National

High temperatures may delay appearance of autumn foliage in Japan

by Magdalena Osumi

Staff Writer

Summer temperatures have yet to cool off, and meteorologists believe that this year’s scorching heat may have pushed back the arrival of autumn foliage season — predicting its start will likely be later than usual across almost all regions of Japan.

Experts believe Sapporo will be the first area to enjoy the autumn foliage season. They predict the best date to enjoy yellow ginkgo leaves will be Nov. 6, and for viewing maple leaves, Nov. 7. Hokkaido’s mountain maple trees usually turn red by around Oct. 25, meaning this year’s foliage in the prefecture will peak 13 days later than usual.

In its first forecast for this year’s autumn foliage season, released Tuesday, Osaka-based Japan Meteorological Corp. sees the earliest anticipated time for both yellow and red foliage to arrive as around usual, but believes it’s more likely the season will arrive later than usual since September and October temperatures are expected to be higher than average.

The company explained that temperature plays an important role in how autumn foliage will look, as leaves turn yellow or red more quickly if temperatures continue to drop. It said a warm period during fall may lower the intensity of autumn colors, and may delay the arrival of the autumn foliage season.

Typically, ginkgo tree leaves turn yellow sooner than maple tree leaves. Overall, fall leaves change colors faster at higher altitudes.

Yellow leaves will be at their most impressive in the cities of Nagano on Nov. 13, Nagoya on Nov. 18, Osaka on Nov. 23 and Fukuoka on Nov. 24, where the foliage normally peaks 12 days earlier.

Meanwhile, red foliage will look the most impressive in the cities of Sendai on Nov. 26, Nagoya on Nov. 30 and Osaka on Dec. 1.

Those in Tokyo will need to wait a little longer than usual for autumn foliage to come alive, with ginkgo leaves expected to look the most attractive on Nov. 27 and the peak for maple tree leaves expected on Dec. 3.

Tourists planning to visit Kyoto to observe the changing autumn leaves should also take note that this year’s red foliage is expected to peak Dec. 8.

The weather forecasting firm has estimated the best viewing dates for maple tree leaves and gingko tree leaves for around 700 viewing spots in cities around the country.

From this year, the firm has also added estimates and altitude information for around 2,000 mountains, which will be released Friday.

Detailed forecasts for the best and most famous places to experience autumn foliage, such as Showa Memorial Park in Tokyo or Kyoto Botanical Gardens, can be found on the agency’s website.

Information is available in four languages: English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese. The forecasts will be updated in early October.

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