10 Best Places to See the Autumn Leaves in Hokkaido

We're seeing red and yellow!

Hokkaido is one of those islands in Japan that’s abundantly rich in nature. During autumn, in particular, the island offers a lovely view of its red and yellow mountains.

While the autumn leaves viewing season in Taisetsuzan Asahidake, Hokkaido’s highest mountain, officially ended last September, you still have the chance to enjoy the autumn leaves in Sapporo City until early November.

In this article, we list down the 10 most beautiful spots to visit in Hokkaido during the autumn season.

Mt. Io (Iwaonupuri)

The red autumn leaves make the mountain seem like it’s on fire. Photo courtesy of Kutchan Tourism Division

is an active volcano located within the Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan Quasi-National Park. The hillside is covered with sulfur crystals and lapilli. It is a recommended spot for beginner climbers since it does not take a long time to reach the top of the mountain.

You’ll also find that the red and yellow Japanese rowan and Erman’s birch trees at the foot of the mountain are a sight to behold. Together with the green pines, the mountain’s trees paint a colorful scenery.

The best season to view the autumn leaves here is from late September to mid-October.

Takinoue Gorge: Kinsenkyo

Look through the arch of the autumn leaves in Takinoue Gorge: Kinsenkyo. Photo courtesy of Takinoue Tourism Association

The gorge surrounding the Shokotsu River, which runs through Takinoue's city center, is called Kinsenkyo. It’s a great and convenient place where you can walk around freely since the gorge is in the town’s center. The water flows swiftly through the narrow places of the river. You’ll find that there are various waterfalls, big and small, within the area as well.

At the slower-moving areas of the river, the surroundings are quiet. The place promises a beautiful scenery for every season, whether it’s in the summer, spring, autumn or winter. There are also pathways with wood chips on both of the riverbanks, some of which are barrier-free.

The best time in autumn to visit there is in early October. During that time, you can enjoy the beautiful gorge while passing through the tunnel of autumn leaves.

Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park

From the tower located in the ridge, you’ll have a panoramic view of the autumn leaves in Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park. Picture courtesy of Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park


At the 20-meter-high Morimi no Tou Tower, you’ll have a 360-degree view of the splendid autumn leaves. Other amazing autumn sceneries are spread over the park as well.

The best time to visit the place is around mid to late October when many of the trees like the Japanese maple, mountain maple, and Japanese larch have turned red and yellow. You can check out the autumn leaves festival, held at that time of the year, where you can visit autumn leaves viewing spots, experience craftsmanship, and join guided tours. 

Jouzankei Hot Spring

Autumn leaves at Jouzankei. Photo courtesy of Jouzankei Tourist Association

It is fair to say that Jouzankei is a famous spot for viewing autumn leaves. There, you’ll see lots of beautiful trees with leaves that have turned red and yellow.

You can walk along the stream from the hot spring street and enjoy the impressive scenery of maple, wild vine, Japanese rowan, and cherry tree autumn leaves. The view is even more splendid around the Futami Suspension Bridge over the Kappabuchi Pool and the Ikoi Bridge.

In addition to this, you can also enjoy the view from the top of the mountain in Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort. There, you can ride a gondola to better appreciate the autumn leaves.

The best time to visit the place is around mid-October. You can take the “Autumn Leaves Kappa Bus” to visit the autumn leaves viewing spots in Jouzankei.

Kosetsu-en (Miharashi Park)

Autumn leaves at Kosetsu-en (Miharashi Park). Photo courtesy of Hakodate Housing and City Facilities Public Corporation

, located in Miharashi Park, is a designated cultural property garden constructed by Iwafune. The place is also known as the “Former Iwafune Garden.”

There are about 150 different kinds of trees in the garden. You’ll definitely love the natural scenery that each season brings there.

An event called the Hakodate MOMI-G Festa is held from October 20 to November 11. During the event, the autumn leaves are lit up, forming a dreamy landscape of autumn leaves bathed in light. Mini-concerts are also held at this place.

Kagaminuma (Mirror Lake)

The view of the beautiful autumn leaves reflected on the surface of Kagaminuma lake is a must-see. Photo courtesy of Kutchan Tourism Division

, located in the middle of the north slope of Niseko Annupuri International Ski Area, is about a 40-minute walk from the entrance of the mountain trail. The lake is surrounded by a primeval forest dominated by red and yellow Erman’s birch trees and Japanese rowans. Whenever there is no wind, the lake functions as a mirror, reflecting the landscapes around it.


The best time to see the autumn leaves there is from late September to mid-October.

Noboribetsu (Jigokudani)

Autumn leaves at Noboribetsu (Jigokudani). Photo courtesy of Noboribetsu Tourism Association

At the onset of the autumn season, Japanese rowans, Japanese sumacs, and Erman’s birch trees around Jigokudani and Oyunuma turn bright red, making this area a scenic spot.

There are many vents and fumaroles along the valley from which volcanic gas and high-temperature hot springs emerge.

There’s also a promenade there, which is lit up from sunset to 9:30 p.m. You’ll commonly hear the erupting sounds of hot springs and volcanic gas breaking the silence of the night. Aside from this, the place holds a dreamlike atmosphere that’s completely different from the daytime.

Taisetsuzan (Kogen Onsen)

Autumn leaves at Taisetsuzan National Park (Kurodake). Photo courtesy of Tourism Association of Sounkyo

Alpine plants abound in the Kogen Onsen area. The place provides a glorious scenery of big or small lakes and primeval forests. The scenic spot is likewise well-known for a lake that reflects the autumn leaves in its surroundings. Every year, various trees like the maple, willow, wig, linden, Japanese rowan, and birch start turning red and yellow during early September.

The best time to visit this place is around mid to late September. However, you need to make sure that you’re careful because there are bears in the area, too!

Lake Toya Area

Autumn leaves in Lake Toya area. Photo courtesy of Toyako Onsen Tourist Association

You can see the marvelous scenery of green, yellow, orange, and red colorful autumn leaves along Lake Toya. From this place, you’ll get a glimpse of Nakajima, the island in the lake, and the trees surrounding the mountains.

On the other hand, the Silo Observatory, located at the end of the west bank of Lake Toya, offers a panoramic view of Nakajima, Mount Usu, Showa-shinzan, and Lake Toya.


Autumn leaves in Sounkyo. Photo courtesy of Tourism Association of Sounkyo

is a beautiful spot where the autumn leaves complement the Ginga Waterfalls and the Ryusei Waterfalls. The two waterfalls have both been selected as one of Japan’s Top 100 Waterfalls. The best part about them is that they flow down both sides of the Fudoiwa rock cliff. You can try climbing the slope for about 20 minutes with your back against the waterfalls until you reach the Soubakudai Observatory.


The trees around the area start turning red during in late September each year. But the best time to see the autumn leaves of maple, Japanese rowan, and wig trees is during early October.

Provided by Walkerplus, Japan Walker, and Hokkaido Walker (15 September 2018 ). 

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