Japan is a country of cultural differences. New and old, traditional and modern go hand in hand in this East Asian country as defined by Countryaah. In addition to culture, Japan also offers countless unique natural phenomena.
One of the finest is koyo.
What is koyo?
When autumn arrives in Japan, the deciduous trees erupt into a magnificent glory of color.
The name of the phenomenon in Japan is koyo – or momijigari – and it is like an autumn equivalent to the famous cherry blossom of spring .
Koyo dresses the deciduous trees in glowing shades of yellow, orange and red and makes the autumn landscape at least as enchantingly beautiful as the delicate pink cherry blossoms in spring.
In the time of Koyo, the deep red colors of the leaves of Japanese maple, or momiji, in particular, are an impressive sight. The beautifully shaped leaves, which glow red in all shades, give the whole country a magical look when autumn comes. Maple trees are so strongly associated with the fall splendor of color that in Japanese, the same writing symbol means both “brown” and “maple,” and the Japanese maple leaf is considered a symbol of brown.
When can koyon be experienced?
With the arrival of autumn, the whole of Japan wears dazzling shades of autumn, but where cherry blossoms bloom first in the south, in the north the fall begins earlier than elsewhere.
Koyo starts around mid-September and spreads south as autumn arrives in different parts of Japan. Koyo lasts until December, and fall colors are at their best in each area for about 20-25 days.
Koyo has been a popular phenomenon among the Japanese for decades. Recently, tourists traveling from other countries have also embraced Japanese autumn.
In addition to nature parks, you can also experience the enchanting colors of autumn in big cities.
When is koyo at its best in different cities in Japan?
You can experience the koyo phenomenon at different times during the fall depending on where in Japan you are staying. The times are indicative and the situation may, of course, change according to weather conditions.
- In Kanazawa, fall colors are at their best from early November.
Kenrokuen Park is one of the best places to admire the breathtakingly beautiful colors of koyo.
- In Tokyo, koyo begins in late November and continues into early December.
You can enjoy particularly impressive views if you walk along Icho Namik Park Street, known in the capital as Ginko Avenue. The yellow canopies of the trees form a magnificent alley on both sides of the street. Koishikawa-Kōrakuen Park also offers great fall experiences.
- In Kyoto, the koyo lasts from mid-November to the end of the month.
The old district is one of the most beautiful places in Japan during the koyon, when autumn adorns the maple trees of the parks surrounding the city’s many temples in all shades of yellow and orange. The views are also particularly picturesque around the temples of Tōfuku-Jin and Kiyomizu-dera.
- In Osaka, autumn begins at the end of November and lasts until the beginning of December.
For example, in Osaka Castle Park, you can admire as many as 800 ginkgo trees growing along Mido-suji Road. The bridge offers breathtakingly beautiful 360 degree views over the canopies of the trees.
- Hiroshima offers great koyo experiences in mid-November.
You can admire the colors of autumn, for example, at the Mitaki-dera Temple in the city or on Miyajima Island, known for its “floating” torii gate and maple leaf-shaped Momiji manjū cakes (maple leaf cake).
The wonderful nature of Koyo
You can admire the glowing colors of maple leaves all over Japan.
The maple is one of the most popular trees of the fall period and is grown in many parks, gardens and temples.
In addition to the red maple leaves, many other trees also contribute to the Japanese autumn landscape with subtle shades of brown.
Ginko, or ginkgo, is one of the most colorful tree species of autumn. The leaves of the ginkgo tree turn beautiful yellow when autumn comes, which forms a striking contrast with the red maple leaves. One would think that of the trees, the cherry tree would be the symbol of Tokyo, but instead of the cherry, the city’s hallmark is considered to be the maiden tree.
Other colorful trees in autumn are nanakama, rowan, Japanese larch and cherry.
Japan is a fascinating country where everyone should visit at least once in their life.
If you like glowing shades of brown and fall scenery, you might want to travel to Japan just in time for koyo.