Hangetsu Lake Autumn 3

Top 10 Spots and Hikes to View Autumn Leaves in Niseko

The air is getting cooler, the farmers are harvesting their crops, the lush green colours are fading soon to be taken over by the autumn colours of yellow, red, and golden brown.

If you're planning a trip to Niseko in autumn: late September until the end of October is when you'll see the best autumn foliage (depending on the elevation, of course).

Unlike other famous “Koyo” spots in Japan the Niseko locations on the list below will have you surrounded by nature and not overrun by crowds.

From late September leaves will start falling at Niseko’s higher elevations before the colours make their way down the mountains. This means that no matter what time you visit you’ll always be able to find somewhere gorgeous - if you want the perfect timing be sure to follow us on our socials for updates.

1. Hangetsu Lake

Hangetsu lake or the so-called "Half-moon Lake" is named after its iconic crescent shape. The lake is surrounded by a park which is packed with deciduous trees. An easy walking path loop around the lake allows the visitors to explore a whole area. On a sunny autumn day you'll experience a “Koyo” tunnel with trees of yellow and red leaves above your head and brown leaves under foot! The reflection of the trees on the lake is also a favorite scene for photographers and locals!

  • Access difficulty: Easy walk around the lake with a short walk on steeper part to get into the lake. The lake located less than 10 minutes by car from Hirafu, a place worth visiting when you are in town.
  • View location on Google Map: Click here.

2. Niseko Panorama Line

The most popular scenic route in the area! Niseko Panorama Line is famous for the autumn colours as you wind along the curvy mountain road. Indulge in the spectacular views of the valley, the iconic Mt. Yotei, Mt. Annupuri, Mt. Nitori, Mt. Chisenupuri and many more peaks on the Niseko-Annupuri range. The autumn foliage views will be more stunning the higher you go up the mountains. You can explore the scenic route by driving, cycling or stopping for some hike or soak in the rich natural hot spring water at Yukichichibu Onsen. Keep on driving and you'll reach Iwani town - a good choice for fresh plate of sushi or seafood rice bowl.

  • Access difficulty: Starting from Hirafu on route 343 and head towards Niseko Village, continue until the T-junction, take the right turn then continue until reaching Niseko Panorama Line. Enjoyable and easy drive. Niseko Panorama Line is closed in winter.
  • View route on Google Map: Click here.

3. Shinsen-numa

Shinsen-numa is arguably the most beautiful marshland in the area. From Late-September to mid-October leaves are at there peak and many visitors love to come to see its picturesque landscape. During autumn the ground is covered with grass that turns into golden brown with yellow leaves as a backdrop.

  • Access difficulty: Convenient boardwalk trails. This is great place for all ages who love to explore the nature.
  • View location: Click here.

Photo credit: Good Day Hokkaido and NAC.

4. Niseko Oyunuma Pond

Located deep in the mountains at about 560 metres altitude, Oyunuma Pond is a hot spring known for its sulfur water and mineral mud that locals believe heals and moisturizes the skin. When autumn arrives, the fiery fall foliage will light up the hills and the mountains behind the steamy pond creating a unique autumn scene. The pond is the source of Yukichichibu Onsen mentioned above!

  • Access difficulty: The pond is accessible by car, parking is also available. You won’t be able to walk in a loop around the pond, but you can take a very short walk to view the pond closer. Yukichichibu Onsen is right next to the pond.
  • View location: Click here.

5. Mt. Annupuri

If you're up for a hike and want to immerse yourself in true autumn, Mt. Annupuri is a great choice. Starting off at a trailhead near Goshiki Onsen it will take you around 1 and a half hour to hike up to the peak at 1,308 meters. Once you reach the summit, the stunning view of Mt. Yotei will take your breath away. Many hikers love to start off early to get to see the sunrises from Mt. Annupuri peak. Autumn is a good time as the sunrise is not too early like in summer.

If you're looking for something a little more adventurous - consider taking the Niseko Annupuri Summer Gondola up to 1000m - then hiking up and over Annupuri to Goshiki onsen instead!

  • Access difficulty: Proper hiking trail all the way to the peak, perfect for intermediate-level hikers and not too difficult for beginners. Make sure to bring enough water as there is no water source on the mountain. If hiking is not your thing, just take a drive on route 58 from Kutchan.
  • Goshiki trailhead: Click here.
  • Scenic Route 58: Click here.
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6. Niseko-cho Goshiki Onsen Information Centre - Iwaonupuri Trailhead

Niseko-cho Goshikionsen Information Centre is where the visitors can get useful information about mountain hiking in the area, and it is where Iwaonupuri trail begins. At the base of Mt. Iwaonupuri near the trailhead is a mellow slope covered with low shrubs which their leaves will turn to glorious red during the “Koyo” season, creating the beauty of contrast with the white rocky ground. From here, you can also enjoy the epic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys painted with an autumn colour palette.

  • Access difficulty: Short and easy walk from the information centre to the viewing spot, there is some rocky part that can be little slippery.
  • View location: Click here.

7. Kagami-numa

Kagami-numa is a marsh located in Mt. Annupuri area. Kagami is a Japanese word means mirror, an appropriate name as you can see the reflections of Mt. Annupuri in the pond.

  • Access difficulty: An easy 45-minute hike, great conditions for beginners. The trail is very well maintained with mellow slopes. When you approach you will find convenient boardwalk leading you to the marsh. To access the marsh, you should head to Hanazono Golf Course where you can find the trailhead near the exit.
  • View location: Click HERE.

8. Yunosatochusha Park

A secret spot that you could possibly have to yourself on most days. Yunosatochusha is small-size park is full of big trees and when autumn begins, the different shades of yellow colour take over. A few benches and tables are provided which make it a great spot for picnic.

  • Access difficulty: Accessible by car, parking is available. Short and easy walk around the park.
  • View location: Click here.

9. Fukidashi Park

Located at the foot of Mt. Yotei, Fukidashi Park is a popular destination that attracts many visitors all year round. It is famous for its fresh and rich mineral spring water that you can take home (don’t forget to bring a bottle or you can buy one at the shop there). In autumn, the lush green colour of the trees will turn to red and yellow. Walk around the park on the wooden walkways, listen to the sound of calm streams and enjoy the beauty of the nature will bring you peace of mind. Our pro-tip is to check out the nearby onsen and soba restaurant!

  • Access difficulty: This is where the expression "It's a walk in the park" comes from.
  • View location: Click here.
Niseko By NISADE Fukidashi Park 2

10. Makkari Jumokuen

Another hidden spot only the locals (and now you) know Makkari Jumokuen is a quiet and peaceful park with variety of trees. What is special about this place are the tall, beautiful trees that line up on both sides of the road inside the park. You'll feel like you're in a movie! This park is also a good spot to view Mt. Yotei especially in spring when the Sakura bloom. A famous tofu shop, Wakimizu no Sato, is close by.

  • Access difficulty: An easy walk through the trees and around the park. The entrance of the park can be tricky to find, look for a big wooden sign with the name of the park ‘真狩樹木園’, you will see a small gravel road leading to the park.
  • View location: Click here.

Photo credit: Shiribeshi Promotion Bureau, Makkari Town, Rakuten.

Pimsiri Kanjanakaroon

Pimsiri Kanjanakaroon

Pimsiri works as our Japan Assistant Marketing Manager and has been part of the team since winter 2018. While she enjoys shredding powder snow, she finds herself slightly more drawn to spending time outdoors during the green season.


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