Th best part of autumn in Japan is right around the corner, and here’s the latest forecast of best koyo dates for across the country.

Japan is fully reopening to international tourism next week, and that’s especially great news for travelers since fall is one of the best times to visit Japan. Not only is it the meteorological sweet spot between the country’s humid summers and chilly winters, autumn is when Japan’s forests burst into the beautiful colors of koyo, as Japan calls the red and yellow leaves of the fall season.

However, much like with the sakura cherry blossoms of spring, planning a trip to see the fall colors in Japan is a matter of timing. Thankfully, the Japan Meteorological Corporation has just prepared its updated forecast of when the leaves will be at their most beautiful this year. The forecast focuses on the two most iconic types of koyo: maples and gingko trees (or momiji and icho, as they’re called in Japanese). Let’s start with the gingko map, since they reach their peak color earlier than the maples in most places.

While the sakura arrive first in southern Japan and work their way up north, things move in the opposite direction for koyo, as the leaves turn first in the northern, cooler parts of Japan and then progress south and west across the nation.

According to the forecast, the gingko leaves will reach their brightest yellow color in Sapporo (札幌 on the map) on November 6, Sendai (仙台) November 28, Tokyo (東京) November 25, Nagoya (名古屋) November 18, Osaka (大阪) November 23, and Fukuoka on November 26. Meanwhile, the forecast says the maples will be at their peak crimson color in Sapporo November 6, Sendai November 25, Tokyo November 28, Nagoya and Osaka (大阪) December 2, and Fukuoka December 8.

▼ The maple map

Overall, it looks like the koyo are going to be appearing a little later than usual this year, owing to the warmer-than-average fall that Japan is currently experiencing. It’s not a huge difference for most cities, but Japan Meteorological Corporation’s projected best-maple dates for Sapporo, Nagano, and Fukuoka are nine, eight, and seven days, respectively, later than average, and Fukuoka’s best-gingko date is also six days later than normal.

The forecast list of best gingko/maple dates by major city is:
● Sapporo: November 6/November 6
● Aomori: November 5/November 11
● Sendai: November 28/November 25
● Tokyo: November 25/November 28
● Kanazawa: November 11/November 28
● Nagano: November 13/November 20
● Nagoya: November 18/December 2
● Kyoto: November 26/December 9
● Osaka: November 23/December 2
● Wakayama: November 26/December 11
● Hiroshima: November 18/November 26
● Kochi: November 15/December 8
● Fukuoka: November 26/December 8
● Kagoshima; November 28/December 13

Aside from these peak-color dates, there are a few other things to keep in mind if you’re planning a koyo-seeing trip or outing. First, the higher the elevation, the earlier the leaves change color, so if you’re going to do be doing some alpine hiking, you might want to schedule it for a few days before the dates listed above. But more importantly, unlike cherry blossoms, which reach full bloom suddenly and only stick around for a few days after, the koyo season is more drawn out, lasting for about three weeks around the peak-color dates, so even if you don’t time your trip exactly, you should still be able to see some of Japan’s unforgettable fall foliage.

Source: Japan Meteorological Corporation
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Japan Meteorological Corporation, Pakutaso
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!