Autumn in Japan is the perfect season to go hiking. The red leaves of the Japanese maple trees make this season beautiful and the cool temperature makes it a great time to stretch your legs and hike through different mountains.
Autumn in Japan is also known as “momiji season.” This is the time of year where Japanese maple trees are changing their colors, and many tourists visit Japan to see this spectacular scenery. Here are the top 10 hiking spots for you to enjoy the autumn leaves around and near Tokyo.
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Autumn Leaves Hiking Spots
1. 奥多摩 (Okutama)
Okutama is a big area with different mountains surrounding Lake Okutama. Lake Okutama in Tokyo is an artificial lake reservoir created between the Tama River and the Ogouchi Dam. When autumn arrives, the autumn leaves of the surrounding mountains such as Mount Kumotori, Mount Mito, and Mount Gozen are reflected on the surface of the lake, and you can enjoy the beautiful scenery from the shore.
There are many different hiking trails you can choose from here in Okutama that will take you around the gorgeous mountains and the view of the autumn red leaves. You can hike through Mount Takamizu, Mount Kawanori, and Mount Mitake (which we will cover in more detail later). One of the most popular hiking trails is called The Okutama Mukashi Michi. This hiking trail takes you from Okutama JR Station to Okutama Lake. This trail is not that steep and it covers quite a few gorgeous historical and nature sights along the way.
Since there are many different hiking trails and viewing spots here in Okutama, you can come back multiple times and enjoy the autumn leaves from different places.
2. 高尾山 (Mt. Takao)
If you have looked into hiking in Japan, chances are you probably have come across Mount Takao. Mount Takao is a mountain located about an hour by train from the Tokyo city center. This mountain is home to about 1200 species of plants, about 100 species of wild birds, and about 5000 species of insects.
There are many different hiking trails here at Mount Takao for people of all levels. There is also the option of taking the cable car, allowing you to cruise above the treetops.
The maples in autumn here are exceptional. You can find maple trees standing tall on the mountaintop, the area around the temple, the cable car station, and Mount Takao Station. The Japanese maple trees here grow in clusters and the red and yellow leaves tunnels are formed at the peak of Mount Takao. With many different food stalls and resting areas, you can take your time and take in the gorgeous view of the autumn leaves here.
3. 御岳山 (Mount Mitake)
Mount Mitake is very popular among hikers, especially during autumn. It is also known as a power spot that has been worshipped for a long time. You can climb up to the top of the mountain by cable car and enjoy the autumn panorama easily.
The rock garden hiking course, which takes you along the river from Tenguiwa to Ayahiro Falls between mossy giant rocks and strange stones, is also recommended for autumn leaves hunting. Getting to Musashi Mitake Shrine on the mountaintop and the view from Nagaodaira are also some of the many highlights.
Mount Akagi has been named one of Japan’s Top 100 Mountains. It takes about two hours by car or train to get here from central Tokyo. Hiking at Akagiyama is safe even for first-timers because it is a mountain road with very few ups and downs. It is not known to many people but in autumn here at Mount Akagi, you can enjoy hiking while scrolling through the fluffy fallen leaves.
There are more than 19 hiking trails here and they take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours. A popular route for intermediate users is a route of about 3 hours and 30 minutes, starting from Lake Kakougen at the top of Mount Akagi and heading for the summit of Mt. Kurohi, the main peak.
Another popular hiking trail is to go around Ono lake, a huge lake located in the center of the mountains. It is a popular spot that many people visit because you can enjoy the autumn colors from anywhere around the lake. The gorgeous view of the red leaves reflecting on the lake is a breathtaking view here.
5. 金時山（神奈川県）Mount Ashigara
Mount Ashigara, also known as Mount Kintoki, is Hakone’s highest mountain. It takes roughly 2 hours to get here from central Tokyo. This place is recommended for people who want to enjoy a full-scale hike on a day trip from Tokyo. It is said that the nursery rhyme “Kintaro” was born from this location, a story about a child with superhuman strength and his journey.
Along the hike, you can visit the Kintoki-jinja and then gaze at Kintaro’s huge battle ax at the Kintoki-jinja Shrine. There are two tea houses on the mountain summit and you can enjoy the red leaves along the way.
At the summit, you can also get the spectacular view of Mount Fuji from the top of the mountain. Keep in mind that the ups and downs here are relatively tough, so it is a mountain for intermediate players.
6. 茶臼岳（栃木県）Mt. Chausu
Mount Chausu is an active volcano and it represents the Kanto region. This mountain, which has been selected as one of Japan’s 100 Famous Mountains, has a ropeway at the 7th to 9th stations and is popular among people from the elderly to children who can easily enjoy hiking.
It is a hiking spot that has been loved by many people ever since the ropeway was completed in 1958. You can enjoy the autumn leaves that colour the slopes of the mountain up close.
There are many different hiking routes here, from a mini hiking course of about 1 hour to a full-scale trekking course, and you can choose which route to take according to your own physical strength. From “Ushigane”, which is close to the top of the ropeway, you can enjoy the autumn leaves at an angle unique to the plateau. You can feel the nature surrounding the volcano very easily depending on your chosen route, physical strength and sightseeing time. Enjoy a hike that refreshes your body and soul.
Nagatoro is famous for its striking geological features with cliffs, a river and wooded forests. Nagatoro is one of the most scenic spots in Japan and you can enjoy the beautiful deep blue water flowing between the rocks, surrounded by forests and mountains. Nagatoro is about 2 hours by train from Tokyo. The view of the trees that grow naturally on the rugged rocks is very special. In autumn, the contrast between the bright autumn leaves and the nature around is stunning.
This is the only place where you can see the autumn leaves while sitting on the rock pavement, which is also designated as a special natural monument. It’s also a fun experience to walk on the rugged stones, paying careful attention to your feet. It’s also cool to see the autumn leaves while enjoying the famous trails.
The best time to view Autumn leaves in Nagatoro is generally November. Stretching six kilometers along the Ara river showoff the fall colors, decorating the Nagatoro Valley. Taking the famous Kudari line down the river is a great way to take in the view.
8. 袋田の滝（茨城県）Fukuroda Falls
Fukuroda Falls in Ibaraki Prefecture is one of the three famous waterfalls in Japan, with a height of 120m and a width of 73m. Since the flow falls onto the steps, it is also called “Yodo no Taki”, meaning sideways falls. In autumn, Japanese maple, oak, poison ivy, etc. turn red and yellow, surrounding the waterfall. The beauty of the scene can be seen in the song “Taki of Fukuroda, which is made by Saigyo Hoshi and is produced by Yamahime’s “Nishiki weave.”
There are two popular hiking trails here, Tsukioresan hiking course and Mountain stream walking course.
Tsukioresan hiking course takes you across a suspension bridge overlooking Fukuroda Falls and along the Fukuroda Nature Research Road. The view from the observatory is truly spectacular, especially during autumn.
The mountain stream walking course is a hiking course that takes you up and close to the falls, on the lower reaches of the Takimi River. You can take a walk along the mountain stream while enjoying the murmuring of the river and the red leaves around.
9. 養老渓谷（千葉県）Yoro Valley
The Yoro Valley, created by the Yoro River that flows through Ichihara City, is popular because of its well-developed hiking trails. In 2007, it was selected as one of the 100 Geological Selections in Japan.
The highlight of the Yoro Valley is the “waterfall tour”. The trail is well maintained, so you can easily enjoy hiking without having to prepare much for it. You can head on over to the Kuroyu Onsen after a day of walking around and hiking.
Along the trail, you will come across a lot of autumn leaves. In the Yoro Valley area, you can find the Daifukuyama Observatory, where you can see the coloured mountains in autumn, the waterfall and the valleys.
10. 伊香保神社（群馬県) Ikaho Shrine
This is quite specific but Ikaho Shrine area is a special place you might not want to miss. Ikaho Shrine along with Ikaho Onsen are located in Gunma Prefecture. Ikaho Shrine is known as the “god of marriage”. It is a popular power spot for women. There is also a town bus that goes around the hot spring town, taking you to the front of the shrine. There are quite a lot to see in the area, you’ll feel like you’ve taken a small hike just by walking around.
The recommended hiking spot is a hiking course that connects the ropeway summit (Monomiyama summit) to Ikaho Shrine. In autumn, a carpet of autumn leaves awaits you here. The road is well maintained, making it a great hiking trail for everyone. There is a lot of nature around Ikaho Shrine. You can take in the gorgeous view of the autumn leaves dyed in red surrounding the bright red Kajika Bridge.
Leaves start turning yellow and red around October 20th and it peaks around early November. Come here during this period of time to enjoy the wonderful autumn colours while hiking around the area.
It depends on the spot but autumn leaves don’t stick around for too long. Make sure to double check online or message us on Instagram for the most up-to-date information. When you get a chance, come and check out one or more of these amazing places here on this list. Which place have you been to or want to check out? Let us know in the comment section.