Best Places For Autumn Foliage Viewing In Japan | CoolJapan

Momijigari is a Japanese tradition of visiting areas where leaves have turned red in the autumn. Momiji refers to red leaves and gari means to hunt. (However, hunting in this term relates more to admiring than in its literal meaning.)

Despite travel restrictions, I believe that all travel enthusiasts should still travel with the aid of technology. Yes, it is not the same but we make do with the resources we are blessed with. So we should keep travelling digitally!

The Momiji season is coming to an end in mid-December, but here’s a recap of my recommended places for you to visit in the future (and enjoy virtually right now).


Gansenji Temple at Minami Yamashiro 

Minami Yamashiro is a village southeast of Kyoto city and a lesser-known tourist attraction, making it the perfect place for you to explore. The village has gorgeous green tea fields and is known to be the major producer of green tea in Kyoto.

The Gansenji Temple located in the village is surrounded by amazing foliage, which turns crimson and gold in the fall. The name of the temple translates to 'Rock Boat Temple', which originated from a boat-shaped rock near the main entrance of the temple.

The temple has also earned the nickname ‘Temple of Flowers’ because the foliage surrounding the temple blooms seasonally with cherry blossoms, hydrangeas, water lilies and more throughout the year.


Minoo Park 

Minoo Park is a forested valley located in the outskirts of Osaka and is one of the best places to visit during the fall season.

It has a hiking trail that extends about three kilometres through a valley alongside the Minoo River. If you are like me — I am not so much into hiking but have a major crush on waterfalls — you can still try to hike through the trail to reach the 33-metre Minoo Waterfall. It's the park’s main attraction and what sets it apart from other momigijaris out there.


Shinjuku Gyoen 

Shinjuku Gyoen is breathtaking in the spring and magical during the fall. It is one of the most common tourist attractions in Tokyo but if you haven’t been to Shinjuku Gyoen while you're in Tokyo, you were never really in Tokyo!

This expansive 58.3-hectare garden showcases various garden styles — English, Japanese and French. This results in unique foliages in each garden concept during the different seasons. Shinjuku Gyoen is also a great place for a picnic everywhere you go and a great place for Insta-worthy photos. What’s not to like?


Onuma Quasi-National Park 

Onuma Quasi-National Park is in a massive 9000-hectare land blessed with stunning views and scenery that must be on your list of must-visit places when in Hokkaido. Not only is the view during fall amazing but you get to enjoy different activities such as hiking, canoeing and cycling while enjoying the amazing fall views. I’ve never canoed in my life but canoeing with a view in Hokkaido? It's now on top of my list!


Akizuki Castle

The Akizuki Castle is a military camp-like castle packed with history. You’ll be able to cover this place in a day but there are some things you shouldn’t miss out on when visiting. Visit the small shrines and memorials and take a three-hour hike up Mt. Kosho if you are up for it.

If you’ve decided to hike up Mt. Kosho, there is a soba shop, Kosho-an, at the base of the mountain that is popular locally and always very difficult to get seats at and is always quickly running out of noodles — so make sure you get to it quickly. The town where Akizuki Castle is situated also has excellent dishes and wine that you could enjoy too.

How about an onsen? Akizuki Onsen Seiryuan also has a charming outdoor onsen serving traditional Japanese multi-course dinner you can experience after a full day spent at Akizuki Castle.

Even while travel restrictions are still ongoing, it's not bad to keep our must-visit list full so that once travel opens up, we'll be ready to roll.

(Cover photo from: Marta Wave via Pexels)

  1. 1.Gansenji Temple
  2. 2.Minoo Park
  3. 3.Shinjuku Gyoen
  4. 4.Onuma Quasi-National Park
  5. 5.Akizuki Castle
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Maya is fueled by plans of travelling the world. She craves to be in different places all the time and illuminates when experiencing cultures, food and products unique to the localities. Getting to share these experiences through her snaps and writings makes her adventures more worthwhile.
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