Autumn Travel Guide

Autumn foliage at Kumoba Pond in Karuizawa

Autumn in Japan runs from September to November. The weather is still hot and humid, starting to cool down in October. The typhoon season continues until October, and is more likely to affect southern Japan.

Public holidays

  • 16 September (Respect for the Aged Day)
  • 23 September (Autumnal Equinox Day)
  • 14 October (Health and Sports Day)
  • 22 October (Emperor’s Enthronement Day, a special holiday in 2019)
  • 3 November (Culture Day – note this will be observed on Monday 4 November)
  • 23 November (Labour Thanksgiving Day)

Peak travel time

Autumn foliage season can be busy in renowned spots such as Nikko or Kyoto, particularly around weekends or public holidays.

The Rugby World Cup starts on 20 September with matches in various locations around Japan. The final is on 2 November in Yokohama. Accommodation and seats on trains may be hard to get, particularly around match days in smaller cities.

Sightseeing

Autumn colours start in northern area in October, continuing through to December, with a peak mid to late November. Many cities and towns have autumn festivals when local foliage colours are at their peak.

Illumination events are popular over autumn and winter months, and these will start around mid-October onwards.

Seasonal flowers include chrysanthemums, and there are displays all over Japan.

A sampling of autumn events

Tokyo Sumo tournament – 8-22 September.

Karuizawa Momiji Festival – 22 September – 4 November.

Setouchi Triennale Fall Expansions – 28 September – 4 November. This art festival on Naoshima and other islands is held every three years.

Takayama Autumn Festival – 9-10 October. A procession of large wheeled floats and portable shrines goes through the town.

Ashikaga Flower Fantasy Light and Flower Collaboration – 26 October-mid-November. This is the first of three thematic illumination events staged over the autumn and winter months.

Gion Odori – 1-10 November. Odori are public performances by Kyoto’s geisha, and this is the only one held in autumn.

Do you have any questions about travel during autumn? Please feel free to contact me.

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For further information, the ebook Japan Just for You is a practical step-by-step guide to planning your trip to Japan, starting with developing your own personal trip concept. It’s now available on Apple, Amazon and Kobo, and other stores.