Autumn in Japan, starting from September to early December, is one of the best seasons to visit the country. The weather gets dry, the rainy season is long gone, and typhoons are – hopefully – nowhere in sight.
Autumn in Japan: Best Travel Destinations
Here are six recommended destinations to travel to in autumn in Japan to enjoy what the country offers during this magnificent season: nature, foliage, and warm hot springs.
Lake Kawaguchi is located in the southern area of Yamanashi prefecture – a favorite destination from the capital, known for its stunning views of Mount Fuji, and easy access from Tokyo. In autumn, the trees surrounding the lake turn red and gold, a stunning site. And what’s a better way to celebrate this natural phenomenon than with a festival specifically created to admire the foliage and its changing colors?
Fuji Kawaguchiko Momiji Autumn Leaves Festival will be held from the 29th of October to the 23rd of November, centered around the so-called “Momiji Corridor” on the northeastern side of the lake.
Nikko and Kinugawa River (Tochigi)
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Nikko, with its rich history, and Unesco World heritage listed shrines and temples, is a great spot for nature lovers, and people who like history and want to immerse in Japanese culture. The nearby lake Chuzenji is a great spot to hike, and camping on the lakeside is the perfect way to admire the beautiful colors of Japanese fall. The Kinugawa River has created a breathtaking canyon you can fully enjoy through Kinugawa River Line Rafting where you can admire the beauty of the natural scenery while cutting through the waters of the Kinugawa.
Mount Moriyoshi (Akita)
Mount Moriyoshi in Kita Akita, at 1,454 meters above sea level, is one of the highest points in northern Akita Prefecture. From its peak on a very clear day, one can see as far as Ōdate, Noshiro, and even the Sea of Japan and Mt. Chōkai.
The mountain is renowned for the beautiful wildflowers that bloom from early spring to late summer and for the wonderful foliage during autumn in Japan.
Kobe Municipal Arboretum (Hyogo)
Kobe Municipal Arboretum is a botanical garden and arboretum located in the Rokko Mountains opened in 1940, and is home to around 1,200 different types of trees (500 not native to Japan). The arboretum is open from late October to late November, and the website has a dedicated page that is constantly updated with the latest information on the development of foliage. By checking this website, you can find out the best time to visit the trees in their full autumnal potential.
Mount Aso (Kumamoto)
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Mount Aso is an active volcano in the central area of Kyushu. It is the second-highest volcano in Japan at 1592 meters and one of the largest calderas in the world, with a total area of 380 square km.
The warm and subtropical climate of the area makes Aso the perfect spot to go hiking even in late autumn.
September also marks the arrival of “susuki”, or silver Japanese pampas grass which starts changing color from late September to mid-November and can grow to as tall as an adult.
Autumn in Japan: Jozankei Onsen (Sapporo)
Approximately one hour’s drive from central Sapporo, Jozankei onsen is part of Shikotsu-Toya National Park and has a history as a hot spring destination that spans over a century-long since the first hot spring bath opened in 1866.
Besides being a very popular hot spring destination, Jozankei is popular especially in autumn, around mid-October, because the trees along the valley turn to brilliant yellows and reds.
Iwato Kannondo is a unique temple in central Jozankei, built around a 120-metre cave that contains 33 statues of Kannon, the Buddhist deity connected to the concept of compassion, placed at intervals along the way. The temple is dedicated to road workers who lost their lives constructing roads in the area.
Autumn Travel Destinations Not to Miss in Japan
From hiking to relaxing hot springs, and cultural destinations, Japan has something particularly charming when it comes to autumn. Travel around the country during this season and discover some off-the-beaten-path spots.