn brilliant red in the fall, is a feast for the eyes.

Pro Travel Tip: Try the local specialty, Momiji Manju, a maple leaf-shaped cake filled with sweet red bean paste.

In Conclusion

These are just a few of the best places to visit in Japan during fall, each offering its unique experience and breathtakingly beautiful canvas of autumn colors. This season holds a special place in Japanese culture, symbolizing both the beauty and the fleeting nature of life.

So, why wait? Pack your bags, and prepare yourself for an unforgettable journey through the land of the rising sun. It’s time to experience Japan like never before, under the warm glow of autumn.

Whether you’re fascinated by history, culture, food, or natural beauty, visiting Japan in the fall season offers an unforgettable experience filled with vibrant colors and unique traditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Time to Visit Japan for Autumn Foliage?

The best time to visit Japan for autumn foliage is typically from mid-October to early December. This timing varies based on the region, with northern areas like Hokkaido seeing colors change as early as September.

How Should I Pack for Fall Weather in Japan?

Fall in Japan can be chilly, particularly in the northern regions. It’s advisable to pack layers including sweaters, a light jacket, and comfortable walking shoes. Remember, always check the weather forecast before packing.

Are There Any Fall Festivals in Japan?

Yes, there are numerous fall festivals in Japan, known as “Aki Matsuri.” These range from food festivals to historical reenactments, and they offer a great opportunity to engage with local culture.

Is it Easy to Travel Between Cities in Japan?

Yes, traveling between cities in Japan is fairly easy and convenient. The country has an extensive public transportation network, including the efficient Shinkansen (bullet train) system, buses, and local trains.

What are Some Must-Try Foods in Japan During Fall?

Fall in Japan introduces a variety of seasonal delicacies. Some must-try foods include roasted sweet potatoes, persimmons, pacific saury, and dishes incorporating mushrooms and chestnuts. Plus, don’t forget to taste the seasonal “momiji manju” when in Miyajima.


About Ronaldo Stewart

Wantigo was born out of a deep passion for exploring new places and experiencing different cultures. With a keen sense of adventure and an insatiable thirst for knowledge, I’ve traveled far and wide, immersing myself in the beauty and wonder of the world.

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