The Importance of ‘Koyo’ and ‘Momijigari’ 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. On this page you will also find the following information:
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. As such, people travel great distances to reach the most beautiful koyo spots, the most famous of which attract thousands of visitors. For this year’s forecast, see our ‘Autumn Leaves Forecast’ page.
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 as Japan embraces the leaves and their passing beauty.
Given their higher altitude, the mountains of Nagano offer the earliest and some of the best koyo-viewing and momijigari in Japan. Home to many of the country’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.
BEST AUTUMN LEAVES IN NAGANO
Within easy reach of Tokyo, Nagano and the surrounding prefectures making-up Central Japan are blessed with some of the country’s ‘koyo’ spots, thanks to the region’s mountainous character and cooler climate. Our ’20 Best Places To See Autumn Leaves In & Around Nagano’ page introduces some of our favourite spots and when the leaves are likely to be at their best.
BEST AUTUMN LEAVES IN TOKYO
If you’re visiting Japan from abroad, chances are that you’ll be spending some time in Tokyo. For those heading there in autumn, the city’s parks turn-on a spectacular show of colour while other great ‘koyo’ spots are found within an hour or two of the capital. Our ’15 Best Places To See Autumn Leaves In & Around Tokyo’ page lists the best options in city for enjoy in the leaves.
BEST AUTUMN LEAVES IN KYOTO
Japan’s ancient capital boasts many of the country’s most important temples and shrines. Attracting millions of visitors each year, the historic sites of Kyoto are at their most spectacular in autumn, when the surrounding gardens frame the buildings in exceptional beauty. Our ’10 Best Places To See Autumn Leaves in Kyoto’ page has our recommendation of some of the best spots in the city to seek-out the leaves.
JOIN A GUIDED AUTUMN TOUR
For visitors heading to our home region of Nagano and Central Japan from late-September through November, some of our most popular group tours head to destinations known for this beautiful autumn leaves including Kamikochi, the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route and Kanbayashi Onsen. Our ‘Autumn Leaves in Nagano: Join A Guided Tour’ page has details of the tours on offer in autumn including how to book with us!