Koyo vs. Momiji vs. Kaede Fall Leaves

Autumn foliage is at its best from November to early December in Kyoto, Japan’s most popular Koyo viewing spot.

The fall leaves with red and yellow colors are referred to as Koyo in Japanese, and the Chinese characters (Kanji) for the term “紅葉” is also read as Momiji.

Although Koyo and Momiji are represented using the same Kanji characters, these words are slightly different in meaning.

Koyo vs. Momiji vs. Kaede

Koyo or Momiji or Kaede

As mentioned above, Koyo generally refers to fall foliage with red and yellow colors,

while Momiji is the generic term for maples, called “Kaede (楓)”, whose autumn leaves have brighter red colors than others.

Momiji is the word for intense red maple leaves with deep slits that look kind of like the palm of babies, and thus, its color doesn’t include yellow.

Momiji or Kaede

By the way, there is no difference in plant classification between Momiji and Kaede.

But Momiji is called Kaede in botany, where the family and the genus named Momiji don’t exist.


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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