JAPAN – This year, travelers can enjoy the autumn season in Japan, witnessing the breathtaking scenery of golden and crimson leaves from mid-October to mid-December.
According to the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), autumn is the best time for a trip to Japan due to the “not too hot, not too cold” weather, which is ideal for all kinds of travel activities. JNTO suggests the timing for leaf-changing in 4 cities in Japan that travelers can consider for their upcoming trips.
Leaf-changing period: 10/28
Sapporo is located in Hokkaido, Japan. It’s one of the two cities with the earliest display of golden and crimson leaves this autumn. The foliage transition in this area lasts longer compared to other provinces and cities in Japan. Travelers can immerse themselves in the autumn atmosphere by taking long walks, camping, or enjoying the scenery in national parks, mountainsides, and hot springs.
When visiting Sapporo in autumn, besides admiring the changing natural landscapes, travelers can also partake in the Sapporo Autumn Festival. This is the largest annual festival in Hokkaido, taking place for three weeks in Odori Park with numerous stalls and recreational activities. This year, the festival runs from September 8th to 30th.
Sapporo is known as one of the top three cities for delicious ramen in the Hokkaido region. The noodles here are perfectly chewy, and the broth is made from beef, giving it a sweet and savory aroma.
Leaf-changing period: 11/22
Travelers can view the golden and crimson leaves in Hiroshima from late November to early December.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima Castle, and Momijidani Park are some of the iconic spots for leaf viewing in the city. These locations share a common feature of having abundant greenery, so when the leaves change color, the scenery is filled with shades of yellow and red.
When visiting Hiroshima in autumn, don’t forget to try momiji manju, a red bean-filled pastry shaped like a maple leaf. This treat has been around since 1907 and has become a seasonal delicacy. Nowadays, momiji manju comes in various versions with different shapes and ingredients.
Leaf-changing period: 11/28
In Tokyo, the leaves start changing color at the end of November. When you visit Japan’s capital during this time, you’ll have the chance to admire the “golden streets” at various public locations. Meiji Jingu Gaien is worth mentioning, with 150 ginkgo trees lining a 300-meter-long path. The fallen leaves create a natural golden carpet, attracting visitors for sightseeing and photography.
If you happen to visit Tokyo outside the peak leaf-changing season, consider destinations like Mitake and Takao, nearby mountains where the leaves change color earlier.
Leaf-changing period: 12/1
Osaka starts seeing red leaves from the beginning of December. The temperature in this region during the late months ranges from 8-12 degrees Celsius, so travelers should choose appropriate clothing. You can admire the autumn scenery and take photos at prominent spots like Minoo Park, Hoshida Park, Osaka Castle, or the ginkgo tree-lined Midosuji Avenue.
In addition to enjoying the autumn atmosphere, when you’re in Osaka, don’t miss out on trying local dishes, as the city is known as the “culinary capital” of Japan. Specialties include grilled bonito, baked sweet potatoes, and crispy tempura-coated maple leaves with sesame.