The blazing hot summer has officially come to an end and autumn has arrived with its cool and pleasant weather. If you are planning a trip abroad and are in need of trip ideas, Japan is the perfect place to visit. The arrival of autumn in Japan is celebrated through numerous festivals while the beautiful weather and spectacular destinations welcome travelers from all over the world.
Weather in Japan in Autumn
Before you book your trip to Japan, you’ll probably want to know what weather you can expect. On average, daytime temperatures range from 68°F to around 73°F depending on the region. During the night, the temperature usually drops to around 59°F although it may be even colder than that in the mountainous areas.
The cold weather usually starts in the northern parts of the country and then slowly makes its way down to the south. As far as wardrobe planning is concerned, it is best to bring warm and comfortable clothes.
Things to Do In Japan in Autumn
If you want to know about some of the best things you can do in Japan, here are some suggestions for activities to do and places to visit. Japan is one of the most captivating Asian countries so you can expect to have an incredible time no matter when you visit.
1. Leaf Viewing
The autumn leaves viewing, known as koyo in Japan, usually begins in mid-September and lasts until the end of November. As the weather starts changing gradually from the north toward the south, so do the leaves. If you are visiting Japan in autumn, here are some suggestions for the best places to visit in order to gaze at the beautiful and soft colors of autumn leaves.
Kyoto is a must if you want to see some of the most beautiful autumn leaves in their orange, yellow and red glory. Kyoto is known for its beautiful temples and shrines and if we add the gorgeous colors of autumn leaves, there is no doubt that it will take your breath away with its marvelous beauty.
Hokkaido is filled with a number of national parks, with some of the more known ones being the Daisetsuzan National Park and the Shiretoko National Park. Some additional places to visit include Noboribetsu Onsen, a hot spring resort, and Onuma Park.
Nikko is a popular viewing spot that includes some of the best locations for observing the autumn leaves. If you are visiting Nikko during the early days of October then you must visit the Ryuzu Waterfall. However, if you are planning your trip during mid or late-October then the Kegon Waterfall and the Irohazaka Winding Road are the best places to visit in order to get the most out of you autumn leaves viewing experience.
2. Autumn Festivals
Throughout the months of September, October and November, there are various harvest festivals held across Japan in order to celebrate the harvest season, but also the arrival of autumn. Here are some suggestions for festivals to visit during your trip.
The Nagasaki Kunchi Festival usually takes place during the first week of October. The festival incorporates various aspects of Dutch and Chinese culture since both of them played a big role in the history of the city. The main attractions at this festival are the dance and show performances by various artists.
Another festival held in early October is the Hachiman Matsuri Festival in Takayama, a mountain village. Some of the highlights of this festival are the festival parade, the yatai float display, and the marionette performance.
The Autumn Grand Festival which takes place in the Nikko area is held over the course of two days in mid-October. During the first day of the festival, you will be able to witness yabusame, traditional Japanese horseback archery, and during the second day the grand samurai procession. During the grand samurai procession, 800 samurais surround a portable shrine after they had tracked a 2-kilometer route around the neighborhood.
Read more: A Guide to Visiting Asia in October
3. Hokkaido Food Festival
If you’re a passionate foodie, then the Hokkaido Food Festival (also known as the Hokkai Shokudo) is something you must visit. Held over four days, it features various food specialties and drinks from Hokkaido. Some of these specialties include seafood (Hokkaido is known for seafood), fruits such as the Nashi pear and strawberries in Pippu, and vegetables such as the Japanese pumpkin. When it comes to dessert, one of the best ice creams in Japan can be found in Hokkaido.
4. Hiking and Cycling
Japan offers some spectacular vistas you can fully enjoy from up close. Due to the pleasant weather in October, it is the perfect time of the year for some outdoor activity.
Mount Takao, located just a little outside of Tokyo, is known for its beautiful scenery, proximity to the center of Tokyo, and for amazing hiking opportunities.
Fushimi Inari Shrine, which is known for its thousands of torii gates, is located in southern Kyoto. This is another great location for hiking and absorbing all that beautiful scenery.
If you are visiting Osaka and you wish to hike, the best place to visit Minoo Park. Minoo Park is a park with a waterfall located just outside of Osaka. This is also an excellent place to visit if you want to view the autumn leaves.
Fans of cycling should head for Tokyo, rent a bike and go cycling around Yoyogi Park and the area around the Imperial Palace. Both of these locations offer the opportunity to explore parts of the city and experience Japanese history and culture.
5. Celebrate Halloween
Halloween is not exclusively reserved for western countries – it is also becoming increasingly popular in Japan. It is held on the 31st of October.
Although people don’t trick-or-treat during Halloween, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any sweets involved. There are loads of candies and sweets to buy and enjoy. The focus is mostly placed on the costumes that are worn. Japanese people dedicate a lot of time and effort into the costumes. There are usual costumes such as witches, vampires, ghosts, zombies, but people also dress up as characters from anime or manga. If you are in need of a Halloween costume, you should pay a visit to Don Quijote Akihabara, also referred to as Donki.
Some of the best places to celebrate Halloween in Japan include: the street party in Shibuya, or visit the popular theme parks in Tokyo – Disneyland Tokyo and Universal Studios. You can also visit haunted houses. Some of the more popular ones are Onryou Zashiki, Daiba Strange School, and Sakura no Onrei.
Japan in autumn is a feast for the eyes. In case you’re you are restricted with time, be sure to see at least some of these destinations from our list. You will surely have the time of your life no matter what you pick.