[2021 Edition] 3 Stunning Fall Foliage Spots in Hokkaido for October

Japan is known for its gorgeous fall scenery. Every year, many tourists fly to the country just to get a glimpse of it. It's said that the best time to view the fall foliage in Japan is from early October all the way to the end of November, but this is actually a very rough estimate, as it wildly differs by region. Let us take a bit of the guesswork out of your travel planning through this short list of our top fall foliage spots in the Hokkaido region—a massive island prefecture full of expansive nature and a unique culture—for October. Even if you can't come to Japan in time to see these spots, they're always worth putting on your travel plans for next time!


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Fall Foliage in Japan

The act of viewing autumn leaves is called "momiji-gari" in Japanese. You can find places all over Japan that are famous for their beautiful autumn foliage, including easily-accessible places like city parks and temples to more remote locations like mountain peaks and deep forests. In other words, there should be a spot to satisfy everyone!

The above picture is a forecast map for Japan's fall foliage in 2021. If you're interested in practicing momiji-gari, you need to acquire a good, accurate forecast map. We've done our research, but please keep in mind that the dates are ultimately estimates.

If you're not into viewing the fall colors, there are several other reasons why you should visit Japan in the autumn. Just check out the article below!

Admire the Golden Leaves in Hokkaido

Hokkaido is Japan’s northernmost region, and it is home to all sorts of grand outdoor sightseeing spots. While many tend to envision snowy landscapes when they think of Hokkaido, it is actually gorgeous year round, including autumn.

Take in the Scenery at Jozankei Onsen - Hokkaido's #1 Spot for Fall Foliage

Jozankei is the name of a quiet onsen (hot spring) town just down Toyohira River, not too far from the giant city of Sapporo. The fall colors here are so vibrant that this area is considered by many to be the #1 spot for momiji-gari in all of Hokkaido!

If you want to see its beauty up-close, go on one of the walking trails that go along the mountain stream. There is also the Koyo Kappa Bus Tour that runs each year from October 1st to 21st, in which local volunteer guides lead bus tours around the best fall foliage views within the area.

Also, as this is a hot spring town, there are a variety of places to relax and take a hot bath after a long day of walking around the various fall foliage spots.

Before you get rid of the day's exhaustion in an onsen, take a look at the etiquette guide in the article below.

Go for a Boat Ride Around the Golden Island in Lake Toya

The lake shore of Toya-ko (Lake Toya) is a beautiful onsen area with views of Showa-shinzan and Mt. Usu in the background. In the autumn, the beautiful colors of the local flora look especially gorgeous when contrasted against the bright blue water of the lake.

There are sightseeing boats that can be taken around the central island, which is a rather unique experience when it comes to viewing fall foliage in Japan. Be sure to wear a jacket though, as the temperature can get quite low!

The shore area is also equipped with a park, various playgrounds for children, and, of course, hot springs! (This is an onsen area, after all.)

Enjoy Views of the Foliage and the City Together at the Mt. Moiwa Ropeway in Sapporo

Mt. Moiwa is most known for its spectacular night views, which are among the top three night views in all of Japan. However, when the whole mountain changes color in the fall, the day views are just as good, if not better!  

It's truly a stunning sight to see the red and gold fall colors of the mountain contrasted with the steel, brick, and glass of the sprawling city of Sapporo below.

This is a great option for Sapporo visitors who want to see fall foliage without having to travel too far away. However, for those who do have a bit more time on their hands, it's recommended to go up during the day and then stay until after sunset, so you can see both the day view and the night view in one trip!

If you make it back in time for lunch or dinner, consider trying out some of the delicious local food that Hokkaido has to offer. The article below provides some ideas!


As you can see, Hokkaido is full of gorgeous nature, especially during momiji-gari season. Some of the best spots are a bit far away, but their beauty makes them well worth the trek. If you're in the middle of planning your Japan autumn-leaf viewing itinerary for October, refer to this article our other top October fall foliage picks in other parts of Japan:
Kanto region
Kansai region
Koshinetsu region


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Hokkaido Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

About the author

An American living and working in Tokyo after spending a few years in the Japan countryside. I love video games, tennis, and cooking.

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