Japan autumn foliage season question

Nov 22nd, 2019, 07:15 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 32
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?
gq_dq is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2019, 08:00 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Have you looked at japan-guide.com?
kja is offline  
Nov 29th, 2019, 03:11 PM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 23,963
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.
CounterClifton is offline  
Nov 30th, 2019, 11:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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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.
Kathie is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2019, 02:49 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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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,
mrwunrfl is offline  
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