Autumn Leaf Colors in Japan - November 2018 Tours

Arashiyama autumn leaves Meji Mura Kyoto Gion

Autumn Leaf Colours in Japan - November 2019

Our November tours focus on the beautiful autumn leaf colours that occur across the country during autumn.  Many of the cherry trees that provided beautiful blossom in spring provide orange hues while the Japanese maple can provide rich red leaves as well as brilliant yellow and browns. 

With the cooling Japan weather we include a range of famous, historic and culturally significant sights to showcase the variety and beauty of the country.  From the metropolis of Tokyo to the Japanese Alps, these tours of Japan allow you to experience a wide variety of what Japan has to offer

If you are interested in a visit to Japan in November, consider joining one of our Japan autumn tours or feel free to contact us if you would like a customised or private tour tailored to your requirements.    You can use the contact us form or email us at admin@japancustomtours.co.nz

Early November Schedule

Saturday 26th October Tokyo: We meet you at Narita airport and transfer to Tokyo.  Options for the day depend on your time of arrival but for the first day we keep the tour fairly low-key including things like dinner at a local restaurant, seeing some of the city (afternoon and/or evening) or just sleep if you are jetlagged.

Sunday 27th October Tokyo: tart the day with a visit to Asukusa Kaminarimon ("Thunder gate"), Hozomon and pagoda. An array of stalls lines Nakamise Street and the approach to Sensoji Temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo.

Heading to Ueno provides good options and variety for lunch adjacent to the expansive Ueno Park. The park also contains several museums (including Tokyo National Museum) and the beautiful Tōshō-gū shine that enshrines the first Shōgun of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Finishing our visit in Ueno we include a walk through the old style market of Ameya-Yokocho with its many varied stalls and small shops including many located under the railway tracks

Monday 28th October Tokyo to Aomori: Utilising the high-speed shinkansen we head to the northern part of Honshu (the main island of Japan) for the seasonal autumn colours.  There will be time during the afternoon to see Wa Rasse, a museum celebrating the summer Nebuta festival, or the floating car ferry museum in the port area.

Tuesday 29th October Aomori: With a full day available we journey to the nearby city of Hirosaki to visit the nearby town of Hirosaki, famous for its castle and park.  The main feature of the  town is the castle park with 2600 cherry trees (for the fall colours) and the botanic gardens.

Wednesday 30th October Aomori to Sendai: Take the shinkansen to Sendai.  The afternoon provides an opportunity to visit Matsushima Bay, one of the three "views of Japan". Activities for the day include a cruise around the bay with its many beautiful pine-tree covered islands (we then go to Fukuura Island), and also for the caves carved into the approach to the temple Zuigan-ji. The caves were used for memorial services and as a cinerarium to house the ashes of the deceased. 

Thursday 31st October Sendai to Nagano: From Sendai there is a simple shinkansen trip to the outskirts of Tokyo and then up to the mountain city of Nagano.  In the early afternoon we visit Zenko-ji temple, founded in the 7th century and houses the first Buddhist image in Japan (552CE).  

Optional is to stay at a traditional Japanese inn including onsen (mineral spring baths) and local foods prepared on-site this is an opportunity to sample a smaller/rural location in Japan. There is a small castle (fort) on the hill behind the ryokan that gives great views across the valley and mountains around the area. We arrange Geisha entertainment during the evening meal (music and dancing performance).

Friday 1st November Nagano: A day trip to visit the famous "snow monkeys" at Jigokudani Monkey Park.

Saturday 2nd November: Nagano to Kanazawa: A short shinkansen trip to Kanazawa (''Little Kyoto''). An opportunity for a lunch of fresh sushi at Omi-cho market before visiting the famous Kenrokuen Garden and Kanazawa castle. Additional options include the 21st Museum of Contemporary art or some of the local temples.

Sunday 3rd November: Kanazawa to Takayama: Travel to Toyama and then local train into the Japanese Alps to the onsen (hot spring) mountain town of Takayama. Explore the town's historic buildings, shops and museums on foot. 

Monday 4th November Takayama: A free morning to explore the town, check the local markets or visit one of the different museums or temples scattered around the town. After lunch head to the world heritage site of Shirakawa-go (a half day bus trip) with its unique steep thatched-roofed houses. 

Tuesday 5th November Takayama to Hiroshima Completing the scenic journey through the mountains to Nagoya and then the shinkansen to Hiroshima. The afternoon is available to visit the Peace Park and Museum in Hiroshima city.

Wednesday 6th November Hiroshima: A full day in Hiroshima allows time to visit and explore Miyajima Island and Itsukushima Shrine are the location of the famous "floating" torii gate, accessed by a short local train and ferry ride. Depending on fitness and inclination we can use the ropeway and head to the top of Mount Misen. The walk back down the mountain provides some good viewing and vantage points.

An optional for the start of the day is to visit Iwakuni and the famous Kintaikyo Bridge. Beyond the bridge is an interesting array of local attractions including the white snake museum, Kikko shrine and a selection of older style buildings and gardens.

Thursday 7th November Hiroshima to Kyoto: The trip from Hiroshima takes around two hours with an arrival into Kyoto around mid-day. We begin our sightseeing at Inari Fushimi Shinto shrine (famous for its 10,000 vermillion torii gates). Given time/inclination we can visit one of the other nearby attractions in the eastern side of the city such as Sanjusangendo that has 1,000 hand carved statues, or the Kyoto National Museum.

Friday 8th November Kyoto: Start the day by visiting the 'golden pavilion' Kinkaku-ji, travel to the north east of the city and then Nijo Castle before heading to the Heian Shrine and gardens. During the afternoon head to the Arashiyama district, to view the autumn leaves during the evening and enjoy the view across the Katsura River. Also enjoy the nearby Sagano bamboo grove.

Saturday 9th November Kyoto: Day trip to the World Heritage Site at Nara. At Nara there is both Todai-ji temple (with the world's largest bronze Buddha), and Kagusa Shinto shrine. There are sacred deer roaming the park and excellent souvenir shops on the walk to Todai-ji.

Sunday 10th November Kyoto to Tokyo: Transfer back to Tokyo and Narita (or Osaka/Kansai, the actual transfer details will depends on the departure airport).

Saturday 9th November Kyoto: Day trip to the World Heritage Site at Nara. At Nara there is both Todai-ji temple (with the world's largest bronze Buddha), and Kagusa Shinto shrine. There are sacred deer roaming the park and excellent souvenir shops on the walk to Todai-ji.

Sunday 10th November Kyoto to Tokyo: Transfer back to Tokyo and Narita (or Osaka/Kansai, the actual transfer details will depends on the departure airport).  

Late November Autumn Leaf Viewing Tour (Two places remaining)

Saturday 16th November Tokyo:  We meet you at the airport (Narita or Haneda) and transfer to your hotel in Tokyo.  Options for the day depend on your time of arrival but for the first day we keep the tour fairly low-key including things like dinner at a local restaurant, seeing some of the city (afternoon and/or evening) or just sleep if you are jetlagged.

Sunday 17th November Tokyo: Visit Asukusa Kaminarimon (thunder gate), Hozomon and pagoda.  An array of stalls lines the entrance to this shrine (Nakamise Street) providing a wide range of souvenirs and snacks on the approach to Sensoji Temple.  In the afternoon visit one or more of the famous neighbourhood areas of Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ginza. 

Monday 18th November Tokyo to Takayama: Travel by Shinkansen and then local train to the onsen (hot spring) mountain town of Takayama. Use the afternoon for a relaxing onsen bath or explore some of this old-style mountain town. 

Tuesday 19th November Takayama: During the morning explore the town's historic buildings, morning market and shops on foot and/or visit the festival floats exhibition hall.  The afternoon is reserved for a 1/2 day bus tour that visits the World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go with its old traditional "A frame" farmhouses.  Dinner time is an ideal opportunity to sample the famous Hida Beef.

Wednesday 20th November Takayama to Kyoto: Taking the WideView Hida train down the scenic Kiso valley to Nagano and then a short shinkansen ride to the historic previous capital of Japan. In the afternoon enjoy sightseeing at Inari Fushimi Shinto shrine (10,000 torii gates).  

Thursday 21st November Kyoto: Visit the beautiful Arashiyama district for viewing the autumn leaves and enjoy the view across the Katsura River and the nearby Sagano bamboo grove.  After spending time in Arashiyama, head to the "Golden Pavilion" Kinkaku-ji in the north-west of the city.  Returning to the centre of Kyoto exploring the 400 year old covered Nishiki Market.

Friday 22nd November Kyoto: Start the day at Nijo Castle before heading to the Heian Shrine and gardens.  During the evening visit Kodai-ji temple for the autumn leaf illumination.  The temple complex includes a Zen garden, bamboo forest and interesting artisan shops.

Saturday 23rd November Kyoto to Hiroshima:  Heading south from Kyoto, take the shinkansen to Hiroshima.  The afternoon is available to visit the Peace Park and Museum in Hiroshima city and the rebuilt Hiroshima Castle (the castle includes a samurai museum).

Sunday 24th November Hiroshima: A full day in Hiroshima allows time to visit and explore Miyajima Island and Itsukushima Shrine are the location of the famous "floating" torii gate, accessed by a short local train and ferry ride. Depending on fitness and inclination we can use the ropeway and head to the top of Mount Misen.  The walk back down the mountain provides some good viewing and vantage points.

An optional for the start of the day is to visit Iwakuni and the famous Kintaikyo Bridge. Beyond the bridge is an interesting array of local attractions including the white snake museum, Kikko shrine and a selection of older style buildings and gardens.   

Monday 25th November Hiroshima to Osaka: Head to Osaka the second largest city of Japan.  From the hotel it is a short walk across the moat bridge to visit the castle and grounds.  During the evening head to the Dotonbori district.

Tuesday 26th November Osaka: Day trip to the world heritage site at Nara.  At Nara there are both Todai-ji temple (with the world's largest bronze Buddha), and Kagusa Shinto shrine.  Sacred deer roam the park and temple/shrine areas.

Wednesday 27th November Osaka to Kanazawa: Completing the trip across the main island take the "Thunderbird" express train to Kanazawa.  Visit the famous Kenrokuen Garden and Kanazawa castle.  Enjoy local cuisine including fresh sushi and sashimi at the Omicho food market.

Thursday 28th November December Kanazawa to Nagano: Departing from Kanazawa head back into the Japanese Alps to Nagano.  In the early afternoon we visit Zenko-ji temple, founded in the 7th century and houses the first Buddhist image in Japan (552CE). 

Optional is to stay at a traditional Japanese inn including onsen (mineral spring baths) and local foods prepared on-site this is an opportunity to sample a smaller/rural location in Japan. There is a small castle (fort) on the hill behind the ryokan that gives great views across the valley and mountains around the area. We arrange Geisha entertainment during the evening meal (music and dancing performance).

Friday 29th November Nagano: After breakfast, head to Nagano station and take the express bus to Jigokudani Monkey Park. Depending on the weather it could be cold (maybe snow). There is a walk of approximately 2km to the "snow monkeys".  For those not wanting to see the monkeys there is an option to visit the Togakushi Shrine in the forest to the north-west of Nagano with its impressive tree lined approach.   

Saturday 30th November Nagano to Tokyo: Transfer back to Tokyo by shinkansen.  A visit to Harajuku and the Meiji Shrine, an important focal point of the city commemorating the Emperor and a significant change in the structure of Japan.  Also in this area is Yoyogi Park, a popular place for people to spend time on weekends.

Sunday 1st December Tokyo: Last day in Tokyo and transfers back to Narita or Haneda.

Price Inclusions/exclusions

The tour the price for the sixteen day (accommodation for fifteen nights) is from  JPY645,000 per person share twin/double.  For solo travellers (one person, without a shared room), the cost of accommodation is unable to be shared, but we have a policy to limit the extra cost and have priced our tour for a single person at JPY795,000. 

The price includes:

Exclusions are generally items such as theatre performances, sporting or other special events, theme parks, lunch and evening meals, snacks/drinks and other incidental costs such as hotel room service/laundry.

Bookings and Inquiries

If you are interested in joining this tour, please contact us or email us directly at admin@japancustomtours.co.nz.


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