5 Best Spots To Enjoy Autumn Scenery in Japan | CoolJapan

While Japan is perhaps best known for spring, when cherry blossoms transform the land into a cotton-candy field of pink and white hues, its autumn scenery is no less beautiful. Over 70 per cent of Japan comprises forested land, with all kinds of deciduous (leaf shedding) trees.

Hozu river in Kyoto

Hozu river in Kyoto. (Photo from: akizo)

Starting from mid-November to around mid-December, the landscape becomes awash with vibrant reds, brilliant oranges and dramatic yellows. During this season, locals and tourists alike flock to parks and gardens to admire the fall foliage in a uniquely Japanese activity known as momiji-gari (autumn leaf hunting). As we enter the fall season, we highlight some of the best places in Japan for momiji-gari.

Arashiyama, Kyoto Prefecture

As a nationally designated Historic Site and Place of Scenic Beauty, this district in the western outskirts of Kyoto is a popular draw for both domestic and international tourists. From the second half of November, Arashiyama's temples are awash with ochres, vermillions and deep browns, creating a sublime landscape that needs to be seen to be believed. Some of the best temples in the area to admire autumn scenery include Tenryuji, Jojakkoji, Nisonin and Gioji.

Yokokan Japanese Garden, Fukui Prefecture

Yokokan Japanese Garden

Yokoan has been recognized as one of the most beautiful gardens internationally. (Photo from: Fukui Prefectural Tourism Federation)

Formerly the residence of the Matsudaira Family, the former lords of the Fukui Domain, this Edo-era complex is one of the best places in Fukui to admire fall foliage. Take a stroll through the immaculately kept garden and admire how the colourful trees are reflected in the surface of the pond — almost like a scene from an Impressionist painting.

Mount Adatara, Fukushima Prefecture

Located about a 45-minute drive from Fukushima city, Mount Adatara is made up of several active volcanoes that form a broad mountain. The area is a veritable Eden, with plenty of Alpine plant species growing wild here. While the mountain is open to climbers all year round, the scenery is especially picturesque in autumn when the surrounding forests come alive with a fiery palette of colours. For those who prefer not to hike, you can take the Adatara Ropeway, which offers panoramic views of Lake Inawashiro, the Azuma mountain range and the mountainous terrains of Side and Nasu in the distance.

Nakatsu Gorge, Saitama Prefecture

Situated along the Niyodo River system, the Nakatsu Gorge is a natural wonder that dates back well over 300 million years. Comprising steep boulders and pristine waterfalls, the gorge is linked by a 2.3km-long path and several bridges. In autumn, as you make your way across the path — occasionally crossing the river over stepping stones — you’ll be surrounded by beautiful scenes of bright gold, orange and red foliage.

Fukiware Falls, Gunma Prefecture

Fukiware-no-Taki Falls

Fukiware-no-taki fall. (Photo from: Gunma Prefectural Government)

Occasionally referred to as the “Niagara of the East”, these natural cascades fall from a height of seven metres and stretch across 30 metres. A suspension bridge drapes above the falls and is framed by a lush forested landscape. In Autumn, the trees are dyed in a magnificent palette of colours, creating postcard-perfect scenes that will leave you mesmerised. Take a stroll across the bridge to soak up the beauty of this nationally designated scenic site.

  1. 1.Arashiyama
  2. 2.Yokokan Japanese Garden
  3. 3.Mt. Adatara
  4. 4.Nakatsu Gorge
  5. 5.Fukiware Falls
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