Be Sure to Visit the Best Places in Hokkaido to View the Autumn Foliage! – HOKKAIDO LOVE!

Hokkaido sees its first autumn leaves around mid-September; earlier than anywhere else in Japan. Many popular autumn leaf spots such as Jozankei and Sounkyo are also well known for their relaxing hot springs, making them perfect for an autumn trip.

In Hokkaido, the four seasons transform the natural scenery from flowers blooming vividly in the summer to the brightly colored leaves of autumn, and the snowy landscapes of winter. Of course, almost everyone visits Hokkaido in the summer and winter hoping to see the brilliantly blooming flowers and the snow-covered landscapes. But we urge you to come in the autumn when sublime natural forces are gradually changing the color of the trees to let you enjoy spectacular views of the beautiful red or yellow autumn foliage. Below, we introduce you to 10 places offering particularly exciting views of autumn foliage. Be sure to choose and visit those you find most appealing.

Sounkyo Gorge

In the Sounkyo Gorge where visitors can enjoy Japan’s earliest autumn foliage, a hot spring district is located at the foot of Mt. Kurodake allowing them to also delight in the beautiful gorge scenery as it is transformed by the arrival of each new season.
In this gorge formed by a column-shaped precipice called the Chujo-setsuri (Columnar joint), there are many good places to view autumn foliage. At the gorge’s best-known spot, the two “husband-wife” waterfalls, the Ryusei-no-taki (Shooting-star falls)” and the “Ginga no taki (Milky-way Falls)”, the beautiful contrast of the colored trees with the two waterfalls as they fall on the left and right sides of the precipice and Fudo Iwa is an overwhelming sight. We urge you to use the ropeway to go to the top of the mountain to enjoy the view of the gorge and autumn foliage scenery spread out below. At the peak of the fall-color season, the beauty of the carpet of brilliant colors spread out before your eyes will take your breath away.

Peak autumn foliage viewing period
– Near Mt. Kurodake 5th station: Mid to late September
– Near Sounkyo Hot spring: Early to mid-October

Sounkyo, Kamikawa-cho, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido

Kurodake Ropeway
*Information may be changed. For more details, please refer to the official website.

Mt. Asahidake

Mt. Asahidake is 2,291 meters high, making it the highest mountain in Hokkaido. Mt. Asahidake is well-known as a mountain which, like Mt. Kurodake, is a place where sightseers can enjoy the earliest autumn foliage in Japan, is a paradise of mountain vegetation called “kamuimintara (Garden where the God’s reside)” in the Ainu tongue. When summer arrives, varicolored flowers bloom, and in the autumn foliage season, the mountain ash, Aleutian Avens, and other trees begin to change color one after another, coloring the mountainsides with carpets of brilliant yellow and red autumn leaves. To fully appreciate their beauty, you should walk on the pathway from Sugatami Station at the terminus of the ropeway. Nature paints a work of art that contrasts majestic Mt. Asahidake in the background with the deep blue of the pond water and the brilliant autumn foliage surrounding the pond. This is one viewing spot you must not miss.

Peak autumn foliage viewing period
– Mid to late September

Asahidake Hot Spring, Higashikawa-cho, Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido

Asahidake Ropeway
October 21 to May 31: Junior high school students and older: 1,300 yen / Elementary students: 900 yen
June 1 to October 20: Junior high school students and older: 2,000 yen / Elementary students: 1,000 yen
6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Hours are subject to change)
*Information may be changed. For more details, please refer to the official website.

Shiretoko Five Lakes

These five lakes are clustered in the untouched forest of the World Natural Heritage Site, the Shiretoko Peninsula. It is a popular part of Shiretoko thanks to its unforgettably magnificent scenic view of the Shiretoko range and the un-touched forest reflected on the surfaces of the lakes. From late September to the middle of October, an even more, dreamlike spectacle is revealed by the reflection of the brilliantly colored native forests on the surfaces of the lake waters.
You will be entranced by the beauty of the autumn leaves viewed from the 800-meter long elevated wooden walkway. If you are lucky, you might even come face-to-face with a Hokkaido red squirrel or Ezo deer in the forest.

Peak autumn foliage viewing period
– Early to mid-October

Iwaubetsu, Onnebetsumura, Shari-cho, Shari-gun, Hokkaido

Takimi Bridge

This area around Lake Akan guarantees an experience of the abundance of nature no matter what time of year you come. Takimi Bridge is one of the most popular places in Eastern Hokkaido thanks to its waterfalls and its brilliant views of the autumn foliage of its maples, mountain ash, and Japanese katsura. Every year, this autumn foliage viewing spot attracts more than 10,000 sightseers during the fall color season that starts in early October. Located near a national highway it is a popular place to photograph autumn leaves without having to go the trouble of hiking over steep mountainsides. The clear water flowing through the brilliant red and yellow forest creates a scene of such beauty it will take your breath away.

Peak autumn foliage viewing period
– Early to mid-October

Lake Akan Hot Spring, Akan-cho, Kushori, Hokkaido


Onneto is a lake with an approximately 2.5-kilometer shoreline in Akan-Mashu National Park. The color of the surface of its water changes depending on the time and the season. Beginning in late September, the Sakhalin spruce, mountain ash, and other trees along its banks begin to change color, creating an enchanting atmosphere as the brilliant colors of the foliage are reflected in its blue water. The most popular viewing spot is the Lake-side Outlook Deck on the west side of Lake Onneto. Here, sightseers can see the steep slopes of beautiful Mt. Meakan and Akanfuji. And once they have, they want to come back many times to see the seasonally varying scenery and changing the color of the lake.

Peak autumn foliage viewing period
– Late September to early October

Moashoro National Forest, Ashoro-cho, Ashoro-gun, Hokkaido

Mikuni Pass

Below the bridge, you will see an unbelievably deep gorge, and directly before your eyes, a single road. Mikuni Pass that is the highest point on Hokkaido’s national highways is wrapped in autumn colors from the end of September. The beautiful scene woven by the forests, the Matsumio Bridge, and the single red road that carried you into this natural world is truly a work of art. To enjoy a leisurely view of its autumn foliage, go to the lookout at the Mt. Mikuni Rest House. As you look down, you will be delighted by the sight of the autumn foliage of Tokachi-Mitsumata in the midst of a vast natural setting only found in Hokkaido. The log house style café that offers hand-dripped coffee and soft ice-cream beside the lookout is one more popular feature of this sight-seeing spot. If you like to drive, this is a route you must try out at least once.

Peak autumn foliage viewing period
– Late September to Early October

Bangaichi, Mitsumata, Kamishihoro Town, Kato-gun, Hokkaido