Autumn is a beautiful season in Japan and perhaps the country’s most beautiful season, most would agree. The beauty of autumn in Japan is captivating, with a stunning display of vibrant fall foliage and a rich cultural heritage. During this season, the leaves of the trees change colour to shades of red, orange, and yellow, creating a colourful contrast against the traditional buildings and temples throughout the country.
In addition to the natural beauty, the autumn months in Japan offer a unique opportunity to experience traditional Japanese culture, with festivals, ceremonies, and other special events taking place. The cooler weather provides a pleasant backdrop for outdoor activities like hiking, exploring scenic parks and gardens, and participating in traditional activities like visiting a tea house or watching a Maiko dance performance. Whether visiting cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, or Nara, or exploring the picturesque countryside, autumn in Japan is a truly unforgettable experience.
The first autumn festival in Japan is Bon Odori (Big Dance). Bon Odori is a traditional Japanese dance festival that is held in late July or early August as part of the Obon holiday. Obon is a time for families to gather and pay respect to their ancestors, and the Bon Odori dance is a way for people to come together and celebrate the lives of their loved ones. During the festival, participants wear traditional Japanese attire, such as yukata, and gather in a large open area to dance in a circular formation to the beat of taiko drums and other traditional instruments. The dance itself is simple and repetitive, and anyone can join in, regardless of their dancing ability. The atmosphere is lively and festive, with food stalls, games, and other attractions often set up for the occasion.
When to See Fall Colors in Japan
Fall colours in Japan are a sight to behold. The vivid reds, oranges and yellows of the leaves is something to get excited about when visiting Japan. The best time to see fall colours (autumn leaves) in Japan is typically mid-October to early December, depending on the region and weather conditions. The peak of the fall foliage season can vary from year to year, so it’s best to check the local forecast before planning your trip. Popular locations for viewing autumn leaves in Japan include Kyoto, Tokyo, and the Japanese Alps.
Why Autumn is the Best Season to Visit Japan
The autumn foliage, or koyo, is a stunning display of red, orange, and yellow leaves that cover the country’s parks, temples, and gardens. It is a popular time for tourists to visit Japan to see the beautiful landscapes.
Autumn in Japan is characterised by mild weather, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and exploring the countryside.
Autumn is also a great time to try traditional Japanese foods such as chestnuts, sweet potatoes, and persimmons, which are in season during this time. All these factors, combined with the natural beauty and rich cultural heritage of Japan, make autumn a popular and unforgettable time to visit the country.
Autumn is a time for many traditional festivals, such as the Moon-Viewing Festival and the Chrysanthemum Festival, which offer a unique insight into Japanese culture and history.
Autumn in Japan is an ideal time for traditional festivals and events. The country has numerous local festivities boasting centuries of rich history and traditions that you can witness regardless of your location. Here are some of the best fall festivals in Japan that offer a unique opportunity to experience traditional Japanese culture and are popular tourist destinations during the autumn months.
Kyoto Gion Festival
This is one of Japan’s most famous festivals and takes place in mid-July in Kyoto. The festival features a procession of large, ornate floats and is considered one of Japan’s most important cultural events.
Nikko Tobu Festival
Held in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture in early October, this festival features colourful floats and costumed performers who parade through the streets.
This festival takes place in late October and features traditional Japanese music, dance, and food.
This festival takes place in Kyoto in October and is a celebration of the city’s history and heritage.
This is a bullfighting festival held in Chiba Prefecture in November.
Kyoto Jidai Matsuri
This festival is held in Kyoto in October and is a reenactment of important events in the city’s history.
The Best Places to See Autumn Leaves
Japan is renowned for its autumn foliage, and there are many beautiful locations to see the colourful leaves. Here are some of the best places to see autumn leaves in Japan:
Autumn in Kyoto is a beautiful time of year, as the city’s many temples, shrines, and gardens are surrounded by vibrant fall foliage. During this season, the leaves of the trees change colour to shades of red, orange, and yellow, creating a stunning contrast against Kyoto’s traditional buildings. Popular tourist attractions like the Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kiyomizu Temple, and the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove are especially popular during this time. It’s also a great time to participate in traditional Japanese activities like visiting a tea house, watching a Maiko dance performance, or trying the local cuisine.
Autumn in Nara is a breathtaking time of year, as the city’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage are highlighted by the changing autumn foliage. Nara is famous for its abundant parkland, including Nara Park, which is home to over 1,000 free-roaming sika deer considered to be sacred messengers of the gods. During the autumn months, the leaves of the trees in Nara Park and other scenic areas turn to shades of orange and red, making for a stunning backdrop to the city’s many temples and shrines, such as Todai-ji Temple, Kasuga-taisha Shrine, and Yakushi-ji Temple. In addition to exploring Nara’s natural and cultural attractions, visitors can also participate in traditional Japanese activities like trying local food and participating in tea ceremonies during their autumn visit.
Autumn in Tokyo is a pleasant time to visit the city, with mild weather and stunning fall foliage. During this season, the city’s many parks and gardens, such as Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden and Meiji Shrine, offer a stunning display of autumn colours, while the city’s bustling streets and busy shopping districts provide a unique contrast. In addition to the natural beauty, there are many other things to see and do in Tokyo during the autumn months, including visiting popular tourist attractions like Tokyo Tower, the Imperial Palace, and Disneyland, trying local cuisine, and shopping for souvenirs. Autumn is also a great time to participate in traditional Japanese activities like visiting a temple or shrine, taking a tea ceremony, or watching a traditional dance or musical performance.
Nikko is known for its scenic beauty, including the colourful autumn leaves that cover its hills and temples.
Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost island and is famous for its autumn foliage, particularly in the Daisetsuzan National Park.
Hida-Takayama is a historic town in the Japanese Alps known for its traditional architecture and colourful autumn leaves.
The best time to start planning an autumn trip to Japan would be at least a few months in advance, as the peak tourist season in Japan during the autumn months of September to November can lead to high demand for flights, hotels, and popular tourist attractions. Planning ahead allows you to secure the best deals and make reservations for your preferred travel dates.
If you are looking for a travel agency that will make your Autumn in Japan dream come true, this October, Travel With Me will have a Private Journey (PJ) for its members. This journey is escorted by Travel With Me’s most trusted suppliers and partners who will take good care of you from the time you arrive at your destination.