2019 Fall Foliage Forecast in Japan – Best Time and Locations To Enjoy Them

2019 Japan Fall Foliage Collage

While cherry blossom season in Japan is a popular period for tourists to visit, another season that is highly anticipated among visitors to Japan is the autumn season. With a medley of warm colours that is sure to stun, experiencing the fall foliage in Japan is another breathtaking sight to behold and one you must experience.

If you’ve missed out on booking your tickets this season for spring, consider marking your calendars for autumn. A sight like this is something you definitely do not want to miss out on!

We share with you a forecast of the best dates to visit, as well as the recommended cities and their various viewing spots.

Hokkaido University

Photo Credit: ZEKKEI Japan


Famous for the natural hot springs, skiing areas and volcanoes, the autumn foliage season typically begins and peaks first on the north-most island of Hokkaido. Without a doubt, enjoying the fall sceneries here will be utterly jaw-dropping and beautiful.

Best Viewing Spots:
Daisetsuzan National Park – If you wish to avoid large crowds of tourists, this is the perfect location. In addition to the fall foliage, this national park boasts other sights like volcanoes, mountains, lakes for you to admire and even a hot spring for you to soak in.

Shiretoko – A popular location due to its reputation as a UNESCO world heritage site, head over to Shiretoko Five Lakes and Shiretoko Pass to view the autumn sights.

Hokkaido University – Autumn greets the university through a line of 70 gingko trees that turn into an elegant golden colour. Consider visiting at night as well, the trees are illuminated which gives it a more enchanted look.

Kosetsu-en – Take a stroll through the garden here, which is also the only government-designated cultural-asset, and enjoy the autumn leaves on an estimated 150 trees. Look out for the Hakodate MOMI-G Festa as well, a festival where you can don a kimono and take in the views,

Best Viewing Period: Mid-September to Late October

Kanto Fall Foliage

Photo Credit: Hitachi Seaside Park


Kanto is a broad region that includes the capital city of Tokyo and seven other districts such as Chiba and Kanagawa.

Best Viewing Spots:
Nasu Kogen – This is a great location for people looking to escape the metropolitan lifestyle for a bit. There is the option of taking a cable car up to Tyausu Dake Mountain to enjoy the view here.

Tanigawadake – A well-known location for tourists to visit for pictures of trees filled with warm golden leaves is Ichinokura.

Ibaraki – Visit Hitachi Seaside Park for its beautiful kochia, that change from green to a gorgeous red colour, as well as an amusement park. Also not to be missed is Fukuroda Falls.

Best Viewing Period: Late October to Early December

Kyushu Fall Foliage

Photo Credit: hisgo by H.I.S. International Tours (NY) Inc.


If you like the scenic countryside, then Kyushu is a must-visit. It boasts magnificent sights to see and great hospitality by warm-hearted locals.

Best Viewing Spots:
Takachiho Gorge – An impressive sight to behold with waterfalls and the warm-hued leaves of trees framing it, autumn is a great time to take a stroll here.

Ohori Park – Holding a diversity of trees including azalea and rosebay, this park is located in central Fukuoka.

Maizuru Park – The lookout spot here offers a gorgeous view of maidenhair and maple trees.

Best Viewing Period: Early November to Early December

Aomori Fall Foliage

Photo Credits: Must-see Japan


If you enjoy looking at bodies of water, Aomori is the perfect escapade away from the city for you as it has awe-inspiring views of shores, lakes and mountains for you to take in.

Best Viewing Spots:
Lake Towada – The best way to fully enjoy the sights here is through the sightseeing boat cruise, giving you a panaramic view of the multi-coloured trees and the expansive lake.

Hirosaki Park – Wander around the park and visit other sites such as the Hirosaki Castle, Gokoku Shrine, and Hirosaki Botanical Garden. This is another spot for you to consider visiting at night.

Best Viewing Period: Early October to Mid November

Tokyo Fall Foliage

Photo Credits: Cool Photo Japan


The ever-busy capital city offers both modern and traditional sights, with sky-high buildings to historic shrines. There is something for everyone in this bustling city, whether you’re going around sightseeing or visiting the eateries for a break.

Best Viewing Spots:
Yoyogi Park – Often packed with people, this park is a popular spot for both locals and tourists to take in the fall scenery due to the beautiful gingko trees that are coloured warm gold and bright red.

Meouro River – A popular spot particularly during the cherry blossom season, this is also a great location for sightseeing during the autumn season.

Ueno Park – Do not miss out on visiting this park as it boasts more than 8,000 trees. With that much greenery, it will definitely be a breathtaking sight during autumn.

Rikugien Garden – Visit this garden at night and enjoy the entrancing views with its numerous maple trees transforming the garden during autumn.

Best Viewing Period: Mid-November to Early December

Daigo Ji Temple Kyoto


Previously the capital of Japan, Kyoto offers an abundance of tradition, history and culture with its gorgeous backdrops and cultural sites.

Best Viewing Spots:
Eikando Temple – One of the more visited spots in Kyoto, the temple is home to over a thousand maple trees that turn into a stunning reddish-brown colour during autumn season.

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine – Housing 300 maple trees, this is not only an excellent spot to visit for fall, as it is also rich in history as the shrine was built in 947AD. Catch local students visiting the shrine to pray for good exam results.

Best Viewing Period: Mid-November to Early December

Lake Yunoko

Photo Credits: Nikko Yumoto


Another location that is popular for its history and culture, Nikko is a small city that is home to numerous magnificent temples and shrines.

Best Viewing Spots:
Lake Yunoko – Catch the stunning views and breathtaking colours of the leaves being reflected on the serene waters of the lake here, this is a sight to not miss out on.

Senjogahara – One of the less populated locations, take trek along the vast marshland and enjoy the remarkable fall colours offered at Senjoghara.

Best Viewing Period: Early October to Late November

Nara Deer Park


Mention Nara and people will more often than not mention the famous and well-liked Nara Deer Park, where deers are free to roam. The city also offers historical sites and artwork that go back to the 8th century, when Nara was still Japan’s capital.

Best Viewing Spots:
Nara Park – Established in 1880, Nara Park is one of Japan’s oldest parks, stretching across 1,600 acres. Apart from the adorable deers, the park also offers sights such as the Momiji-lined canal and Kasuga Shrine for you to enjoy the fall foliage.

Tanzan Shrine – Originally constructed as a Buddhist temple in the Asuka Period, it was later turned into a shrine in the Meji Period. Visit the pagoda for an expansive view of the brightly saturated leaves.

Best Viewing Period: Early November to Early December

Mount Fuji Fall Foliage

Photo Credits: Kawaguchiko.net


Another famous site in Japan, Mount Fuji is an attraction that every visitor should not miss out on. Imagine capturing the magnificence of the mountain towering over the saturated warm hues of the trees lining the water, it will surely be the highlight of your trip.

Best Viewing Spots:
Maple Corridor – Home to many maple trees, and the Koyo Tunnel, which offers an impressive view of Mount Fuji and the fall leaves in combination.

Best Viewing Period: Late October to Late November

Hakone Shrine


Known as a hot springs’ heaven, Hakone is a town surrounded by mountains and resorts, as well as scenic views of Mount Fuji. Other nature attractions include Lake Ashi, Hakone Ropeway, and Owakudani, a volcanic valley.

Best Viewing Spots:
Gora Park – Visit this western-style botanical garden and admire the flowers along with other sites such as the greenhouses, a fountain and a tea house.

Lake Ashi – Enjoy the autumn scenery and catch a peek of Mount Fuji at the largest lake in Kanagawa Prefecture on one of the boats that cruise along the lake.

Best Viewing Period: Early November to Late November

Shizuoka Fall Foliage

Photo Credit: Masayoshi Hirose


Home to Mount Fuji, the highest peak in Japan, Shizuoka is a medium-sized city on central Honshu’s Pacific coast that is known for tea.

Best Viewing Spots:
Shuzenji River – Stroll along the river and take in all the brightly coloured leaves while enjoying the relaxing sounds of the water crashing against the rocks by the river here. Make sure to pass by Katsura Bridge as well, the vivid red colours will make for stunning pictures.

Okuni Shrine – Another scenic nature spot, this ancient shrine is located in Shuchi County and is visited by numerous locals who are greeted by brilliantly coloured autumn leaves right at the entrance.

Best Viewing Period: Mid-November to Late November

Nagoya Castle Fall Foliage

Photo Credit: FUN! JAPAN


Nagoya is Japan’s third most-populated urban city and houses many famous gardens such as Ninomaru Garden, Shirotori Garden, Hisaya-Odori Garden Flarie and Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Nagoya is definitely a city you want to visit to catch the fall foliage.

Best Viewing Spots:
Nagoya Castle: This is a must-visit site, regardless of whether you are going during the autumn season or not. Capture the multi-coloured trees framing the traditional castle and catch the autumn festival, this is another sight not to be missed in Japan.

Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens: Head over to this zoo and gardens for their autumn festival if you are travelling with young children, they will surely be entertained by the animal feeding sessions and autumn light up at night!

Best Viewing Period: Mid November to Early December


Note: The above dates are an approximation based on the past five years’ cherry blossoms periods. It is hard to predict the exact days as weather forecasts are ever-changing. It is, however, important to book your air tickets and accommodation months in advance to avoid exorbitant peak period prices, and to secure your necessary rooms and hotel stays.