Autumn Colors in Japan (2011)

It’s slowly getting chilly here and that although I live in the southern part of Japan!
October is usually the month with the most pleasant temperature. In November it’s getting cooler rather quickly and leaves change their colors.
However, as Japan is quite a long and thin shaped country (I like to call it “banana” smilie), the climate differs quite a bit from the northern part (Hokkaido) down to the southern part (Kyushu).
That’s why you can’t enjoy autumn colors in Japan everywhere at the same time!

When will I be able to see autumn colors in Japan?

Actually there’s even an “autumn color forecast“, so people can check online when to expect beautiful autumn colors in Japan in their area.
It’s also great to know for when you plan your trip! smilie

There are various “kouyou” (紅葉, autumn colors) forecast websites out there (all in Japanese as far as I know).
I usually use:

Anyways, the autumn colors in Japan this year (2011) seem to be quite late – just like the cherry blossoms earlier this year. There seem to be 2 theories about this.
1) It has to do with Fukushima’s nuclear crisis.
2) It has to do with the global warming and general climate change (not only in Japan).

I do and want to believe the latter. How about you?

Also, it’s a fact that the colors of some trees look “dirty”.
That’s because they begin to wither before the leaves can even change colors this year.
It IS a little bit scary indeed. autumn colors in Japan

Nonetheless I took some photos earlier this week before I went to work.
It’s not (yet?) as beautiful as usually, but still quite nice! Enjoy!~smilie

autumn colors in Japan

The colors are somehow “dirty” this year.

autumn colors in Japan

This photo was taken at the same place exactly one year earlier (2010). Can you see the difference?

autumn colors in Japan

Yet there are some trees that still turned into very nice and bright colors.

autumn colors in Japan

Autumn colors in Japan look especially nice when you have a temple or shrine to go with the trees.

autumn colors in Japan

The leaves are “on fire”!

autumn colors in Japan


autumn colors in Japan

Autumn leaves in Japan are such a beautiful sight, don’t you think?

autumn colors in Japan

Very colorful. Actually the trees that are in the middle of changing colors are my favorites! You get green, red, yellow and orange all together!

autumn colors in Japan autumn colors in Japan

What I like the most about autumn colors in Japan is that you’ll have a variety of colors at the same time on ONE tree!

autumn colors in Japan

A lot of orange looks pretty, too!

autumn colors in Japan

People are enjoying the autumn leaves in Japan.

autumn colors in Japan

Cats do, too! And they’re wondering what this crazy gaijin girl with her pink camera is doing there anyways!

cherry blossoms in autumn

Did you know that autumn leaves aren’t the only thing you can enjoy during this season?

cherry blossoms in autumn

There are also “winter cherry blossoms” and there are some places where you can enjoy the pink cherry blossom trees and the Japanese maple trees (among others) next to each other, creating a strange mix of orange, yellow, red, brown and … pink!
One of those places is Sakurayama Park in Gunma Prefecture.

Do you know of any other places like that?


  • That’s interesting. The “dirty” colors look a lot like autumn in Europe. A lot of trees seem to have their leaves turn brown instead of coloring over here.

    • Yeah, right?! That’s what I thought, too.
      Although it’s not so bad around here, but I heard in Kyoto people were already disappointed and all the more in Fukushima (can’t confirm this yet, though).

  • its global warming definitely!~ Here too..rainy season was longer and we got consecutive strong typhoons. Tsk tsk~

    Wish we had cherry blossoms & maple trees too :(

  • I thought I’m the only one who noticed the difference in this year’s autumn colors. I just hope it has nothing to do with the nuclear crisis in Fukkushima.

    I was lucky though to see the beauty of autumn this year around Suwa Lake. I’d like to post the pictures in my blog too but just don’t have the drive to do as of now.

    I never knew there are cherry blossoms in winter. Thanks for this info. =)

    • Hehe. No, actually I heard a lot of Japanese people talking about that, too!
      They DO notice it.

      Sounds nice. Hopefully you’ll get some motivation soon as I’d really like to see thos photos!! :shiawase:

      I didn’t know either until recently.
      Furthermore I often mistake other blossoms for cherry blossoms :hihi:

  • hey.. stumbled over your blog earlier today and i just <3 it!!
    feels good to know there are some other blogging german gaijin girls out there.

    I couldn´t enjoy autumn colours in Japan yet, but hope to be able to see next year.
    Here in germany, cold destroyed most of the usual nice colourplay. So just brown and dirty yellow :teary:


    • Hallo Rose! :music:
      Freut mich sehr, dass du meinen Blog gefunden hast und ihn anscheinend magst.

      Actually you haven’t missed much this year. They were just not as beautiful as usually.
      I discovered the awesomeness of autumn far too late! I was always too focused on spring!
      Since last year autumn is my favorite season in Japan, though! :thumbup:

      Yeah, in Germany it’s completely different (read: boring) anyways …

      Thanks a lot for your comment! ^-^

  • I believe there is a slight global warming due to our pollution. The past couple years in the midwest of the u.s. has changed. Every other year is a snowy winter or a warm winter. Its also a few weeks to over a month late. The tornadoes have been different too. But it has been shown in history that in addition to the couple ice ages we’ve had a couple hot ones too. It is possible we are headed that way.

    I love these photos! Have you made it to sakurayama park?

    • In Europe the weather has changed quite a bit in recent years as well and I guess it’s finally hitting Japan / Asia, too.
      One good thing is that weather experts said that this year’s autumn colors will be especially beautiful because of certain climate conditions. No idea, but I hope they’re right! ;)

      Thank you very much! I’m glad you like the photos! :D

      Sakurayama would be perfect to visit within the next few weeks, so I’m thinking about it, but it’s really far away from where I live, so I don’t know if I’ll make it eventually.

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