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Autumn in Japan 2022: Fall Foliage Forecast & Where to Enjoy the Colorful Leaves

Autumn in Japan is almost as famous as spring. Visitors can't get enough of the Japanese maple leaves and other vivid fall foliage colors! Plan a trip to Japan between October and December, and you can enjoy many beautiful places with autumn colors.
The peak season for autumn leaves in Japan varies by region. Check our fall foliage forecast and make the most out of autumn in Japan!

When is autumn season in Japan?

Image: Japan Meteorological Corporation

Autumn in Japan is from September to November. Foliage starts to change from Hokkaido southward by mid-October. By the end of November, the leaves in many areas will be at their best. This is the best time to visit Japan for foliage.
Japan has two foliage waves: one for yellow leaves and the other for red-colored leaves. From the end of October to early November, ginkgo trees will turn yellow in greater Tokyo. This is followed by Japanese maple trees and their red leaves.
Depending on elevation and weather conditions, the autumn colors may peak in late November/early December in some areas.

1. Hokkaido (Sapporo/Hakodate)

Jouzankei (Sapporo City) (Photo: Shutterstock)

As Japan's northernmost island, Hokkaido sees the first autumn colors in the country. Since the island is covered with trees, it is one of the more spectacular areas to visit.
Hokkaido's fall colors start from Mount Asahi in the Daisetsuzan Volcanic Group and move south. A unique feature of the mountains in Hokkaido is various broadleaf trees, and conifers are mixed, such as maple, Japanese rowan, black locust, Ezo spruce, and Sakhalin fir. For this reason, three leaf colors – red, yellow, and green – come together and create something special.
Notable places for autumn leaves in Hokkaido include:
・Sapporo City – Home to multiple breathtaking spots for fall foliage, especially around Hokkaido University and Nakajima Park.
・Jozankei Onsen – A hot springs resort near Sapporo; autumn colors line the sides of the tranquil Toyohira River here.
・Sounkyo – A beautiful area in central Hokkaido ringed by stunning tall cliffs, waterfalls, and colorful leaves.
・Noboribetsu – A volcanically active area in Southwestern Hokkaido where bubbling pools of water are ringed by firey foliage.

2022 Foliage Forecast for Hokkaido (Recommended areas to visit)

Peak around October 7
Jozankei Onsen
Peak around October 16
Miharashi Park (Hakodate)
Peak around October 30
Lake Akan (Kushiro)
Peak around October 11
Sapporo City
November 6

Browse recommended places to stay in Hokkaido
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2. Tohoku (Sendai/Aomori)

Zao Mountain Range (Yamagata Prefecture) (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Tohoku area is in the northern part of Honshu, the largest of Japan’s main islands.
The best time to see autumn leaves in Tohoku is between mid-October and late November, relativ…

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