Visiting Japan in Autumn is one of the country’s best kept secrets. During this season, the trees turn spectacular shades of bright red, golden yellow, and deep ochre, creating stunning views reminiscent of a Van Gogh painting. The best time to go to enjoy this wonderful natural sight is usually between October and beginning of December depending of the areas and elevation. Don’t know where to start? Our Autumn Colours itinerary covers some of the most scenic places in Japan to visit to enjoy the vibrant autumn colours during this spectacular season.
Please remember this is a sample itinerary to inspire you and we are happy to modify it to suit your plans. We can add or remove days, experiences or activities, include additional destinations or remove any that you do not wish to visit on this trip. To start planning your holiday, give us a call on (UK) 020 7112 0019 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- All the guided tours listed in this itinerary will be done with public transport, which is tremendously efficient, convenient and economical in Japan. If you prefer to use private transport, please let us know when you enquire and we can arrange it for you at an additional cost.
- We think that staying at a Ryokan is a great way to fully immerse yourself in traditional Japanese culture, however, if you prefer to stay in western-style accommodation instead (that offers dinner and hot springs) please let us know and we will be happy to arrange it for you. For more information about ryokans, click here.
Day 1 - WELCOME TO TOKYO
You will be met on the arrival hall of the airport by your personal agent who will give you a warm welcome to Japan and will assist you with the included shared transfer to your artistic hotel Park Hotel.
After check in, the rest of the day is at your leisure, resting and relaxing after your flight or, if you prefer, you can already start exploring this lively city.Accommodation
Day 2 - DISCOVER TOKYO WITH A LOCAL
Your private guide will pick you up at your hotel to show you the highlights of this wonderful city. Visit Asakusa, Tokyo’s old town where you can still feel the atmosphere of the ancient Edo and visit Sensoji – Tokyo’s oldest temple. Travel down the Sumidagawa River on the unique Tokyo’s Water Bus, and explore the Imperial Palace gardens and Meiji Shrine, a wonderful shrine dedicated to the deified spirit of Emperor Meiji.
Day 3 - NIKKO, A NATURAL PARADISE
Today, your local guide will pick you up to travel with you to Nikko to visit the Toshogu Shrine complex. It consists in more than a dozen Shinto and Buddhist buildings in a beautiful forest setting and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Afterwards, visit the charming visit Tamozawa Imperial Villa, a National Cultural Treasure, featuring architecture
that spans three different periods – Edo, Meiji, and Taisho – as well as a lovely Japanese garden.
Day 4 - KARUIZAWA, THE MOUNTAIIN PARADISE
Travel to Karuizawa, a beautiful upscale mountain resort town at the foot of the active volcano Mount Asama.
Discover the Shiraito Falls, a beautiful wide waterfall in the middle of a peaceful forest painted in vibrant autumn colours and the Usui Pass Observation Center to enjoy a panoramic autumn view of Mt. Asama and the changing colours of the leaves all around which are spectacular, especially in mid-to-late October.
Day 5 - GARDENS AND SAMURAI
Travel by train to Kanazawa, a lovely city known for its well preserved Nagamachi samurai district, geisha entertainment districts and beautiful castle which are preserved in good condition. Visit Kenroku-en garden, one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan which is spectacular in Autumn!
Day 7 - SHIRAKAWAGO VILLAGE
Head to the Japanese Alps region and stop in Shirakawago, a picturesque charming village well known for its old traditional steep thatched roofs. Continue your way to Takayama where a traditional home made Japanese dinner and hot spring baths are waiting for you in your ryokan this evening!Accommodation
Day 8 - MORNING MARKETS, SAKE AND HIDA BEEF
After your delicious traditional Japanese breakfast you have the rest to further explore the lovely town of Takayama on your own. Visit the lively morning farmer’s market, the old district and get lost in its narrow streets surrounded by wooden traditional houses from the Edo period and discover some of its temples and shrines. You will feel that you have travel back in time!
Day 9 - KYOTO; THE CULTURAL CAPITAL
Travel to the historical Kyoto. With 2,000 religious buildings, including 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens and associated architecture, it is one of the best-preserved cities in Japan and has 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Kyoto represents the “Japan of old”, the real monument to Japan’s historical and cultural past can be found in the city’s narrow alleyways where tea houses abound and kimono-clad geisha hurry from elegant function to function. Furthermore, Kyoto is home to many beautiful autumn leaf viewing spots of its own!
Day 10 - AUTUMN COLOURS HUNTING
Your local guide will show you the most beautiful autumn leaf spots in Kyoto while you visit some of the highlights of the city such as Ryoanji Zen Temple, the Imperial Palace Gardens and walk the Philosopher’s Path, where Nishida Kitaro, one of Japan’s most famous philosophers, used to practice meditation while walking this route daily on his way to University.
Day 11 - EXPLORING ARASHIYAMA
Today you will explore Arashiyama, a pleasant district famous for its stunning red autumn foliage, from which the mountain takes its name. Enjoy some of the country’s most beautiful autumn colors while you visit the area’s highlights such as the Bamboo forest, Okochi Mountain Villa, the famous Nonomiya Shrine where the ancient princesses stayed to purify themselves before getting married and the impressive temple Tenryuji.