Autumn Leaves / Koyo Nikko Japan

Japanese Maple (momiji) trees framing the river in the lounge

Japanese Maple (momiji) trees framing the river in the lounge

A great time to visit Nikko is in October and into November to see autumn leaves.

As the 3rd largest city in Japan, Nikko City covers a large area about 40km by 40km with elevations ranging from 500m about sea level to 1,800m (excluding mountains).  The total area of Nikko City is 1,449.87 km.  With such varying altitude, the fall foliage season is long. Autumn leaves can be seen in a variety of places.  

The mountain road of Irohazaka offers great views of the changing colors at various altitudes.  Any weekend in October is a good time to see the changing colors in Nikko.  The timing and dates of leaf spotting and autumn leaves in Nikko Japan varies greatly with the location.

Northern Nikko; Kinugawa, Lake Ikari, Kawaji Spa, Kawamata Spa, Yunishigawa Spa October to November

Upper Nikko; Senjogahara, Lake Chuzenji, Nantai Mountain, Lake Yu, Yunoko, Yumoto Hotspring September to October

The base of Nantai mountain is ~1500 meters above sea level and any trees there will be first to change color. Around here are places such as Senjogahara, Yumoto Onsen, Yu Lake (Yunoko), Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Falls.  The elevation is around 1400 – 1600 meters above sea level.

Lower Nikko; World Heritage, Nikko Botanical Garden, Toshogu Shrine, Shinkyo Bridge,  Urami waterfall, Jakko waterfall, and SPACE - Riverhouse Hostel, the average elevation is between 500 – 700 meters above sea Mid October to November

At the hostel (300m above sea level) there are momiji trees that frame the lounge area and turn to an iridescent red when fully changed. With Black River in the backdrop, it is beautiful.

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