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Autumn in Japan

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/14 Travel & View point , ,

After the scorching heat of the summer sun, who doesn’t love the cool breeze of fall? Especially in Japan where the summer heat is not that friendly at all.

Japan, having four distinct seasons and almost 70% of its land area is covered with foliage, each season has its own something to look forward to. While the white flowers of Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) is to spring, the red, yellow, and orange leaves of trees especially of Momiji (Maple Tree) is to fall.

紅葉 Kouyou

Fall foliage is called kouyou (紅葉) in Japanese. It literally means red leaves but it became synonymous to all colors of fall. Ancient and traditional Japanese sites with the colors of fall as background is very common in pictures and other media. Kyoto and Nara, both once became Japan’s capital, is a good place to visit in fall for the colors of autumn greatly match their historical architectures and sites.

golden pavillion

The Golden Pavillion in Kyoto ( Photo by kimubert on Flickr)

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Kiyomizudera Temple in Kyoto. (Photo by Ari Helminen on Flickr)

Another reading of 紅葉 is Momiji (Acer palmatum). It is a species of maple tree which is native to Japan, North and South Korea, China, Mongolia and some parts of Southeast Russia.

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The leaves of Momiji. (Photo by noe** on Flickr)

Best Autumn Scenery Guide

On contrast with the blossoming of Sakura which starts from the southern area of Japan towards the north, Kouyou starts from the north towards the south. According to the Japan-Guide site, this year, autumn is the best during these months of these places:

Hokkaido Mid Sept Late Sept Early Oct Mid Oct Late Oct Early Nov Mid Nov Late Nov Early Dec
Daisetsuzan
Shiretoko
Akan
Noboribetsu
Shikotsuko
Jozankei
Onuma Park
Tohoku Mid Sept Late Sept Early Oct Mid Oct Late Oct Early Nov Mid Nov Late Nov Early Dec
Hachimantai
Urabandai
Shirakami Sanchi
Lake Towada
Naruko Gorge
Hiraizumi
Kanto Mid Sept Late Sept Early Oct Mid Oct Late Oct Early Nov Mid Nov Late Nov Early Dec
Oze
Nikko
Minakami
Hakone
Sakurayama
Tokyo
Kamakura
Chubu Mid Sept Late Sept Early Oct Mid Oct Late Oct Early Nov Mid Nov Late Nov Early Dec
Alpine Route
Kamikochi
Karuizawa
Fuji Five Lakes
Kurobe Gorge
Eiheiji
Shosenkyo
Kanazawa
Izu Peninsula
Kansai Mid Sept Late Sept Early Oct Mid Oct Late Oct Early Nov Mid Nov Late Nov Early Dec
Koyasan
Yoshino
Kyoto
Osaka
Chugoku Mid Sept Late Sept Early Oct Mid Oct Late Oct Early Nov Mid Nov Late Nov Early Dec
Daisen
Miyajima
Shikoku Mid Sept Late Sept Early Oct Mid Oct Late Oct Early Nov Mid Nov Late Nov Early Dec
Shodoshima
Kotohira
Shikoku Mid Sept Late Sept Early Oct Mid Oct Late Oct Early Nov Mid Nov Late Nov Early Dec
Kuju Mountains
Kirishima
Dazaifu

Planning to visit Japan this season? Refer to the chart and experience Japanese Autumn at its best!

Sources:

1. Autumn leaves: When do trees turn colors. Japan-Guide.

2. Autumn in Japan. About Travel.

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