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Bathed in Scarlet

Seasonal Hightlights

Japan In-depth

Best time to enjoy the autumn leaves

NOTE: Suggested viewing dates represent averages of actual peak viewing dates over the past several years.

A top destination in Hokkaido, with lakes, hiking trails and hot springs. End a day of golf, canoeing, or paragliding with a refreshing tankard of local beer.


Take the Jukai Line and Aspite Line toll roads. Hiking trails near the summit offer lakeside views ablaze with autumn colors.

Mt. Nasu-dake

Head out on foot from the Sanroku cablecar station and enjoy a wonderful patchwork of autumnal reds, oranges, yellows and greens. The climb takes just under an hour. In the evening, recover from your hike at the Nasu-Yumoto-onsen spa.

Togakushi Heights

Don't miss the shrine Togakushi-jinja and its hiking trails. Look out for the nature reserve with its mountain flowers. You might even spot wild rabbits or squirrels. Try making your own noodles at the nearby Soba Noodle Museum.

Shiga Heights

This is where the alpine skiing events took place in the Winter Olympics in 1998. There are more than twenty hiking trails, guaranteed to satisfy your desire to get away from it all.
Lake O-numa Quasi National Park

The view of Mt. Komagadake across lake O-numa is spectacular. Cycle around the lake, or walk around both lakes O-numa and Ko-numa to revitalize yourself both physically and mentally.

Mt. Zao-san

Drive along the Zao Line and Zao Echo Line toll roads to admire the rugged landscape. Take the cablecar to the summit for a panorama of autumn colors. A good place to stay the night is the spa Zao-onsen.

Yatsugatake Heights

Yatsugatake Heights has two faces: to the south it is wild and rocky, while to the north there are thick coniferous forests and lakes. There are plenty of resort facilities and spas in the foothills and the region's natural beauty can be appreciated year-round.

Subaru Line, Mt. Fuji

This toll road connects the lake Kawaguchi-ko with the foothills of Mount Fuji. As you drive through the forest, you'll see five lakes below you and the Japan Alps in the distance. The foothills are the habitat of the protected Japanese serow.
Lake Towada-ko

Hop on a sightseeing boat for a great view of the mountains. In nearby Okuirise there are breathtaking gorges. During a three-hour gorge walk, you'll pass fourteen waterfalls and delight in beautiful autumn colors.

Kinu-gawa River

The Kinu-gawa River is famous for its hot-spring resorts. Admire the autumn colors from the window of your hotel. Not far away is Nikko, where you can visit the lake Chuzenji-ko, the Kegon Falls and other natural wonders.


This is Japan's best-known mountain resort. It's a great place to visit in the heat of summer; but its fine boutiques, restaurants and museums also welcome visitors in autumn.
Risshaku-ji Temple

Soon after leaving Yamadera Station, there's a magnificent view of the temple Risshaku-ji, perched on a rock. Climb to the top for stunning views.

Lake Inawashiro-ko

Mt. Bandai-san and Mt. Azuma-san have good roads and are popular autumn destinations. To the north of Bandai-san, there are many excellent sight-seeing spots such as Lake Hibara-ko, and Lake Goshiki-numa with its incredible colors of red and blue.

Lake Ashino-ko

A visit to Mt. Fuji is an absolute must for visitors to Japan. There are many spas in the foothills as well as beauty spots such as Lake Ashino-ko, which can be visited by cablecar.

Eihei-ji Temple

This is one of Japan's best known Zen temples. Take part in zazen meditation here, or just visit the nearby souvenir shops, which sell local delicacies such as goma-dofu and shojin-ryori.

Takachiho-kyo Gorge

Admire the autumn colors from the boats that travel the gorge. Get to Takachiho by the Takachiho-railway, which crosses the highest railway bridge in Asia. The views from the train's windows are spectacular.
Aoba-dori Avenue, Sendai

Sendai's trees are a riot of red, gold and yellow in autumn. Take a day-trip to the islands of Matsushima, where oysters are in season at this time of year.

Nagatoro-kyo Valley

Head downstream on the Ara-kawa River to see the maple leaves. Nearby Mt. Hodo-san is accessible by cablecar and the view from the peak is spectacular.

Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa

This is one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan. Relax with a bowl of Japanese green tea while viewing the garden. Kanagawa is famous for traditional crafts such as Kaga-yuzen textiles and Kutani-yaki pottery. These make great souvenirs.

Momiji-dani Park, Miyajima Island

Momiji-dani means Maple Valley and turns a bright red color in autumn. Go to the top of Mt. Misen by cablecar. The nearby Itsukushima-jinja shrine is a World Heritage Site.
Yoro Valley

The valley has eight hiking trails, which take between 4 and 8 hours. They all provide excellent opportunities for viewing autumn leaves. After your hike, head for Kamogawa for a delicious seafood dinner.

Imperial Palace, Tokyo

Tokyo, too, has its autumn colors. Take a stroll near the Imperial Palace, with its golden gingko trees. Nearby is the Ginza shopping district.

Arashiyama, Kyoto

Autumn on the Hotsu-gawa River can be enjoyed by boat or by toy train. The view of the river from the Togetsu Bridge is also worth seeing. And don't miss the nearby temples, such as Jojakko-ji.

Eikando Temple, Kyoto

The gardens here are ablaze with color in autumn. The temple serves such delicacies as matcha green tea and yu-dofu and is lit up at night each November.

Kumamoto Castle

The castle grounds are cloaked in golden-yellow gingko leaves in autumn. The park Suizenji-koen is another famous local beauty spot. It covers a huge area and has a traditional "strolling" garden dominated by a miniature Mt. Fuji.