Every season in Japan is beautiful in its own way. Just like it is worth seeing sakura blooming in spring, there is the autumn foliage (koyo) to enjoy during autumn. Autumn foliage usually describes the process when leaves on trees start to turn into hues of red, orange, and yellow throughout the fall season.
The leaves season in Japan varies depending on the different regions, and normally occurs from the beginning of October till late December.
In Japan, it is popular to go watching the autumn leaves, which is also called Momijigari. The word gari refers to “hunting”, but in this case it means visiting scenic places to enjoy the colorful fall season.
Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺), Kyoto
Kiyomizu-dera is a Buddhist temple located in eastern Kyoto, which was originally built in 778 and has been recognized as one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage places since 1994.
This temple is widely famous for its main hall with a large wooden terrace over the beautiful scenery of Kyoto. Everyone has a chance to enjoy a magnificent view of colorful autumn leaves between middle November and early December.
Definitely a must visit place if you plan a trip to Kyoto during fall season!
Arashiyama (嵐山), Kyoto
Arashiyama is located in the northwest Kyoto region and has always been one of the best places to enjoy authentic Japanese nature. This place is famous for its forested mountains, bamboo forest and temples, especially the Tenryuji Temple, which is a widely known World Heritage Site.
Throughout autumn foliage season, the territory of Arashiyama is covered in a wide range of vibrant fall colors, the courtesy of the forested mountains. This is a popular destination that offers multiple attractions around the area, including traditional Buddhist temples and various tours for visitors to experience.
The best time to enjoy momijigari at Arashiyama is late November to early December.
Great Buddha of Kotokuin Temple (高徳院), Kamakura
The Great Buddha of Kotokuin Temple (also knows as Daibutsu) is a place you cannot miss when visiting Kamakura. People from all over the world come to look at the stunning Buddha statue and the temple throughout a year to enjoy the gorgeous scenery.
However, this place is the most beautiful during the autumn season. The autumn foliage is painted in red and gold, surrounding the statue, a sight truly worth admiring in person.
The best time to visit Kotokuin Temple is between mid-November and the beginning of December.
Rikugien (六義園) Garden, Tokyo
Rikugien is a historical Japanese garden built in 1702 and is considered to be one of the most gorgeous Japanese traditional gardens in Tokyo. It is also a famous tourist spot to enjoy autumn leaves, pond, and monuments.
During the fall season, the trees change their leaves and garden becomes beautifully decorated with a range of colors across over 450 maple trees, gingko trees and other tree varieties.
Usually, the garden is illuminated after the sunset between late November and mid-December, so visitors can enjoy the tranquility and beauty of the season.
Hokkaido University (北海道大学) and Golden Leaves Festival
The Hokkaido University is an abundant in nature place, widely known for a row of 70 gingko trees in its area. In autumn, the trees change their leaves into stunning golden and orange colors. At that time, the area is full or illuminations and decorations, which provide a truly magical atmosphere to the place.
The Hokkaido University Golden Leaves Festival also occurs every year, usually at the end of October. The Festival attracts students, Hokkaido residents, as well as people from all over Japan and across the world. There, you can enjoy various festivities and hot food during the event.
You can check more specific details and dates on the Hokkaido University website, so you don’t miss the event when traveling across Sapporo.