Tips for Enjoying Autumn in Japan


Autumn tree © Tim Green aka atoach/Flickr

As the summer season slowly ends, the temperature decreases and it rains almost every day. Not all of us prefer Autumn, but if we consider it, it’s one of the most colorful seasons. In contrast with spring, autumn is rich in colors as well, though the palette consists of the colors of the fallen leaves.

If you are about to spend your autumn in Japan, you may wonder how to spend the last pleasant days of the year outside. You surely know about Sakura, or cherry blossom viewing, but only a few people know about its parallel event, kouyou, or fall foliage viewing. Besides kouyou, some Autumn festivals are also good ways of spending autumn in Japan. This article includes some tips for enjoying autumn in Japan.


Watching Autumn leaves


Hachimantai in Autumn © yisris/Flickr

Even though Autumn includes the months of September, October and November, the beginning of the ‘autumn leaves‘ season varies region by region in Japan. This dissimilarity is caused by the great North-South extension of the country.

The most beautiful colors of the Northern regions can be viewed at the beginning of September. The most popular spots to enjoy the falling leaves in Hokkaido are: Onuma Park, Noboribetsu, Akan and Shiretoko. As we proceed towards South, the leaves change their colors gradually: on Honshu island the most amazing colors can be seen from early October until November.

fall foliage

The amazing sight of autumn leaves © kimberlykv/Flickr

In the Southern regions, such as the areas of Kyoto, Osaka and the Southern parts of Kyushu, the color of the foliage starts to change at the end of November or at the beginning of December.

Unlike cherry blossoming, the autumn leaves season lasts for more than two weeks, so it is much easier to catch the most gorgeous colors of the trees. In urban and metropolitan areas the parks are usually crowded on pleasant days: the sight of the red, yellow, orange and brown leaves attracts hundreds of peoples for a last walk around the parks.


Autumn Festivals

Hoi An: paper lantern shop

Autumn festival and colorful lanterns © felixtriller/Flickr

As every other season, autumn has dozens of large or small festivals and holidays. The most well-known holidays of autumn are Respect-for-the-Aged Day, Autumnal Equinox Day, Health and Sports Day, Culture Day and Labour Thanksgiving Day.

Autumn festivals usually celebrate the agricultural success of the year and thank for the harvest. Dozens of rituals are held at shrines and temples, in order to thank nature for the good harvest. Some of the most popular autumn festivals in Japan are: Owara Kaze-no Bon Festival, Reitaisai, Kunchi Festival, Marimo Matsuri, Jidai Matsuri, Hakune Daimyo Gyoretsu and Tori-no-ichi Rake Festival.


Autumn tree © Tim Green aka atoach/Flickr

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