While summer is too hot, winter too cold, and spring simply too busy, autumn is the Goldilocks pick of seasons for visiting Japan — just right.

Autumn brings golden leaves and beautiful flowers, clear days and plenty of festivals to enjoy, not to mention delicious seasonal treats.

Make the most of the bright blue skies with city strolls and mountain hikes, while saving the chillier evenings for warming hot pots, fireworks, and even a hot spring soak. Fall in Tokyo truly has the best of both worlds, but not everyone knows it yet, so you can avoid the crowds and view the leaves to your heart’s content.

Suggested Activity
Go Karting with Cosplay through Asakusa & Akihabara (See Skytree)
Don your favourite video game or superhero outfit and drive go-karts through Asakusa and Akihabara — passing Tokyo Skytree! International driving license required.

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Also read: If you’re not sure which season suits you best, we have a guide on when to visit Tokyo with all the pros and cons. Also, don’t miss out on our summer, spring, and winter guides!

Tokyo’s autumn weather: Blue skies with a chance of rain

As September and October roll in, the heat and humidity of summer slowly begin to dissipate, but it’s not as fast as you might hope. If you’re struggling with the tail end of the summer heat here are a few tips on staying cool, but the best aid is simply knowing it will soon be over.

Tokyo Autumn weather
Photo by iStock.com/borchee

While it’s still warm enough to picnic in the local park, evenings can get chilly — and there’s also typhoon season to contend with. At their peak from August to October, typhoons can vary from what the UK would consider a normal day — heavy rain and wind — to genuinely dangerous storms.

By way of example, in 2019, Typhoon Hagibis hit Japan, resulting in mass flight cancelations, close to 100 deaths, and billions of dollars in damage. So what we’re saying is, while they don’t often get this serious, they can. Bookmark our typhoon guide so you know what to expect.

What to wear in autumn: Looking good in layers

A tricky season, autumn calls for optional layers above all. You’ll be warm (or hot in September) during the daytime and notice a real cooling as the sun sets, so be prepared for both. You can be sure of some rain too; keep an umbrella near in case of mild typhoon days (an umbrella is useless on stronger days).

Tokyo Autumn clothing
Fall, but make it fashion | Photo by iStock.com/monzenmachi

If you want to incorporate some shopping into your schedule and kill two birds with one trendy stone, we have a guide to Tokyo’s top shopping streets as well as the fashion hub of Shibuya 109.

Activities: Leaf viewing and beyond

Kōyō — meaning the viewing of the leaves — is as much a part of autumn in Japan as cherry blossom is in spring. The changing of the season has a slightly more somber feel than the fresh blossom, but it is celebrated nonetheless.

shinjuku gyoen garden maple tree
Photo by iStock.com/magicflute002

Best places to see autumn leaves

Look out for local festivals like Mt. Takao’s month-long event, as well as evening illuminations like Rikugien’s, and special displays at parks and gardens across the city. We’ve picked out some of the best spots in Tokyo as well as some fantastic autumn day trips to give you all those fall feels.

Autumn trips from Tokyo

If you’re looking to travel a little farther afield, check out these suggestions for a weekend away in the autumn capital Nikko, and autumn leaves across the rest of Japan, with special picks for old-school capital Kyoto and the foodie-haven that is Osaka.

Other great activities for autumn include hiking trails for the active and bus tours for those who would rather relax along the way.

Suggested Activity
Challenge Sumo Wrestlers and Enjoy Lunch
Eat, train, and fight like a real Japanese sumo wrestler during this sumo demonstration and authentic 'Chanko Nabe' (hotpot) meal.

Seasonal foods to feast on

Baked sweet potato, roasted chestnuts, and pumpkin croquettes are all delicious highlights of seasonal change. It’s also the time for warming hot pots, root vegetables, and the first batches of classic staples like rice and sake.

Japanese fall foods
Photo by iStock.com/show999

Known as shinmai, the new rice of the year is a real treat, and only available from September to December. Likewise, fresh sake (brewed in winter and aged over summer) is offered in fall, so keep an eye out for hiyaoroshi and akiagari kinds in restaurants and stores.

Here are the best autumn foods to try — from matsutake mushrooms to grilled fish and sweet persimmon.

Autumn festivals and events you can’t miss

Setagaya Hachimangu Autumn Festival Sumo
A sumo display at the Setagaya Hachimangu Autumn Festival. | Photo by Lily Crossley-Baxter

With a backdrop of reds and golds, the festivals of autumn in Japan are especially beautiful and there are plenty to see.

Some of the best autumn-themed events in and around Tokyo include:

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