Japan’s October “Flower”: Koyo (Autumn Colors)

Japan is a country that is pleasant to visit all year round. It comes alive with snow during the winter (December – February), blooming cherry blossom trees during spring  (March – May), countless festival events during the summer (June – August), and lovely shades of orange and yellow during autumn (September - November).

According to many, the best time to take a trip to Japan is during late autumn when the country experiences little rainfall, clear skies, and mild temperatures. Add in the koyo (autumn colors) of Japan, all of these factors make for a pleasant and comfortable tour across the country.

Japan’s Seasonal Flowers and October Autumn Colors

There are eleven distinct of flowers/plants that attract many tourists to Japan during different seasons. Given the geography of the country which stretches for about 3,500 kilometers from north to south, the blooming periods or peak seasons of these flowers may vary from region to region.

However, as a rule of thumb, tourists may use the guide below as a basis for their travel plan/s:

  • Plum Blossoms – also known as Ume; start to bloom by mid-February and last until the end of March in Tokyo, Japan

  • Cherry Blossoms – also known as Sakura; start to bloom by late-March and last until mid-April in Tokyo, Japan

  • Tulips – start to bloom by late-April and last until early-May in Tonami, Toyama, Japan

  • Pink Moss – also known as Shibazakura; start to bloom by mid-April and last until mid-May in Fujigoko, Japan

  • Wisteria/Wisterium – also known as Fuji; start to bloom by late-April and last until early-May in Tokyo, Japan

  • Roses – also known as Bara; start to bloom by late-April and last until late-May in Tokyo, Japan

  • Hydrangea – also known as Ajisai; start to bloom by mid-June and last until mid-July in Kamakura, Hakone, Japan

  • Irises – also known as Hanashobu; start to bloom by late-May and last until late-June in Tokyo, Japan

  • Sunflowers – also known as Himawari; start to bloom by early-June and last until early-August in Hokkaido, Japan

  • Lavender – start to bloom by mid-July and last until early-August in Hokkaido, Japan

  • Autumn Colors – also known as Koyo; start to show by mid-September and last until early-December all over Japan

Other than lovely roses, the colorful leaves of autumn serve as the main attraction for foreign travelers and locals exploring Japan during the month of October. The koyo phenomenon often starts to show at the northern tip of Hokkaido and slowly moves downward towards Southern Japan. By November, nearly every region of the country is filled with autumn colors.

Must-Visit Places in Hokkaido for Japan’s October Flowers/Autumn Colors

Daisetsuzan National Park

The Daisetsuzan National Park serves as the biggest national park of Hokkaido. It is considered to be a paradise for hiking and outdoor enthusiasts and is the first place to showcase autumn colors in Japan.

Top attractions: Asahidake Onsen, Kogen Onsen, Mount Kurodake, Sounkyo Onsen, Tokachidake Onsen, Ginsendai, Tenninkyo Onsen

Shiretoko National Park

The Shiretoko National Park, also known as Shiretoko Kokuritsu Koen, can be found in the Eastern portion of Hokkaido, Japan. Only three-fourths of the unspoiled peninsula features roads. Tourists may reach the summit through multi-day hiking/trekking tours.

Top attractions: Ryuhyo (Drift Ice), Five Lakes, Furepe Waterfall, Kamuiwakkayu Falls, Shiretoko pass, Oshinkoshin Falls, Utoro

Noboribetsu Onsen

Noboribetsu Onsen stands as the most popular hot springs resort of Hokkaido. The hot springs it houses feature different types of water believed to provide various health benefits to bathers.

Top attractions: Jigokudani, Porotokotan, Lake Toya, Lake Shikotsu

Onuma Quasi-National Park

The Onuma Quasi-National Park is situated north of Hakodate, about twenty kilometers away. The area is often included as a stopover in the itineraries of tourists going to Sapporo from Hakodate, or vice versa.

Must-Visit Places in Tohoku for Japan’s October Flowers/Autumn Colors


Hachimantai refers to a mountainous area located in northern Akita. The region is included in the limits of the Towada-Hachimantai National Park, making up the majority of its southern section. It serves as a great place to get away from the busy cities of Japan and simply bask in the country’s natural beauty.

Top attractions: Nyuto Onsen, Tamagawa Onsen, Goshogake Onsen, Akita-Komagatake, Fukenoyu Onsen, Mount Hachimantai, Lake Tazawa, Matsukawa Onsen

Lake Towada

Lake Towada, also known as Towadako, falls under the jurisdiction of the Towada-Hachimantai National Park, particularly between the borders of the Aomori Prefecture and Akita Prefecture.

Top attractions: Oirase Stream, Mount Hakkoda, Towada Art Center, Christ’s Grave

Naruko Gorge

The Naruko Gorge, known as Narukokyo by the local community, is among the most breathtaking gorges of Tohoku, Japan. It is just two kilometers away from Naruko Onsen, a charming hot springs town, and seventy kilometers away from Sendai. The best place in Naruko Gorge to view koyo is at the Narukokyo Resthouse, which can be found towards the west.

Top attractions: Naruko Gorge Walking Trail, Ofukazawa Walking Trail,  Japan Kokeshi Museum


Urabandai, sometimes referred to as Bandai Kogen or Bandai Highlands, is a diversely elevated area that can be found north of Mt. Bandai. The place is a popular tourist attraction all year round for its scenic views, hiking routes, walking paths, and skiing opportunities.

Top attractions: Goshikinuma Walk, Bandai-Azuma Lake Line, Bandai-Azuma Skyline

Must-Visit Places in Tokyo for Japan’s October Flowers/Autumn Colors

Rikugien Garden

Rikugien Garden is one of the most beautiful landscaped gardens that can be found in Tokyo, Japan. It dates back to the 18th century when it was developed for the shogun at the time. Its name literally translates to mean “a garden of six poems”, which is reflected in the 88 different poem-inspired scenes within the garden.

Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, daily

Admission Fee/Price: 300 yen per person

Address: 6-16-3 Honkomagome, Bunkyo, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 113-0021

Koishikawa Korakuen

Koishikawa Korakuen stands among Tokyo’s best and oldest gardens that date back to the earlier years of the Edo Period. It is named after a particular Japanese poem that urges rulers to put the happiness of the people he is leading first before his own.

Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, daily

Admission Fee/Price: 300 yen per person

Address: 1-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 112-0004

Ginkgo Avenue

Ginkgo Avenue, or known as Icho Namiki by the Japanese community, refers to a certain street within the Meiji-Jingu Gaien Park which is lined with ginkgo, Tokyo’s official tree.

Address: 1-1 Kasumigaokamachi, Shinjuku, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 160-0013

Mount Takao

Mount Takao, also known as Takaosan, is a natural recreation site that is among the closest to Central Tokyo. It offers visitors with tons of scenic views, hiking trails, and a beautiful temple called Yakuoin.

Top attractions: Yakuoin, Monkey Park, Keio Takaosan Onsen Gokurakuyu, Takao 599 Museum

Showa Memorial Park

The Showa Memorial Park is located in Tachikawa City. From Central Tokyo, the park can be reached in about thirty minutes by train.

Having more than 160 hectares of land, a wide variety of seasonal flowers, sports facilities, museums, natural spaces, and water features can be enjoyed by visitors at the Showa Memorial park. There are also several Western-style gardens, walking trails, and a massive pond within the vicinity.

Top attractions: Cherry Blossom Garden, Emperor Showa Memorial Museum, Flower Hill/Field, Bonsai Museum, Boating Lake

Hours: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM, daily (From March to October); 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM, daily (During holidays and weekends from April to September); 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM, daily (From November to February)

Admission Fee/Price: 410 yen per person

Address: 3173 Midoricho, Tachikawa, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 190-8530

Yoyogi Koen

Yoyogi Koen is a large park situated within the city of Tokyo. It features several forested areas, ponds, and wide lawns that are great for doing outdoor activities such as picnicking and jogging.

Although it may have fewer cherry trees than the other city parks of Tokyo, it attracts just as much visitors on a daily basis for its lovely ginkgo tree forest.

Hours: Open 24/7

Admission Fee/Price: Free of charge

Address: 2-1 Yoyogi Kamizonocho, Shibuya, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 151-0052

Imperial Palace East Gardens

The Imperial Palace East Gardens, or Kokyo Higashi Gyoen, make up the inner area of the palace and may be explored by the public, free of charge. The Edo Castle’s main and secondary circles of defense used to stand at the site but were destroyed over time.  Only its entrance gates, walls, moats, and a few guardhouses remain scattered across the gardens.

Hours: 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM, from Tuesdays to Thursdays and from Saturdays to Sundays

Admission Fee/Price: Free of charge

Address: 1-1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 100-0001

Mount Mitake

Mount Mitake, also referred to as Mitakesan, is a part of the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park. It is located in the Western section of Tokyo, Japan and is just two hours away from Central Tokyo.

The mountain houses various attractions for tourists to visit and take a break from the busy city life such as the Musashi-Mitake Shrine, a small village that houses several ryokans (traditional Japanese inns), and a beautiful rock garden.

Hama Rikyu

Hama Rikyu is a landscape garden situated right in Central Tokyo, right next to the Tokyo Bay. It features an interesting teahouse that sits atop an island where visitors may relax and enjoy the lovely autumn colors during the months of November and December. Come spring, the place is just as lovely with its cherry blossoms and plum blossoms in full bloom.

Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, daily

Admission Fee/Price: 300 yen per person

Address: 1-1 Hamarikyu Teien, Chuo, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 104-0046

Must-Visit Places in Kyoto for Japan’s October Flowers/Autumn Colors

Tofukuji Temple

The Todukuji Temple can be found in the southeastern section of Kyoto which is popular for housing some of the best sites to view koyo. The massive Zen temple dates back to the year 1236 when it was founded by the Fujiwara clan.

Some of the notable points of interest within the temple complex include the Tsutenkyo Bridge, the Kaisando Hall, and a 22-meter tall gate that was built in 1425.

Hours: 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM, daily (From April to October); 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM, daily (From November to December); 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM (From December to March)

Admission Fee/Price: 400 yen per person

Address: 15-778 Hommachi, Higashiyamaku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan 605-0981


Arashiyama is a district located at the western border of Kyoto, Japan. As early as the 800s, the place has been a popular spot for cherry blossom and koyo viewing.

Top attractions: Togetsukyo Bridge, Bamboo Groves, Okochi Sanso Villa, Monkey Park Iwatayama, Saga-Toriimoto Preserved Street, Rakushisha Residence, Tenryuji Temple, Daikakuji Temple, Jojakkoji Temple, NIsonin Temple, Gioji Temple, Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple, Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple

Kiyomizudera Temple

The Kiyomizudera Temple, which literally translates to mean “The Temple of Pure Water” in English, dates back to the year 780. It is aptly named after its location near the Otowa Waterfall and is among the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites housed by Kyoto, Japan.

Top attractions: Jishu Shrine, Otowa Waterfall, Okunoin Hall, Koyasu Pagoda, Yasaka Shrine

Hours: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM, daily

Admission Fee/Price: 400 yen per person

Address: 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyamaku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan 605-0862

Eikando Temple

The Eikando Temple, also referred to as the Zenrinji Temple, can be found up north of the Nanzenji Temple. It was initially under the jurisdiction of the Shingon Sect of Japanese Buddhism but now belongs to the Jodo Sect.

Top attractions: The Historical Buddha’s Hall (Shakado), Amidado, Miedo, Tahoto Pagoda, Hojo Pond

Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, daily

Admission Fee/Price: 600 yen per person (During winter, summer, and spring); 1,000 yen per person (Daytimes of autumn); 600 yen per person (Night times of autumn)

Address: 48 Eikandocho, Sakyoku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan 606-8445

Yoshiminedera Temple

The Yoshiminedera Temple belongs to the Tendai Sect of Japanese Buddhism. It is situated in the mountains of Western Kyoto and features several ancient buildings, structures, and trees.

The temple grounds can get quite crowded during the 2nd or 3rd week of November when the area gets entirely filled with autumn colors.

Hours: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, daily

Admission Fee/Price: 500 yen per person

Address: 1372 Oharano Oshiocho, Nishikyoku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan 610-1133