Top 5 places to see autumn foliage in Asia

Published on: Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Top 5 places to see autumn foliage in Asia - Nison-in Temple in Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan


Along with Europe and North America, some parts of Asia get amazing autumn colours; here are the best places to see deep yellows, burnt oranges and fiery reds

5. Fragrant Hills Park, Beijing, China

This huge 160 hectare (396 acres) suburban imperial garden on the outskirts of Beijing might seem like an odd place to go leaf peeping, but in autumn it’s nothing short of spectacular. Locals and tourists flock here after the first frost to see the maple trees blanket the mountain slopes in vivid colours. To get the best views, turn left at the East Gate and follow the trail passing through Jingwei Lake, Xiangshan Temple, Langfeng Pavilion and up the hill called ‘Xianglufeng’ – just like Chinese emperors did a few hundred years ago.

How to get there: from Beijing, take Metro (line 4) and get off at Beigongmen Station, then change to bus 563 for Fragrant Hills Park (Xiangshan) which will stop at the East Gate station.

For more ideas on fun activities, check out our Things to see in Beijing page.

4. Taoyuan, Taiwan

If you have a few days to spare, take the scenic country road 118 which winds its way through the Central Mountain Range in Taiwan. During autumn, expect deciduous trees with their branches covered in brilliant autumn colours at every twist and turn. This road will also lead you to a valley known as ‘Taoyuan Xiangu’ and the Shihmen Reservoir, both of which are prime leaf peeping spots offering you crisp, fresh air and stunning foliage. Autumn comes late in Taiwan, so you can enjoy the colours until early December.

How to get there: from Taipei, rent a car, drive southwest, and pick up road 118 around Xiaowulai.

For more ideas on fun activities, check out our Things to see and do in Taiwan page.

3. Hokkaido, Japan

Momijigari’ is a Japanese word for admiring the autumn foliage and Hokkaido, the rugged northernmost of Japan’s main islands, is where you can be the first to crunch through the autumn’s fresh leaf fall as early as September. One of the best places for momijigari in Hokkaido is Shiretoko National Park which is nestled on a secluded peninsula. One word of advice: stay on the trails here, as this area is home to the brown bear and red fox.

How to get there: this place is remote, so your best option is to rent a car from Sapporo and drive to the visitor centre near Rausu. Rangers at the visitor centre will help you to plan hikes and find campgrounds.

For more ideas on fun activities, check out our Things to see and do in Japan page.

2. Namiseom Island, South Korea

Many people know that one of the best places for autumn foliage is atop the Seoul Tower, which delivers a 360-degree perspective on Seoul’s fiery foliage. But those in the know will travel 63km (39 miles) west of Seoul to the half-moon-shaped Namiseom island. Home to hundreds of maple, gingko and redwood trees, the island comes to life in autumn with glorious displays of red and gold colours. The best time to go is in late October or early November.

How to get there: no cars are allowed on the island, so take a train from Seoul to Gapyeong Station, then a taxi to Gapyeong wharf for a ferry to the island. There is an admission fee of 10,000 Korean Won (about US$9).

For more ideas on fun activities, check out our Things to see and do in South Korea page.

1. Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto might be best known for its springtime cherry blossom but visit in autumn for an equally spectacular seasonal shift. The tranquil gardens of Sanzen-in Temple in rural Ohara are where green moss stands in sharp contrast with burnt orange and flaming red. Further north, the forested Takao village is well worth a trip in mid-November to see the intense burst of autumn colours.

How to get there: from Tokyo, take a bus, or a bullet train (shinkansen) to Kyoto, before driving or getting a local bus to Ohara and Takao village respectively. Both are about an hour’s drive away from Kyoto.

For more ideas on fun activities, check out our Things to see in Kyoto page.

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This article was last updated on 09/10/2018