Unmissable! Autumn in Japan


God might show us his warmth in summers, sparkle in winters, and colours in spring, but he shows us his soul in autumn. That’s why it feels much more than a season – it feels like a poetry or a painting coming alive. Autumn, the perfect time to experience how beautiful leaves can look even in their last days, is when you must escape the ever sunny Singapore to someplace the season is in its full glory. Somewhere like Japan – where apart from all the optimism and cheer, autumn also brings ample of chances to enjoy hot cocoa, fuzzy socks, and warm hugs.

We bring to you some of the best places in Japan to get a taste of autumn (or koyo as the Japanese call it) and some of the most comfortable HomeAways to book to enjoy all its splendour.

Osaka

Best time to view autumn foliage: Mid-November to early December

As fall begins, Osaka boasts of some stunning landscapes dotted with intricately carved temples, long suspension bridges, and adorable ponds. All these wonders look better than ever against the backdrop of the warm colours of autumn. Look out for loads of stunning burgundy, bright yellow and pretty tan colours splashed across Osaka in November and December.

For the most stunning views of autumn foliage, visit the famed Osaka Castle Park where heaps of orange and red coloured gingko and maple trees await you. Standing tall in the park is the Osaka Castle Tower, offering a quick (and pretty!) peek into Osaka’s history. Another must-visit place during fall in Osaka is Minoo Park – a massive quasi-national park where you can hike to the gushing Minoo waterfall while enjoying some stunning fall foliage and nibbling on Maple Leaf Tempura. For those craving some more adventure, a visit to Hoshida Garden is a must. This national nature park houses a beautiful path along the riverbank, an exciting climbing wall, and the 280 meter long Hoshino suspension bridge, all against the backdrop of lively yellows and deep reds. When you are up on that suspension bridge, be ready to be amazed by the views.

Once you have had your share of soaking in all the history and natural beauty, head to Midosuji Avenue for some spectacular city views with a dash of gold, thanks to the hundreds of ginkgo trees lined up on both sides of the street. When in Osaka during autumn, make sure you take a half day trip to Sakai City and your own little picnic in Daisen Park – an ideal place to experience the serene Japanese garden beauty.

To ensure that you make the best of the autumn foliage viewing in Osaka, we have chosen these comfortable HomeAways.

1. Simple, warm Japanese-style apartment

If you are the types who misses the warmth of their home dearly during vacations, this cosy Japanese house is perfect for you. Ideal for four guests, this clean and recently renovated apartment is located close to subway station, restaurants and shops. It comes with a fully-functional kitchenette and Japanese futons. Also, the host is said to be super accommodating and helpful. After all, what more do you need in a new country than a local who is more than happy to guide you.

Average price per person per night: SGD 19

2. Stylish house for big groups

If you are planning a fall trip to Japan with a bunch of friends or extended family, this tastefully decorated four-bedroom HomeAway is perfect for you. Apart from the usual amenities such as a well-equipped kitchen, washing machine and iron, you will have a hot tub and free parking waiting for you in this three-storey house.

Average price per person per night: SGD 17

Kyoto

Best time to view autumn foliage: Mid-November to mid-December

Kyoto, a Japanese time capsule that transports you back in time, is known for its thousands of beautifully carved temples, Zen gardens, and a traditional-yet-classy kitchen. However, during fall, Kyoto’s magnificence intensifies. While there are thousands of maple trees scattered across Kyoto, if you want to view some blazing fall colours, make sure you have a certain spots in your Kyoto itinerary. The age-old Tofukuji Temple, where stunning architecture peeks delicately from a cluster of vividly coloured maple trees, is one of the best spots to visit in autumn when in Kyoto. While visiting the Tofukuji Temple, make sure you view the 22 meter tall Sanmon Gate, the Tsutenkyo Bridge, and the Kaisando Hall. Located in east Kyoto, the Kiyomizu-dera Temple looks straight out of a painting during fall, thanks to the stunning wooden architecture with an intense red background. Other temples worth visiting in Kyoto during fall are Honen-in Temple, Nanzen-ji Temple, and Ginkaku-ji Temple.

Another spot that must be on your autumn must-visit list in Kyoto is Kyoto Gyoen or Kyoto’s central park. This conveniently-located park surrounds the Kyoto Imperial Palace and houses numerous trees that don stunning colours during fall. If you are in the mood to enjoy a scenic (and romantic) riverboat ride, visit Arashiyama, a spot loved by locals, especially during autumn.

Kyoto is way too artistic and cultural to be explored while staying at an impersonal hotel. Instead, select one of these inviting HomeAways for your trip and get a real taste of the Japanese way of living.

1. Modern townhouse with garden

This recently renovated two-bedroom HomeAway is equipped with latest facilities and perfect for six people. Its comfortable furniture, spacious rooms, and tasteful décor will make you instantly comfortable. The townhouse is located near a subway station and has some cosy local restaurants around.

Average price per person per night: SGD 18

2. Luxurious machiya besides Kamogawa River

Fancy a well (yes, you read that right!) and a smart TV both in the same house? If yes, book this lavish-yet-traditional wooden machiya for your Kyoto trip. Apart from all modern amenities, this house has a tatami room and an indoor garden. This well-kept machiya is located close to bus and train stations so all your fall foliage viewing will be a breeze. The house has three bedrooms and can accommodate up to seven guests. Pssstt…there is a little hole-in-the-wall grill restaurant right next to the house which serves some delicious food.

Average price per person per night: SGD 80

Fukuoka

Best time to view autumn foliage: Mid-November to early December

The friendly city of Fukuoka, known as the perfect gateway to Kyūshū (an island), looks like it has been set on fire during autumn, thanks to the omnipresent splash of deep orange, vivid red, and perky yellow leaves. Accessible by a bullet train from Tokyo and buses, trains from Osaka and Kyoto, Fukuoka is rather well connected.

Fukuoka’s top autumn wonder spot has to be the Shiranoe Botanical Garden that houses over 800 trees. When you visit it, expect to be welcomed by a dense carpet of auburn leaves spread across quiet, romantic paths. If you want to get a glimpse of the Japanese traditions, make sure you attend the Autumn Leaves Festival hosted there in the last week of November – marked by many concerts and Japanese tea ceremonies. For those who are always on the hunt for something unique, there is Raizan Sennyoji Daihioin where you can find a 400-year-old maple tree now designated as a natural monument. Giving it company are 200 other maple trees, making the spot look as pretty as a picture.

Other areas that must find place on your Fukuoka itinerary are the quiet castle town of Akizuki (especially the place of castle ruins), Kamado Shrine (located at the foothills of Mount Homan), and the mystical Hikosan Shrine.

Fukuoka’s hotels can never do justice to its warmth. Therefore, it is a great idea to stay at one of these cosy HomeAways.

1. Newly-built apartment for four

Located just 15 minutes away from the airport and under 10 minutes from the railway station, this convenient HomeAway is your perfect accommodation option if you are a small bunch of friends or a family of four. This simple-yet-elegant apartment has a fully functional kitchen for days when you feel like cooking and many restaurants around for days when you don’t. Added benefits are free pocket Wi-Fi and bicycle rental. So, to soak in all the prettiness of autumn, all you need to do is get dressed and get out.

Average price per person per night: SGD 21

2. Traditional Japanese house

If you want to live like the traditional Japanese locals do, book this serene machiya right away. Wake up to stunning views of the famed Japanese tea plantations and enjoy the minimalistic but elegant wooden indoors before you step out to some of the most beautiful fall viewing spots around. History lovers would be excited to know that this building is over a 100-years-old. Don’t fret; it was renovated completely in 2007.

Average price per person per night: SGD 19

HomeAway is the world leader in vacation rentals. The HomeAway network of sites represent more than 1.2 million listings of vacation rental homes in 190 countries and is part of the Expedia group family of brands. Visit www.homeaway.com.sg  or download the HomeAway Asia app to choose the ideal holiday homes and homestays for your next holiday.

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