Fall in Japan can feel majestic, with the changing colors of the trees adding vibrant texture to the familiar sites and offering unique experiences to enjoy around the country. The following information offers insight into the weather, the best places to visit, and the experiences you can have when traveling to Japan at this time of the year.
Japan’s splendid fall foliage, the crisp but pleasant weather, as well as the abundance of renowned temples and shrines to visit create a perfect blend for an unforgettable fall trip to Japan. Explore the orange and red leaves, wander through traditional Japanese gardens, and enjoy the open spaces with fewer crowds than in the popular cherry blossom season.
Whether looking for the ideal place to stay, the right activities for you, or what the weather will be like, you can embrace the beauty of autumn in Japan during your trip.
Average Temperature in Tokyo, Japan: 67°F High • 54°F Low
Autumn in Japan is a wonderful time to visit as the weather is comfortable and you can expect mostly clear skies for viewing the changing colors of the foliage across the country.
Whether looking for a romantic ambiance for a Japan honeymoon vacation, interested in the changing flavors of the seasons on a Japan food tour, or eager to visit the country during the shoulder season, the fall days are much cooler and more comfortable than in summer, while not as cold as winter.
This creates a nice balance for walks in the countryside, viewing historical monuments, and enjoying views of autumn leaves.
Kyoto • Best Place for Vivid Fall Foliage
Kyoto is one of Japan’s most popular places to visit and in fall, the leaves change dramatically to add an extra layer of beauty to the city’s traditional architecture.
During the cherry blossom season, many tourists travel to Kyoto to walk along Philosopher’s Path or visit Hirano Shrine, but in fall, you can experience the marvelous changing leaves without the larger crowds.
From wandering beneath the trees along Yawaragi Road to viewing the added flush of colors at Heian Shrine reflected in the glassy water, the long autumn season in Kyoto erupts with shades of yellow, deep reds, and golden browns.
Nikko • Best Place for Peak Autumn Colors
In Nikko, Japan floods with fall colors that stretch from the surrounding mountains to the valley floor surrounding the town. Autumn lengthens in the region as the leaves first change in the higher elevations, moving subtly down the slopes until the entire countryside glows orange, red, and yellow.
The remarkable combination of colors shines brightest around Ryuzu Waterfall, reflects in the waters of Lake Chuzenji, and becomes the featured attraction along the scenic lanes of the Irohazaka Winding Road, where Japan’s fall foliage is visible from the dramatic switchbacks, as well as the observation deck.
Tokyo • Best Place for Different Fall Colors
While many of the cities and parts of Japan’s countryside shine with fall’s changing colors, Tokyo’s ginkgo trees shimmer with gold. The vivid yellow hues fill the air and carpet the walkways, making it feel as though you are walking along a road paved with gold leaf around Meiji Jingu Gaien.
Ueno Onshi Park is famous for its cherry blossom viewing, but in fall, the colors emerge more spectacularly due to the variety of trees. Auburn, burnt sienna, and gold fill the sky and flutter to the ground for a vision distinct from other parts of Japan.
Shikoku • Best Place for Autumn Trails
Shikoku Island, one of Japan’s most romantic places, is a treasure of autumnal beauty and off the main trail of local and international leaf-peepers. Home to the renowned 88 Temple Pilgrimage, walking along the island trails is an immersion into nature’s bountiful beauty.
Melodic waterfalls, atmospheric rivers, and charming brides add to the welcoming ambiance as you traverse trails surrounded by the quintessential reds and oranges of fall. Visiting Shikoku in autumn is much more than just the changing leaves; it encompasses the wonder of being in nature.
Mt. Tsukuba • Best Place for Panoramic Views
Peaceful, colorful, and grand, visiting Mt. Tsukuba in the fall offers the wonderful foliage of the season on a grand scale. With two peaks to visit, you can embrace the picturesque quality of the panoramas from a cable car, meandering trails, or its peak.
Mt. Fuji is more famous, but Mt. Tsukuba is easily identified by its two peaks, averaging 2,877 feet above sea level. The mountain’s enticing myth only adds to the ambiance, especially for couples, further accentuated by the changing colors and seasonal wildlife.
Explore the Arashiyama District in Kyoto
Fall foliage is all around Japan and when visiting the Arashiyama district in Kyoto, you can discover the beauty of the season and colorful leaves from a different perspective.
The popular vantage point for viewing the vibrant changes of fall is framed by the Togetsukyo Bridge and the river’s serene waters. During the season, local vendors often sell treats to create a festive ambiance focused on relaxing and enjoying with all your senses.
Listen to the water, view the colorful foliage, enjoy the layered aromatics, and indulge in the weather while enjoying your seasonal treat.
Trek the Autumn Trails to Minoo Falls
The fall weather around Japan is comforting and comfortable for wandering through the wilderness, one of the top experiences in Japan, especially along the trail to Minoo Falls. The marvels of fall foliage in Japan become the focal point of any hike through the area, as the leaves scatter the grounds, spread across the tree branches, and drift through the sky.
You may find the aromas of maple leaf tempura from local vendors offering seasonal treats, before the scenery shifts to crimson, gold, and auburn, accented by the burble of the falls at the edge of the trail.
Enjoy Traditional Fall Festivals
The joys of Japan in autumn reach far beyond the changing colors of the leaves and are demonstrated in exciting, countrywide festivals that are fun-filled experiences to plan for Japan family vacations.
Watch traditional performances and enjoy the decorative floats during the Takayama Festival that celebrates the Edo period, the beauty around Sakurayama Hachimangu shrine, or the artisan wooden floats decorated with elements of fall during the Kanuma festival near Nikko.
From the boisterous street celebrations during Kichijoji Autumn Festival to the ornate floats and energetic pulling of carts during Kishiwada’s Danjiri Matsuri, the unique ways to embrace the changing of the seasons bring added life and tradition to the surrounding beauty.
Discover Unique Kochia Carnival
Hitachi Seaside Park is famous for its seasonal flowers and greenery, but in fall, the more than 500 acres brim with a unique blend of red and purple spanning Miharashi Hill.
Instead of the familiar golds and reds you may expect from the countryside, the fiery colors of Kochia can feel otherworldly, with approximately 30,000 Kochia bushes reaching to the horizon.
In autumn, as the landscape changes color against the backdrop of trees yet to shift with the season, you may also find roses in the nearby garden blossoming, in addition to delicate cosmos shimmering pink and white.
Visit Traditional Japanese Gardens
Visiting a traditional Japanese garden promises manicured beauty, intentional design, and a peaceful ambiance for travelers taking their time or senior tours of Japan.
A Japanese garden in fall can give you the expected features and charms, with the added beauty of vibrantly colored foliage. The Imperial Palace’s East Garden in Tokyo exudes the beauty of fall around the Edo Castle, moat, and walls, demonstrating the diverse palette of nature as the seasons change.
Rikugien in Tokyo shines a light on moss-covered bridges and ponds, with evening viewings of the foliage and views from Hojo Garden in Kyoto bringing to the foreground crimson and golden leaves that frame the bridges and structure of Tofuku-ji Temple.
Japan in the fall is far more than the changing leaves. It has an alluring ambiance that stretches from the peak of Mt. Fuji to the southern tip of Shikoku Island. The beauty of the latter extends from historical architecture to artisan traditions, renowned food culture to modernity.
When you visit Japan, the seasons can have an impact on how you experience your trip. If it depends on seasonality, you can find information about the best time to visit Japan for cherry blossom season or look for more answers to your questions with our information on how to plan a trip to Japan.
Find inspiration for your experience with our sample Japan tours and vacations or enjoy uncovering new experiences when viewing our Japan travel guide.