Autumn in Japan

For just 3 fleeting months each year, the Land of the Rising Sun allures millions of travellers into the heart of autumn. Cities like Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo and Hokkaido erupt into a brilliant painting of autumn hues and it’s perfect sweater weather! If you’ve never catch the autumn foliage before, it’s high time to visit Japan with your cameras and #ootds planned! Read on to find out how your autumn dream can finally take flight in these 12 sightseeing spots in Japan.

Getting around Japan

japan-autumn-getting-around
Photo credits: Scott Hampton on Flickr

To get to all of Japan’s prime autumn spots in the 4 cities, we recommend getting the Whole Japan Rail Pass which is available for 7 days, 14 days or 21 days. This Pass grants you unlimited rides on the JR lines, local buses and even a Miyajima ferry across the WHOLE of Japan with utmost ease and comfort.

Still have doubts? We’ve compiled a detailed guide to figuring out your JR Pass.

Klook your Whole Japan Rail Pass here!

On the flipside, if you’re only exploring just a specific city in Japan during your holiday, these tickets/passes will be much more cost-efficient.

Klook your osaka amazing pass here!

Klook your tokyo subway ticket here!

Now that you’ve figured out your transportation, check out this year’s autumn forecast so you can plan in advance and decide which part of Japan to explore for the best autumn foliage!

japan-autumn-forecast

Osaka

1. Minoo Park

japan-autumn-minoo-park japan-autumn-minoo-park
Photo credits: Kanokpol Tokumhnerd on Flickr

Osaka is lesser known for its natural landscape so you’ll be glad to find Minoo Park free from the usual throngs of crowd.  For the best viewing experience, follow the inclined hiking path (no worries, it’s an easy walking route!) and catch the maple leaf season across the bridge, soothed with the quiet rush of a bubbling waterfall from behind. Make sure to munch on the freshly fried maple leaf tempura from any of the street shops in Minoo Park too!

Minoo Park
Address: 1-18 Minookoen, Minoo, Osaka 562-0002, Japan
Operating Hours: 24 hours
Nearest Station: Senri-Chuo Subway Station (via the Amazing Osaka Pass)

2. Osaka Castle

japan-autumn-osaka-castle
Photo credits: Kanokpol Tokumhnerd on Flickr

Plunge deep into a golden oasis of gingko trees when you drop by the iconic Osaka Castle. This heritage site has long been a popular picnic spot and especially so during the fall season. Many passionate autumn fans lean against gingko trees to catch sight of the grand castle draped in yellow hues.

japan-autumn-osaka-castle
Photo credits: Kanokpol Tokumhnerd on Flickr

Up your A-game when you climb to the peak of Osaka Castle for a majestic overview of Japan’s finest city. Most importantly, you can finally take decent selfies without any photobombs! #instagramtips101

Osaka Castle
Address: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 540-0002, Japan
Operating Hours: 9am to 5pm
Entrance fee: 600 Yen ($7.57)
Nearest Station: Osakajokoen Station (via the JR pass)

3. Mount Gozaisho

japan-autumn-gozaisho
Photo credits @ihappytime on Instagram

Now that you have seen the best of Japan from the ground, how about switching things up a notch and taking in an aerial view of dyed maple leaves? If you’re up for the challenge, take on the Gozaisho Ropeway and peer beneath for a breathtaking landscape of gold, auburn and emerald sprawled across the Gozaisho Mountain.

Gozaisho Mountain
Address: Komono, Higashiomi, Shiga 510-1233, Japan
Opening Hours: 9am to 5pm
Nearest Station: Takao Station (via the JR Pass) then pay an additional fee to Takaosanguchi Station

japan-autumn-begonia-garden

Can’t get enough of nature? Snag a slot in the Nabana no Sato & Osaka Maple Viewing Day Tour and catch the Begonia Garden revamp for a major glow-up under the starry night. Savour the taste of Japan with a Matsusaka beef Sukiyaki meal to refuel before a day of sightseeing as well.

Begonia Garden
Address: 270 Nagashimacho Komae, Kuwana, Mie 511-1144, Japan
Opening Hours: 9am to 9pm
Entrance Fee: 2300yen to 2800 yen (depending on season)
Nearest Station: Nagashima Station (via the JR Pass)

Klook your nabana no sato & osaka maple viewing day tour here!

Kyoto

4. Sagano Romantic Train

japan-autumn-sagano-romantic-train
Photo credits: Sagano Romantic Train

Hop aboard the Sagano Romantic Train, a 25 minute ride that takes you around the Arashiyama district. As you glide past landscapes flamed in a blanket of fiery red, you’ll understand why it’s reputed as one of the most romantic trails for all #OTPs.

japan-autumn-hozugawa-river
Photo credits: shejian on Flickr

You will spot the Hozugawa River on the rail ride but if you prefer catching the scene up close, sign yourself and bae up for a Arashiyama Day Trip in Kyoto with Sagano Romantic Train and Hozugawa River Boat Rides experience. A must-tick off bucket list items for nature lovers, hop on a boat ride and admire the rainforest from another view. This is also one therapeutic activity to indulge in while the calming sounds of the rippling water comfort you.

Sagano Romantic Train
Opening Hours: 9am to 4pm
Nearest Station: Arashiyama Station (via the JR Pass)

japan-autumn-bamboo-grove
Photo credits: Kanokpol Tokumhnerd on Flickr

P.S. This tour also includes a visit to the Bamboo Grove, a photogenic landmark filled with sprawling bamboo shoots towering over you!

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Address: Arashiyama, Ukyo-ku
Opening Hours: 24 hours
Entrance Fee: Free
Nearest Station: Saga-Arashiyama Station (via the JR Pass)

Klook your arashiyama day trip in kyoto with sagano romantic train and hozugawa river boat rides here!

5. Tofukuji Temple

japan-autumn-tofukuji-temple

The autumn foliage at Tofukuji Temple is a household name not just in Japan, but across all autumn avid fans from around the globe! Every year, the Zen temple at Southeastern Kyoto blossoms into the most vibrant crimson, beckoning each and every local and traveller alike to fall in love with Japan all over again.

The best vantage point is not at the peak of Tofukuji Temple but along the Tsutenkyo Bridge. The 100 meter long walk is lavished with valleys of burgundy maple trees, another sight you wouldn’t want to miss. Capture the temple at its peak in November!

Tofukuji Temple
Address: 778 Honmachi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0981, Japan
Opening Hours: 9am to 5om (April to October); 8.30am to 4pm (November to early December); 9am to 3.30pm (December to March)
Nearest Station: Tofukuji Station (via the JR Pass)

6. Tenryuji Temple

japan-autumn-tenryuji-temple
Photo credits: TOTORORO.RORO on Flickr

Second to none, the Tenryuji Temple is another unbeatable spot when it comes to catching the autumn hues. Waste no time and head straight inside at the Hyakkaen Garden for another stunning foliage.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is also home to famous paintings like “The Cloud Dragon” right on the ceiling of the Hatto Hall. For a meagre fee of 500 yen, pair a romantic gallery viewing of Japan’s renowned painting while the garden dips in shades of red.

If both the Tofukuji and Tenryuji Temples are on your list of agenda and you prefer being chauffeured around, Klook a Maple Leaves Sightseeing Trip!

Tenryuji Temple
Address: 68 Susukinobaba-cho, Saga Tenryu-ji, Ukyo-ku
Opening Hours: 8.30am to 5.30pm (21st March to 20th October); 8.30am to 5pm (21st October to 20th March)
Nearest Station: Arashiyama Station or Saga Station (via the JR Pass)

Klook your tenryuji temple and tofukuji temple autumn maple leaves sightseeing trip in kyoto here!

Tokyo

7. Watarase Keikoku Railway

japan-autumn-watarase-railway

A ride on the Watarase Keikoku Railway is one scene right out of a romantic movie! There is no better way than to lay back in the comforts of your seats while capturing the gorgeous swath of red littering across the district. Food services are available in the train so you can dig into a bento to rid your hunger pangs!

japan-autumn-takatsudokyo-gorge
Photo credits: @notobachan on Instagram

Away from city lines, the Takatsudokyo Gorge is one pit stop along the Watarase Keikoku Railway route. The popping red bridge is hard to miss so it shouldn’t be too difficult to spot. You can also disembark from the ride and cross the iconic geometric bridge for a static view of the amber rainforest.

Takatsudokyo Gorge
Address: Omama, Midori City, Gunma
Opening Hours: 24 hours
Nearest Station: Omama Station (via the JR Pass)

japan-autumn-ashikaga-flower-park

Catch the best of the autumn vista and complete it with a brilliant illumination at the Ashikaga Flower Park. Definitely not just another cliche light show, you will have to see it to be-leaf it!

Ashikaga Flower Park
Address: 607 Hasamacho, Ashikaga, Tochigi 329-4216, Japan
Opening Hours: 9am to 6pm
Nearest Station: Ashikaga Flower Park Station (via the JR Pass)

Klook your autumn maple leaves sightseeing day tour from tokyo here!

8. Rikugien

japan-autumn-rikugien
Photo credits: Tokyo Park Association

Rikugien is Tokyo’s most famous landscaped garden, showcasing a garden you’ll find back during the Edo period. The garden actually takes a whole hour to cover so be sure to set aside sufficient time. Accentuated by the peaceful stream running along the Togetsukyo Bridge, the entire setup is one #insta-worthy backdrop to excel your photo game.

japan-autumn-rikugien
Photo credits: Tokyo Park Association

Most places close when the day comes to an end but not for Rikugien. Travellers and locals alike can still catch the autumn season in full bloom even when the sun had long set.

Rikugien
Address: 6 Chome-16-3 Honkomagome, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 113-0021, Japan
Opening Hours: 9am to 9pm (Closed 21st December to 1st January)
Entrance Fee: 300 yen
Nearest Station: Komagome Station (via the JR Pass & Tokyo Subway Ticket)

9. Icho Namiki

japan-autumn-icho-namiki
Photo credits: @shinyakuraoka on Instagram

japan-autumn-icho-namiki
Photo credits: Tim Tram on Flickr

The best sightseeing trails are best paired with a full blown festival of toasty street food! Every year, food vendors part of the Jingugaien Itcho Festival (Mid November to early December) line themselves along the sidewalks and offer Japanese dishes from bite-sized food like takoyaki (Octopus balls) to a hearty bowl of ramen and donburi. What better way to pair your walk along the most spectacular gingko blossom other than a full stomach?

Icho Namiki
Address: 1 Kasumigaoka, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo
Opening Hours: 10am to 5.30pm
Nearest Station: Gaienmae Station or Aoyama-Itchome Station (via the Tokyo Subway Ticket)

Hokkaido

10. Blue Pond

japan-autumn-blue-pond

The Blue Pond is exactly what its named after, a pond so cobalt-blue that in the absence of wind, a moment of stillness would turn the crystal surface into a mirror reflection. Despite its underrated reputation, this hidden gem in Hokkaido absolutely deserves a visit in Fall. The surrounding mountain erupts into a eye-catching palette of yellow and green, creating a visually stunning contrast against the Blue Pond.

Along with a visit to Shikisai-no-Oka, an a-maize-ing flourish of flowers resembling a rainbow strip, and the largest waterfall at Hagoromo Waterfall, Klook a slot in the Hagoromo Falls, Blue Pond, and Shikisai-no-Oka Autumn Day Trip from Sapporo to enjoy all of Hokkaido’s prime spots.

Blue Pond
Address: Shirogane, Biei-cho, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido
Opening Hours: 24 hours
Nearest Station: Biei Station (via the JR Pass)

Klook your hagoromo falls, blue pond, and shikisa-no-oka auutmn day trip from sapporo here!

11. Daisetsuzan National Park, Kogen Onsen Ponds

japan-autumn-daisetsuzan-national-park
Photo credits: Roger Nichol on Flickr

Any seasoned hikers in Japan would know that Daisetsuzan National Park has nothing shy of the most spectacular fall scenes. However, only regulars would know that the real deal is near the river beds. Kogen Onsen Ponds is a hot spring located deep inside the park. Definitely an autumn pick for those on board the #fitspo journey, the trade off is guaranteed worth the sweat.

If you prefer taking things easy, we have just the plan for you. Access to most of Hokkaido’s popular fall spots and Daisetsuzan National Park in a 2D1N Autumn Leaves Viewing trip.

Daisetsuzan National Park
Address: Yukomanbetsu, Higashikawa, Kamikawa District, Hokkaido Prefecture 071-1472
Opening Hours: 24 hours
Nearest Station: Kamikawa Station (via the JR Pass)

Klook a 2D1N ginsendai, sounkyo and ginga and ryusei falls day trip with autumn leaves viewing here!

12. Jozankei Onsen

japan-autumn-jozankei-onsen
Photo credits: Wikimedia.Commons

Jozankei Onsen is located just an hour of Sapporo and is not just famed for its foot bath but also for its breathtaking autumn transformation. Patrons can stroll around the resort while chasing after fall-ing maple leaves! For a fuss-free process, Klook your tickets here for immediate booking verification!

Jozankei Onsen
Address: Jozankei Onsen Higashi 3-chome, Minami-ku, Sapporo
Opening Hours: 7am to 8pm
Entrance Fee: 300 yen
Nearest Station: Makomanai Station or Sapporo Station (via the JR Pass)

Klook your hokkaido jozankei resort spa mori no uta onsen day tour here!