Japan is renowned for its exquisite seasonal transitions, and autumn is a particularly enchanting time to explore this vibrant country. As the summer heat mellows into a comfortable coolness, Japan’s landscapes transform into a kaleidoscope of warm hues, painting a picturesque backdrop for unforgettable experiences. Here’s how you can fully enjoy autumn in Japan and immerse yourself in the splendor of this captivating season.

The autumn season in Japan typically kicks off in September and gracefully transitions into winter by late November or early December. During this time, the entire country undergoes a breathtaking transformation, with foliage turning vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold. Whether you’re strolling through ancient temples adorned with fiery leaves or hiking along scenic trails ablaze with autumnal colors, Japan’s natural beauty is sure to leave you in awe.

Autumn in Japan also brings a cornucopia of seasonal delights, with an abundance of harvest festivals, culinary delights, and traditional activities to enjoy. Indulge in the rich flavors of autumn cuisine, from hearty hot pots and chestnut delicacies to freshly harvested fruits and vegetables. Don’t miss the opportunity to sample seasonal treats like roasted sweet potatoes and fragrant chestnut snacks, which are widely available at local markets and street vendors.

Moreover, autumn festivals, known as “matsuri,” are held across Japan, offering a glimpse into the country’s vibrant culture and traditions. From lively street parades to mesmerizing lantern displays, these festivals provide a captivating blend of entertainment and cultural immersion. Be sure to join in the festivities and experience the warmth and hospitality of the Japanese people during this festive season.

Whether you’re exploring bustling cities like Tokyo and Kyoto or venturing into the serene countryside, autumn in Japan promises unforgettable experiences and breathtaking landscapes. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and embark on an autumn adventure that will leave you with cherished memories to last a lifetime.

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Read more about Autumn in Japan: Ways to enjoy Autumn, Places to enjoy Autumn leaves in Tokyo, Autumn Hiking spots, Autumn day trip ideas, Autumn festivals in Japan, What to eat in Autumn.

Ways to Enjoy Autumn in Japan

1. View the Koyo, or the Changing of the Leaves 

Ways to Enjoy Autumn in Japan View the Koyo, or the Changing of the Leaves
Credit: Medium

Watching the changing of the leaves, called koyo, is arguably the most popular fall activity in Japan. There are many different popular locations in Japan to watch the autumn leaves. You can view the leaves from hiking trails, mountaintops, parks and more. Some famous autumn leaves locations include Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Eikando Temple in Kyoto and Mt. Takao! Enjoy the peacefulness and beauty of nature as you view the brightly coloured red, yellow and orange leaves.

2. Visit the Kochia Carnival

Ways to Enjoy Autumn in Japan Visit the Kochia Carnival
Credit: Japanistry

Located in Hitachi Seaside Park in the Ibaraki Prefecture, the Kochia Carnival is an extremely popular autumn destination for those in Japan. Here, you can view the deep crimson Kochia, or summer cypress, and beautiful blooming cosmos flowers. The view of the vibrant colours and sheer scale of plants against the blue sky is breathtaking. The Kochia festival offers various activities and food for you to enjoy while viewing the kochias—their kochia ice cream is only sold during the carnival, so don’t miss out! The festival takes place from September to October.

3. Try Some Seasonal Autumn Food 

Ways to Enjoy Autumn in Japan Try Some Seasonal Autumn Food
Credit: Savor Japan

In autumn, Japan offers many different hearty and delicious dishes and autumn-specific food. To keep you warm in the chilly weather, try some roasted chestnuts, roasted sweet potatoes, or matsutake mushrooms, also known as pine tree mushrooms. Some popular autumn Japanese dishes include oden, a dashi soup with ingredients such as boiled eggs, Japanese radish, fish cakes and tofu, and sanma, grilled silver-skinned fish! These dishes are only scratching the surface of available autumn meals—the list goes on and on!

4. Experience Japan’s Autumn Festivals

Ways to Enjoy Autumn in Japan Experience Japan’s Autumn Festivals
Credit: Japan Travel

Japan is also famous for its abundance of Autumn Festivals. You can immerse yourself in Japanese culture, try out delicious food, and enjoy the fall atmosphere! One such festival is Kichijoji Autumn Festival, a festival in Tokyo held on the second weekend of September. At this festival you can welcome autumn in full force and watch people carrying a mikoshi shrine throughout the city. Another popular autumn festival is Sapporo Autumn Fest, Hokkaido’s biggest food festival. It takes place in September and offers locally grown food, wine, and other interesting products!

5. Visit a Moon-Viewing Festival

Ways to Enjoy Autumn in Japan Visit a Moon-Viewing Festival
Credit: Kokoro Media

Known as Otsukimi, moon-viewing festivals are a distinct type of Japanese autumn festival dedicated to honoring the moon and wishing for a good harvest. Okitsumi festivals provide good, traditional food and other cultural activities. It is usually celebrated on the day of the Harvest Moon, sometime between September and October. 

6. Destress at an Onsen

Ways to Enjoy Autumn in Japan Destress at an Onsen
Credit: Enchanting Travels

The cool weather of autumn provides the perfect opportunity to visit an onsen, or hot springs. Onsen are notable for using natural volcanic spring water, providing a unique and relaxing experience. Many onsen are located in Japan’s countryside or mountainous areas, and most onsen inns also offer overnight stay. You can relax in the hot water while watching the beautiful autumn leaves!

7. Celebrate Halloween Japan-Style

Ways to Enjoy Autumn in Japan Celebrate Halloween Japan-Style
Credit: The Frequent Travellist

Although Halloween isn’t necessarily as popular as it is in the West, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate the spooky season! Shibuya in Tokyo is a popular spot for younger people to visit, adorned in their costumes, on Halloween. You can see the different and lavish costumes, dress up in your own costume and enjoy some Halloween festivities. Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights also provide places to get spooked and enjoy Halloween!

There are so many places to visit and things to do during autumn in Japan! Many people associate Japanese nature with springtime cherry blossoms, but autumn in Japan provides just as many gorgeous sceneries and ways to tap into nature. With all the autumn dishes to try and events to visit, you won’t get bored during Japan’s autumn season!

Read more about Autumn in Japan: Ways to enjoy Autumn, Places to enjoy Autumn leaves in Tokyo, Autumn Hiking spots, Autumn day trip ideas, Autumn festivals in Japan, What to eat in Autumn.

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