The time for teapots, tiny candy bars and pumpkin soup comes about as gradually as the leaves changing, but now that it's about to get into full swing, here are five places that will make you fall in love with autumn...
Autumn is usually a season overlooked, nothing more than a damp omen for the impending winter, however many places in the world embrace and even revere autumn for the natural beauty it beholds.
1. Kyoto, Japan
Flickr | Ari Helminen
The area surrounding the city of Kyoto showcases some of the best autumnal forests in Japan, but one of the best views is at Tofukuji Temple, combining both the wonderful colour changes and Japan's cultural history.
The Zen temple was founded in 1236 and is one of the head temples for the teachings of Rinzai Zen Buddhism, a sect focusing on seeing one's true nature through meditation, mindfulness and the pondering of Koans, statements or questions which bring about great doubt, to get closer to enlightenment.
Flickr | Ari Helminen
The temple attracts hundreds of people annually to see the autumn colours from the Tsutenkyo Bridge in the temple's grounds; a 100m bridge stretching over a maple filled valley. The colours are best on show here in mid-November.
2. Mont Tremblant, Canada
Flickr | Malcom Carlaw
The pedestrianised resort town of Tremblant is surrounded by the tree covered slopes of the Laurentian Mountains. These woods consist of Red and Sugar Maple, Beech, American Rowan and Paper Birch in the lowlands, and Black Spruce, Balsam Fir Red Spruce and Yellow Birch at higher elevations. All these species, plus the many more crammed together on the undulating landscape, results in the swathes of ochres, yellows and reds with flecks of evergreen pines. It's not hard to see why people come in their thousands to hike, bike and even zip-line over these hills.
In fact the season is so loved the town of Tremblant holds the annual "Symphony of Colour", a celebration of the leaf change featuring outdoor music concerts and the Grand Prix of Colours up the mountain side. The festival runs from September through to October so incorporates Halloween celebrations too.
Immerse yourself amongst the colourful woods, wildlife and people of Canada on one of our Canada projects
Flickr | Randi Hausken
Norway's boreal forests almost perfectly sum up the fleeting nature of autumn. Peaking in the month of September, temperatures gradually dwindle into winter by October. However this short autumn inspires people to embrace it even more, as people hike the forests and mountains foraging for mushrooms and berries.
Autumn in Norway is seen as a time for warmth, where the warmth of the sun is replaced with the kindness and compassion of those around you to face bleak winter together; a time when people come together as the nights draw longer. As long as they can't feel the cold, people embrace autumn and each other.
Norway's national dish Farikal, mutton stewed in cabbage, peppercorns and potatoes, is a quintessential autumn-warmer and even has its own dedicated day, celebrated on the last Thursday of September.
The end of their autumn also sparks the beginning of Aurora season, so if timed right you could see the spectacular colours and celebrations, as well as the incredible Northern Lights.
Flickr | momo
Autumn is usually considered the wettest month; the time when the rains come in, but not cold enough to lock the waters away in ice. However for Tibet autumn is in fact the driest season. This opens the door to all the adventurers out there, as it's the safest time to tackle otherwise treacherous mountain treks.
The Himalayas and plateau lakes are the perfect backdrop to the beautiful autumn colours in both the trees and the grasslands.
No matter where you go in Tibet Buddhism is prevalent; there's a monastery or temple in almost every settlement, and the dry season gives trekkers access to some of the largest monasteries, such as Ganden, Drepung and Sera, as well as providing the perfect conditions to explore the lost civilisation of the Guge Kingdom.
You can see all these places and more on our Tibet Adventure Trails.
Autumn in Mexico is generally warm and pleasant, so makes for a great escape if you want to witness the season but cannot handle the cold. Obviously the nearer to winter and higher above sea level the colder the nights become, but comparatively Mexico makes a great autumn destination for those of us fleeing colder climes. However this isn't to say a woolly wouldn't be required when the sun goes down, it is autumn after all.
Flickr | Adam Jones
One of the spectacles in Mexico, other than the leaf change, is the annual Monarch Butterfly migration. This is an absolute must see, especially so if you're a fan of all things orange! The Oyamel mountain forests in which they reside are mainly coniferous, so their arrival makes up for the lack of orange on those branches.
Alongside the evergreen fir forests are the lower-lying deciduous woods of Oak and Sweetgum. Mexico is in fact home to over 200 species of Oak, and with the variation in colour of Sweetgums leads to deep reds and copper tones. However the most impressive displays are the forests of Quaking Aspen with their blazing yellows and golds.
Flickr | Jenny Huey
Another of Mexico's autumn delights is Dias de los Muertos or 'days of the dead'. Taking place over the 1st and 2nd of November the festival is a celebration of the lives of those deceased; whereby instead of mourning or grieving, their lives are honoured and remembered with food, festivity and parties. It is believed that the dead also awaken to celebrate with their loved ones.
You can see these spectacles whilst doing something amazing by volunteering on one of our Mexico projects.
By Thomas Phillips - Online Journalism Intern
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