Five Places to See Autumn Leaves

Culture Lifestyle

Just like the "cherry blossom front" in spring, the Japanese enjoy following the "fall foliage front" as it travels down the archipelago in the fall. Here are five selected locations to see the autumn leaves at their most vibrant.

Daisetsuzan National Park

Daisetsuzan, before the snow falls.

Early in the fall, people start looking forward to colorful leaves. Reds and oranges spread first across the mountain Asahidake in Daisetsuzan National Park, Hokkaidō Prefecture, where the peak viewing season lasts into early October at lower elevations.


Nikkō's famous waterfall.

Nikkō in Tochigi Prefecture is a popular destination for Tokyo leaf peepers in October. Perhaps the most famous place in this area is Ryūzu no Taki, meaning literally “Dragon-head Falls,” from a perceived resemblance to the fabled monster, which is accentuated by the fiery colors of autumn.


The Azusa River in Kamikōchi.

The stunning natural landscape of Kamikōchi, with monkeys and other wildlife, attracts visitors to the Nagano Prefecture resort from April to November, before it closes for the winter. The autumn leaves are at their best from mid- to late October around the gentle trails at the center of the area.


Hakone is the most accessible destination from Tokyo on our list.

Like Nikkō, Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture is a short distance from Tokyo, drawing in city dwellers in November. One of the top sites is the Hakone Museum of Art in the Gōra area, where the finest fall foliage is due for the middle to the end of the month.


Japan's ancient capital of Kyoto in fine form.

Where better to savor the changing seasons than in Japan’s ancient capital? The Arashiyama district has been celebrated for its leaves for over a millennium and even holds a festival, the Arashiyama Momiji Matsuri, to welcome in the season, which runs from late November to early December.

Photo Credits

Daisetsuzan: Rurinoshima
Nikkō: Agustin Rafael Reyes
Kamikōchi: Chen Qu
Hakone: Kuroki Takayuki
Kyoto: Komori Masaaki

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