Fall Foliage In Japan 2018 Forecast – Where & When To See Them

Beppu Hells Maple Trees

While the cherry blossoms season—or Hanami—may be one of the most anticipated events of the year in Japan, the annual autumn fall foliage certainly does not lose out with its magical fall colours either. During this period, many travellers plan their routes around the best viewing spots just to catch the gorgeous pumpkin-orange hues of the fall landscape.

If you have yet to visit Japan during the autumn season, then this is something you definitely should be putting in your travel bucket list. It is impossible to put to words how stunning the golden autumn scenery is and only viewing it in person can do the place justice.

In this guide, we share the Autumn Fall Foliage Forecast for 2018 and the best places you can view them in Japan. Mark your calendars now!

Hokkaido University

Photo Credit: Zekkei Japan


Known for its unspoilt nature and natural hot springs, Hokkaido has always been on the top of the list when it comes to nature viewing, so you can be sure that the fall foliage is nothing short of impressive.

Best Viewing Spots:
Shiretoko – A UNESCO world heritage site, Shiretoko Five Lakes and Shiretoko Pass are two popular spots where you can catch the beautiful autumn leaves.
Daisetsuzan National Park – Hike up Mount Asahidake for a splendid view of the fall foliage or head over to Sounkyo where you can soak in an onsen while admiring the autumn scenery.
Hokkaido University – Look out for a street lined with 70 to 80 ginkgo trees within the campus.

Optimal Viewing Period: late September to late October

Nasu Kogen

Photo Credit: Japan Hoppers


Kanto is a large area in Japan that comprises metropolis Tokyo, as well as other prefectures of Japan such as Gunma and Tochigi.

Best Viewing Spots:
Nasu Kogen – Found in Tochigi Prefecture, Nasu Kogen is an excellent spot for witnessing the autumn foliage. Taking a cable car up Tyausu Dake mountain is an option to consider.
Tanigawadake – Stop by Ichinokura, a popular spot for tourists to get pictures of the golden autumn leaves.

Optimal Viewing Period: late October to early December

Takachiho Gorge Waterfall


Kyushu is an underrated island in Japan that is loved for its scenic countryside, stunning geographical formations, bubbling hot springs and friendly locals.

Best Viewing Spots:
Takachiho Gorge – Autumn is a wonderful season to visit as you will be greeted by a view of gorgeous caramel-coloured leaves pirouetting around the tree branches.
Ohori Park – Nestled in central Fukuoka, Ohori Park is home to a variety of trees such as azalea and rose bay.
Maizuru Park – The lookout point at Maizuru Park offers a fantastic view of maple and maidenhair trees.

Optimal Viewing Period: early November to late November

Lake Towada

Photo Credit: Tohaku & Tokyo


Aomori provides a great escape from the bustling cities with its expansive coastlines and breathtaking scenery views of mountains, lakes and other natural formations.

Best Viewing Spots:
Lake Towada – Take a sightseeing boat cruise along the clear waters of Lake Towada where you get to truly appreciate the autumn scenery surrounding the lake.
Hirosaki Park – Go for a stroll in the park but places you have to stop by are the Hirosaki Castle, Gokoku Shrine, and Hirosaki Botanical Garden.

Optimal Viewing Period: early October to late October

Yoyogi Park


The first-world metropolis is home to the world’s best restaurants, age-old traditional eateries, swankiest skyscrapers and ancient architectural buildings.

Best Viewing Spots:
Yoyogi Park – If you don’t mind the crowd, Yoyogi Park is where you will find many locals and tourists taking photographs of the photogenic gingko trees that have the most beautiful golden red leaves in fall.
Meouro River – While the river receives many more visitors during the cherry blossom season, autumn is a great time to admire the fall foliage too.
Ueno Park – The park is filled with more than 8,000 trees so you can imagine how ridiculously beautiful the place will be in autumn.

Optimal Viewing Period: late November to early December

Daigo Ji Temple Kyoto


A reflection of old Japan, Kyoto is a charming city that is rich in culture, history and tradition. Once the capital of Japan, visitors to this ancient city will be in awe of the historical sites and stunning landscapes.

Best Viewing Spots:
Eikando Temple – With over 1,000 maple trees planted around the temple, it is not surprising that Eikando Temple is one of the most visited places in Kyoto to witness the falling of reddish-brown caramel leaves.
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine – Built in 947AD, students visit the shrine to pray and worship for good examination grades. The 300 Japanese maple trees turn into the most gorgeous golden shade that attract both locals and tourists.

Optimal Viewing Period: mid November to early December

Lake Yunoko

Photo Credit: Nikko Yumoto


A place for history and culture buffs, the beautiful hues of brown, red and orange surrounding the majestic shrines and temples make Nikko a must-visit destination during autumn.

Best Viewing Spots:
Lake Yunoko – In autumn, the vibrant colours of the fall leaves are reflected on crystal clear waters of the lake, creating an unparalleled view like no other.
Senjogahara – The bright autumn foliage at Senjogahara is Nikko’s hidden charm that is waiting to be explored.

Optimal Viewing Period: Early October to Mid November

Nara Deer Park


Talk about Nara and people would immediately identify with Nara Deer Park, which is famous for having adorable deers roaming around the park freely. Besides that, Nara is also a fine city for visiting places of worship and picturesque gardens.

Best Viewing Spots:
Nara Park – As a top tourist attraction site, Nara Park spreads across 1,600 acres and is where visitors can see the most fabulous fall foliage when they stroll along the momiji-lined canal and the lane to Kasuga Shrine.
Tanzan Shrine – Having been around since the Asuka Period, the building was originally constructed as a Buddhist temple but later turned into a shrine during the Meji period. Go up the pagoda for a bird’s eye view of the vividly coloured autumn leaves.

Optimal Viewing Period: early November to early December

Lake Kawaguchiko

Photo Credit: Zekkei Japan


As the tallest mountain in Japan, a sight of Mount Fuji is an exciting experience not to be missed. Imagine capturing the fall foliage with Mount Fuji as a background—it makes any picture postcard-worthy for sure!

Best Viewing Spots:
Lake Kawaguchiko – The annual autumn festival held at Lake Kawaguchiko is an event that is extremely popular among the locals. The main spots are the Maple Corridor which is filled with maple trees and the Koyo Tunnel which offers a splendid view of the fall colours and Mount Fuji at the background.

Optimal Viewing Period: early November to early December

Hakone Shrine


Established as a hot springs haven, Hakone is gaining a fair bit of attention from nature lovers for its spectacular scenery views and places of attraction such as Lake Ashi, Owakudani—a volcanic valley—and Hakone Roapway.

Best Viewing Spots:
Gora Park – Admire the abundance of flowers and trees in the western-style park which was inspired by the French.
Lake Ashi – The largest lake in Kanagawa Prefecture, take the cruise boats at Lake Ashi to admire the autumn leaves. If you are lucky, you can even capture a glimpse of Mount Fuji!

Optimal Viewing Period: early November to late November