The Difference in Meaning : Kaede vs Momiji vs Koyo
Autumn foliage is at its best from November to early December in Kyoto, which is one of the most popular fall leaves viewing spots in Japan.
The autumn foliage with red and yellow colors is referred to as “Koyo (紅葉)” in Japanese, and the Chinese character for the Japanese term, “紅葉” has another reading “Momiji (紅葉)”.
Although these Japanese words, Koyo and Momiji are represented by using the same Chinese characters “紅葉”, they are slightly different in meaning.
The Difference in Meaning between Koyo and Momiji
As I wrote above, in general, “Koyo (紅葉)” refers to the fall foliage with red and yellow colors, while “Momiji (紅葉)” is the generic term for maples called “Kaede (楓)” whose autumn leaves have brighter red colors than others.
Especially, we Japanese call intense red maple leaves with deep slits that look kind of like the palm of babies “Momiji (紅葉)”. Thus, the color of Momiji leaves doesn’t include yellow.
Momiji and Kaede
By the way, when it comes to the relation between “Momiji (紅葉)” and “Kaede (楓)”, there is no difference in the classification of plants between them.
Meanwhile, Momiji is called Kaede in botany where there don’t exist the family and the genus named “Momiji (紅葉)”.