Do you want to immerse yourself in the beauty of the fall season? If you want to visit a place that is like stepping into another planet and becomes breathtakingly gorgeous in autumn, put Hokkaido on your travel bucket list. In Hokkaido, the best season for fall foliage differs by area and depending on the climate that year.

For example, in Central Hokkaido, the best time to see fall foliage is between early October and late October. On the other hand, in Northern Hokkaido, the fall foliage can be enjoyed from mid September to mid October. Though, peak fall foliage in the entire Hokkaido region typically takes place around mid October.

Hokkaido’s fall colors! Photo Credit: Jen Morgan at Flickr.

This itinerary would work nicely if you are going to travel to central and southern Hokkaido from mid October to early November. Hokkaido is one of the most popular autumn leaves destinations in Japan, and if it’s your first trip to the region, I strongly recommend you follow this suggested itinerary for this autumn.

You really have a great chance to see some of the best of what Hokkaido has to offer you during autumn. You are always flexible to exclude some of the attractions you are going to discover here in this post. Whether you stay there for 5 or 7 days, that’s enough to overwhelm you. But always remember, if you visit Hokkaido for 14 days, you will be blessed with other autumn leaves spots to visit.

Here is another Hokkaido itinerary for autumn.

Day 1 – Sapporo

Hokkaido University’s Gingko Avenue. Photo Credit: MIKI Yoshihito at Flickr.

Sapporo is widely known for its iconic snow festival called Sapporo Yuki Matsuri that takes place in early February each year. You will be glad to know that the city looks spectacular in autumn and a lot of leaf peepers come here to see stunning oranges, crimsons, and gold foliage.

Here, the deciduous trees change from a lush green to vibrant gold in early October and are at their brightest from mid October to late October.

Odori Park’s autumn foliage. Photo Credit: humbletree at Flickr.

Are you ready to start off? Your Hokkaido autumn adventure begins right there in Sapporo city with a visit to Hokkaido University Gingko Avenue, just 10-12 minute walk from JR Sapporo Station. Use Google Maps App to locate the area. In autumn, over the weekend, the avenue gets crowded with both local and foreign travelers.

Everyone who visits this beautiful fall foliage spot does spend a lovely time walking along the gingko avenue. Based on your interest, you can stay there for an hour or a little longer. Make sure you go there early in the morning for amazing photo opportunities.

Nakajima Park during autumn. Photo Credit: MIKI Yoshihito at Flickr.

In addition, explore the other sightseeing spots that belong to the University such as Hokkaido University Museum, the Botanic Garden, and Elm Forest.

Other places of interest are: Nakajima Park (one of the best fall foliage spots in Sapporo), Sapporo TV Tower, Odori Park, Maruyama Park, and Sapporo Beer Museum.

There is no chance of skipping Sapporo from your travel plan. You may skip it in the summer but not in the fall, bear in mind that!

Hotel to stay in Sapporo: JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo.

Day 2 – Sapporo -> Jozankei Onsen

This is so beautiful! Photo Credit: Jozankei Hot Springs Tourism Association.

Set your mind on discovering a hidden gem. Jozankei onsen, a 60-minute drive from JR Sapporo Station, is often recognized such, especially in the fall. It is said to be the best hot spring resort town in Sapporo, and you are warned to prepare for the explosion of fall foliage.

Here, Leaf-peeping activities include canoeing, trekking, experiencing public foot bath, fruit picking, bus riding within Jozankei area and many more.

An exclusive scenic bus ride, Koyo Kappa Bus is introduced to Jozankei visitors who are keen to explore the best autumn leaves viewing spots around Jozankei that also include the Hoheikyo dam.

Have your dinner in a restaurant in the hot springs town. Get back to Sapporo in the evening.

Day 3 – Sapporo -> Furano -> Biei

To be honest with you, Biei is much more beautiful than its neighboring town Furano. Photo Credit: trasroid at Flickr.

I would like you to pay a visit to Furano and Biei, only for a day though. You are not going to stay overnight there, instead explore only Farm Tomita, Popura Farm, Kanno Farm, Shikisai no Oka, and Blue Pond in Biei.

Among these attractions, surrounding autumn scenery of the blue pond would astonish you. On the other hand, you will visit Farm Tomita, Kanno Farm, and Shikisai no Oka to see breathtaking display of various seasonal flowers.

Blue Pond and the surrounding beautiful autumn scenery! Photo Credit: johnlsl at Flickr.

Take a JR limited express train from JR Sapporo station to JR Furano station. The ride is about 2 hours long, so try to catch the early morning train. If you have a Japan Rail Pass or Hokkaido Rail Pass, you don’t need to buy ticket, just hop on the train!

Head back to Sapporo by train and stay overnight there.

Day 4 – Sapporo -> Noboribetsu

Hell Valley in autumn! Photo Credit: Kentaro Ohno at Flickr.

For day 4, interesting places to visit in Hokkaido is Noboribetsu. Yes you head towards Noboribetsu, a famous hot spring resort town in the Hokkaido region, that is home to about eleven different kinds of thermal waters, one public bath house, several ryokans & hotels, footbath, walking trails, and Oyunuma Pond. The surrounding areas of the resort town look gorgeous during fall.

Two things you should never forget to experience in Noboribetsu, they are: visit Jigokudani (Hell Valley), and Oyunumagawa Natural Foot Bath.

Oyunumagawa Natural Foot Bath. Photo Credit: johnlsl at Flickr.

I would highly recommend you stay at Noboribetsu Sekisui Tei. It offers both indoor and outdoor hot spring baths. It also offers a free shuttle bus service from JR Sapporo Station and New Chitose Airport. Make your reservation in advance by making a phone call at TEL:81-143-84-2255 to avail this exclusive service.

Hotel to stay in Noboribetsu: Noboribetsu Sekisui Tei

Day 5 – Noboribetsu -> Hakodate

An amazing night view from Mt. Hakodate. Photo Credit: Hsuanya Tsai at Flickr.

Take a limited express train (Hokuto or Super Hokuto) from JR Noboribetsu Station to JR Hakodate Station. Check in and leave your luggage and other personal belongings at the hotel you are going to stay the night. Have some rest if you want, then go on a day trip to see Hakodate must-see attractions.

You can explore the Hakodate Morning Market (May – December; 5:00 – 14:00). In addition, take a stroll along the streets located in the Bay area and Motomachi area and find the hidden discoveries they possess.

Miharashi Park (Kosetsuen) in autumn. Photo Credit: sii_side at Flickr.

Is there any autumn leaves viewing spot in Hakodate? Yes there is, and you will be overwhelmed seeing incredible fall foliage display in Miharashi Park (Kosetsuen). See the bright reds and oranges of fall foliage in the park at their best in mid October through early November. Deciduous trees are lit up in the evening to make the sight pretty breathtaking.

The final destination of your Hakodate trip would be Mt. Hakodate. The surrounding views from the mountain are fantastic! It’s said to be one of the three best night views in Japan. At night, the observatory is always packed with a lot of tourists, so, find your perfect spot to enjoy the night views.

Hotel to stay in Hakodate: Comfort Hotel Hakodate

Day 6 – Hakodate -> Lake Toya

View of Toyako Onsen (hot spring resort town with ryokans and hotels) and Lake Toya.

Travel to Lake Toya (a famous volcanic caldera lake) and spend the night there. It would be great if you stay in a hotel located near the lakeshore. The train ride from JR Hakodate Station to JR Toya Station is about 2 hours long. From JR Toya Station you reach to Toyako Onsen Bus Terminal by bus (15 minute ride).

Stay the night at The Lake View Toya Nonokaze Resort. Indeed, it is a very good hotel that provides free shuttle bus service between JR Sapporo station to the hotel, and you can take the free shuttle to get to JR Sapporo Station from the hotel as well. The hotel is a great place to experience beautiful views of Lake Toya.

Lake Toya Observation Deck. Photo Credit: Tony Lin at Flickr.

Walk around the Toyako Onsen area and find a lot of wonderful discoveries. Take Lake Toya cruise boat and have pleasant time with. In addition, explore Mount Usu by the Usuzan Ropeway where you hike up to the observation deck, and enjoy the panoramic views from there.

In the evening around 8:45pm, you see a wonderful firework display for about 20 minutes that light up Lake Toya almost every day from April 28th to October 31st.

Day 7 – Lake Toya -> Sapporo

Sapporo TV Tower. Photo Credit: KiriS at Flickr.

Leave Lake Toya area in the early morning and head back to Sapporo. Spend your day by doing shopping and having a lovely dinner time at one of the very finest restaurants found nearby JR Sapporo Station or somewhere around Odori Park. You can also explore Susukino, the red light district in Sapporo, which is packed with restaurants and bars.

This suggested itinerary takes you to most of the best autumn destinations in Hokkaido. Traditionally, Hokkaido is known for its amazing unspoiled wilderness. There are so many things one could experience, and visiting Hokkaido in the fall would be a trip that may even exceed your own expectation.

If you have question about Hokkaido, feel free to contact us. Thank you.