In the West, a drier-than-average year means the Aspen trees may not be quite as vibrant as in some years. Need a fall fix?
Fall Leaves: Why Do Leaves Change Color?
Try leaf peeping by boat from these 10 great places. Fall fun: 19 incredible destinations to visit in fall Warm, sunny days are good for vibrant fall colors, but only if they are accompanied by cool nights, according to the Weather Channel.
Precipitation affects the color show — drought and excessive rainfall are both detrimental to foliage. Chlorophyll gives leaves a green color, so when these pigments are not visible, carotenoids, which produce yellow orange and brown colors, show through, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry.
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Bright light and excess plant sugars are abundant during the season, and they help produce anthocyanins, which add red to plants. The "gari kari " of "momijigari" means "hunting". Why does Japan call the act of admiring the autumn leaves "hunting"? Originally, "kari" refers to the act of capturing wild beasts, but it came to be used as a word for catching smaller animals and wild birds, and even harvesting plants.
There are also Japanese words like "kudamono gari" fruit hunting and "shiohigari" clam hunting.
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Over time the word became used for admiring plants, thus the name "momijigari". It is said that nobles who didn't actually hunt went out into the hills and fields to "hunt" for plants. There are trees with leaves that change colors in the fall and others that don't.
Why Leaves Fall from Trees in Autumn
The colors of the leaves also vary from yellow to red and orange. The trees that have leaves that change color are called deciduous trees , and lose their leaves in the winter. Examples of deciduous trees are the maple, Japanese beech buna , and ginkgo maidenhair tree. Evergreen trees like the cedar and pine tree don't lose their leaves and have the same color throughout the year. Trees that lose leaves start getting ready to pass the winter by stopping the water supply to their leaves in the fall.
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The green pigment in leaves are destroyed and the red and yellow colors that were hard to see until then become more visible. The changing of color seems to begin when the morning temperature reaches about 6 to 7 degrees Celsius.
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The difference in temperature in the fall is also very large, creating a perfect environment for beautiful autumn leaves. There are many famous spots for viewing these autumn leaves throughout Japan.
Okutama and Meijijingu Gaien are famous spots in the Tokyo area. In Kyoto, Arashiyama and Tofukuji Temple are highly popular. At Arashiyama, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the autumn leaves at Hozukyo Gorge from a trolley train.
If you're visiting Japan mid November to early December, we highly recommend you go admire the autumn leaves. We guarantee that "hunting" for these beautiful views will become a great memory of your trip. Autumn leaves start changing from the north, beginning in the middle of September in Hokkaido. From mid-October to mid-December you can enjoy the scenery throughout the country.
Related Leaves of the Fall
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