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gq_dq Nov 22nd, 2019 07:15 PM

Japan autumn foliage season question
I’ve been reading up on the Japan autumn foliage season and obviously while the colors are completely weather dependent especially with changing global patterns, I was planning a weeklong trip in 2020 and just wondering if I should go Nov 15-22 or Nov 29 - Dec 6. Hokkaido’s not on the itinerary since the leaves turn there in October, but am certainly intending to include the Fuji, Nikko, Tokyo and Kyoto/Osaka areas. Is it worth going in late Nov-1st week of Dec or are the colors poorer and would the leaves have fallen by then especially around Fuji… so should I just stick to the more “normal” mid-Nov timeframe?

kja Nov 22nd, 2019 08:00 PM

Have you looked at

CounterClifton Nov 29th, 2019 03:11 PM

We've been wondering the very same question and watching those year-to-year foliage maps as well. Looked like the last couple of years, it's leaned more to the later period you listed.

I'm more posting to see what answers you might get. It seems awfully hard to pre-plan successfully.

Kathie Nov 30th, 2019 11:50 AM

I worried about whether we had chosen the optimal time to go before our Japan trip, but found that there is a fair amount of leeway, as you will likely visit some places at a higher altitude, for instance, and other places in a warmer micro-climate. I think it really doesn't matter which of those dates you choose, you'll see spectacular fall colors.

mrwunrfl Dec 2nd, 2019 02:49 PM

I would stick to the "normal" period for those stops. That is in fact what I just did (again) arriving on the 15 and departing on the 24th.

In Tokyo on the 16h, Rikugien garden was quite colorful. The yuki-tsuri were in the process of being put up. I went back that night for the light-up night only to find that it didn't start until the 20th.

Kenrokuen in Kanazawa was beautiful on the 18th. Several trees were already up in their yukitsuri (snow suspenders). I watched for a bit while a crew of about 10 men prepared to string up one magnificent tree. I skipped the free light-up night because it was pouring rain and cold.

On the 19th, I went to Unazuki Onsen and rode the Kurobe Gorge Railway, " the #1 V-Gorge railway in Japan" :) It was very colorful at the beginning, loved it, and for much of the ride, but at the end of the line it was winter cold. I stayed at a nice onsen ryokan hotel in Unazuki called Entaijiso. It was another cold & wet day, so a good day for a scenic train ride.

On the 20th, I enjoyed fall colors from the train and bus on the way to Kusatsu Onsen.

On the 22nd, in Nikko, it was colorful around the Iemitsu shrine, but past peak.

On the 24th, I saw some colorful trees in the park behind the Hyatt Regency in Tokyo, but like much of the trip it was past peak.

gq_dq, I suggest that you arrive in Tokyo on the 14th and go to Meiji Jingu the next day for shichi-go-san. Then Nikko, Hakone, Kyoto,

Axel2DP Dec 11th, 2019 01:49 PM

I just came back from Japan this November. Of course it's hard to predict the fall foliage, but I would say try to go late November to early December.

I visited the following on my trip:
1. Tokyo from 11/11 - 11/17 (overnight trip to Nikko 11/14-11/15)
2. Kyoto from 11/12 - 11/24 (took a Hozugawa boat trip, and also day trip to Himeji castle)
3. Nara from 11/24 - 11/27 (day trip to Osaka castle)
4. Miyajima 11/27 - 11/28
5. Hiroshima 11/28 - 11/29

For my trip the Tokyo fall leaves were not in full show yet. I was told that the week after would be the big show for Tokyo. Nikko was perfect though and gorgeous; The lady at the inn where I was staying said that Nikko was in full fall foliage when I was there.

Kyoto was just simply gorgeous. I think I was there just at the perfect time, and I was already seeing falling leaves accumulating at the bottom of the trees. I don't want to get too melodramatic with my description, LOL, but the fall foliages were just stunning. There was just way too much in to see in Kyoto that 6 full days weren't enough for me. Sometimes I felt like saying, "Please Stop. I can't take anymore of these gorgeousness.", because I was constantly "forced" to take pictures, LOL.

The Hozugawa boat trip was a beauty too with the colorful trees on both sides of the river bank and then you can see the tourist train riding above on the side of the cliff.

The park area surrounding Osaka Castle was in full color mode when I was there. Beautiful.

Nara was also in full fall foliage gorgeousness when I was there. Miyajima was too; I took the cable car up to the top of Miyajima and below me were bursts of color in the forest below.

Alejandrow Dec 14th, 2019 01:46 AM

Mid November to early December is a good time to go for most places to see Koya from Tokyo to Osaka/Kyoto.

mrwunrfl Dec 14th, 2019 11:42 AM

Maybe the later time period, being not the "normal" time, might have fewer tourists to contend with.

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