Colorful autumn foliage, known as koyo or momiji in Japanese, makes autumn a popular time for visitors to Japan—nearly as popular as the spring cherry blossom season. Here's what you need to know about experiencing koyo as it sweeps across the country in a parade of color each year.
When to Go
The season for fall colors typically kicks off in mid-September and lasts until December, with red, orange, and yellow colors lasting in a single location for as long as five weeks. Much like the cherry blossoms in spring, the fall spectacle reaches its peak at different times depending on the location and weather.
Where to Go
While Japan has no shortage of scenic spots for leaf-peeping, some of the most famous include the temples of Kyoto, the national parks on Hokkaido (Japan's northernmost island), Biwako Valley, Lake Towada in Aomori Prefecture, Arashiyama, Mt. Fuji, Tokyo's parks and gardens, and Nikko National Park, located just a couple hours outside the capital.
How to Go
During the fall leaf-peeping season, tours to see the natural spectacle depart from Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya. Choose a day trip, such as a guided tour of Nikko or a Tokyo walking tour, or a multi-day tour that take you to several of Japan's best spots for koyo. Choose a two-day journey through Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures to both enjoy autumn colors and onsen hot spring soaks.