2022 Japanese Foliage Season: Where to See Maples in Autumn?

It’s already September and soon it will be the annual Japanese foliage season! Have you planned a foliage viewing route? I heard that the Japanese government is planning a new round of Go to Travel, so take advantage of your vacation to enjoy the magnificent autumn foliage in order to live up to the beautiful autumn season!

If you don’t know when and where to go to enjoy the beautiful autumn leaves, we have summarized the most recommended autumn leaf spots and periods for maple viewing throughout Japan. The best time to see the leaves may change a little from year to year depending on the temperature in each region. Before you travel, it’s best to double check the actual temperature conditions and the condition of the leaves.

So let’s get started!

Best time for foliage viewing

The best time of year to see the leaves is from mid to late October to November.

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During this time, the morning temperature in autumn is about 6 to 7 degrees Celsius, and the deciduous trees are ready to drop their leaves, which gradually turn red. Since the red leaves start to appear from the first place where it gets cold, in contrast to the cherry blossom front that gradually spreads from Okinawa and Kyushu to Hokkaido from the south to the north, the red leaf front in Japan starts from Hokkaido and gradually spreads from the north to the south, from the mountains to the bottom of the mountains.

Representative places and periods for maple viewing throughout Japan

Area Representing cities and locations Past years’ maple viewing periods
Hokkaido Sapporo, Hakodate, Shiretoko Peninsula Mid-September to October
Northeast Japan Sendai, Akita Early October to early November
Kanto Tokyo, Hakone, Nikko, Kamakura Early November to early December
Kansai Osaka, Kyoto Late November to early December
Chubu and Hokuriku Nagoya, Kanazawa, Niigata Early October to early November
China・Shikoku Hiroshima, Kagawa Mid-November to early December
Kyushu Fukuoka, Takachiho Kaikyo, Kagoshima Late November to early December

Best places to see maple in Japan

【Hokkaido】Sounkyo

🗾 Sounkyo, Kamikawa-cho, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido

🍁 Mid-September to mid-October

This year, in Hokkaido’s Daisetsuzan National Park, the trees have been colored as early as the end of August, and Asahidake can already see the mountain colored in a bright red. The “奇跡のイルミネート(Miracle Illumination Exhibition)”, a foliage viewing event on Sounkyo, is also starting its fifth year in the fall of 2022. You can enjoy the beautiful autumn leaves in the light while soaking in the hot spring.

*The “Miracle Illumination Exhibition” will be held from September 16, 2022 to October 17, 2022.

[Aomori] Hakkoda Mountain

🗾 Aomori City and Towada City, Aomori Prefecture

🍁 Late September to late October

[Nagano] Kamikochi

Photo From:上高地公式ウェブサイト

🗾 Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture

🍁 Early October to late October

Kamikochi is known as the “Japanese Alps”. When the weather gets colder, you can even see the snow, yellow leaves and red leaves together if you have a good chance. Matsumoto Castle in Kamikochi is one of the oldest surviving castles in Japan and is a designated national treasure of Japan.

[Nagano]Karuizawa Unba Pond

🗾 Kitasakyu-gun, Nagano Prefecture

🍁 Early October to early November

[Gunma/Niigata]Mt. Tanigawa

🗾 Tone-gun, Gunma Prefecture / Minamiuonuma-gun, Niigata Prefecture

🍁 Early October to late October

[Tokyo]Takao Mountain

Photo From:高尾山もみじまつり | 八王子観光コンベンション協会

🗾 Hachioji City, Tokyo

🍁 Mid-November to early December

Mt. Takao is about an hour away from the heart of Tokyo by tram and attracts many hikers and tourists throughout the year. Especially in autumn, many tourists come here to enjoy the red leaves, making it the most popular time of the year.

[Tokyo] Rikugi-en Garden

🗾 Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

🍁 Mid-November to early December

[Tochigi]Chuzenji Lake&Kegon Falls

🗾 Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture

🍁 Mid-October to early November

[Saitama]Nagatoro

🗾 Nagatoro-cho, Saitama

🍁 Early November to late November

There are three major foliage spots that are recommended here.

  • Iwatami (Nagatoro Kei Valley): Here, you can enjoy the foliage on both sides of the river by boat.
  • Kaneseki Hose Bridge: Standing on the bridge, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the foliage.
  • Hodosan: There is a cable car that takes you up to the top of the mountain, where you can see the mountains of Nagatoro and Chichibu.

There are also the Tsukinoishi Autumn Leaves Park, Hodosan Shrine and the Autumn Leaves Museum.

[Yamanashi]Mt.Fuji kawaguchiko

🗾 Fujikawaguchiko-cho, Minamituru-gun, Yamanashi

🍁 Early November to late November

Lake Fujikawaguchiko has a 1.5-kilometer-long leafy street and a leafy corridor with more than 60 giant maple trees, and during the Fujikawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival in November, the corridor will be illuminated, offering a view of Mount Fuji emerging from the colored leaves. November 23 (national holiday). This year, a new area, Okuno Hosomichi (200m), will be added to the foliage corridor, where you can enjoy the beauty of the foliage even more.

[Aichi]Korankei Valley

Photo From:あいち観光ナビ

🗾 Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture

🍁 Early November to late November

[Kyoto]Kiyomizu Temple

🗾 Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture

🍁 Late November to early December

[Kyoto]Kifune Shrine

🗾 Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture

🍁 Early November to late November

[Kyoto]Sagano Kanko Tetsudo: Torocco Train

圖片:トロッコ列車ギャラリー | 嵯峨野観光鉄道

🗾 Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture

🍁 Early November to early December

[Kyoto]Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

🗾 Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture

🍁 Late October to mid-December

[Osaka]Expo Memorial Park

🗾 Suita City, Osaka

🍁 Early November to early December

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