The Importance of ‘Koyo’ in Japan

The Importance of ‘Koyo’ in Japan

Known as ‘koyo’ in Japanese, the yearly phenomenon of the changing autumn leaves holds special importance. Although the expression refers specially to red leaves, koyo has overtime come to encapsulate all the colours of autumn along with the national past-time of ‘momijigari’ or ‘hunting for autumn leaves’ through late-September until November.

In many ways, appreciation of the autumn leaves is aligned the Japanese study and love of the fragile and ephemeral beauty of the cherry blossoms of spring. Throughout Japan, people travel great distances to reach the most beautiful koyo spots, the most famous of which attract thousands of visitors.

Through the autumn months, the motif of the autumn leaves is everywhere; decorating everything from storefronts, kimono, gift wrappings, packaging, restaurants, beer cans and more! The bountiful autumn harvest supplies an endless supply of seasonal confectionaries, desserts and snacks – including the chestnuts of Obuse – as Japan embraces the leaves and their passing beauty.

Given their higher altitude, the mountains of Japan offer the earliest and some of the best viewing koyo-viewing opportunities. Home to many of Japan’s highest peaks and dissected by large mountain ranges, Nagano can lay claim to being one of the best destinations for anyone hunting the best autumn leaves in Japan.

Much like the blossoms, predicting the date when each location will be at its best is important business and places great importance of the koyo forecast. For information regarding the forecast, please refer to our ‘Predicting the Autumn Leaves’ page.


Want to experience the autumn leaves on a private tour or charter? free to contact us and let’s get planning together!