Carbonate platforms consisting of hermatypic coral, rudists and larger foraminifers formed along the margin of the NE Japanese islands during the mid-Late Aptian. The geographical northern limit of the carbonate platforms extended to c. 36°N at that time, which is the highest latitude for coral and/or rudist formation in the North Pacific region. This geographical extension of the carbonate platform in the NW Pacific indicates extreme climatic warmth in the mid-latitudes and strong poleward heat transport systems. Contemporaneous warming has been detected in European and Australian regions, as represented by the migration of Tethyan fauna toward the boreal realm and the positive excursion of δ13C and negative excursion of δ18O in deep-sea carbonates. Our new constraint on the northern limit of ‘reef’ growth reinforces the view that an interval of greenhouse-like warmth punctuated the Late Aptian climate.