A constant question people have about traveling to Japan is “when is the best time to go?” Everyone knows spring is the time to see cherry blossoms, but what about autumn with its fall colors? Japanese people love traveling to different places where autumn colors are in full swing. The fall has good weather, beautiful sceneries, and relaxing atmosphere. In the Tohoku Region there are plenty of places to see autumn leaves and here are some recommendations.
Dakigaeri Gorge is located in Akita Prefecture in Semboku City. It is a popular spot to visit especially in the spring and autumn seasons. Many Japanese locals make the trip here to see the waterfall surrounded by autumn leaves. Crossing the red bridge, known as Kami no Iwahashi, you will be afforded great views of the valley.
The Kakunodate Samurai District is known for its weeping cherry blossoms in spring, but in the autumn, bright colors decorate the symbolic black fences of the area. The fall leaves make for a nice stroll around the Edo period samurai living quarters. At some of the samurai homes, that you are allowed to enter, you can see autumn foliage around their estates.
Naruko Gorge is a 100-meter-deep and 2 kilometers ravine is one of the most scenic gorges in the Tohoku Region. From October to early November the gorge is surrounded by autumn colors. The best place to view Naruko Gorge is from the observation deck. From the observation deck you can see the iconic Ofukazawa Bridge that trains and vehicles use to cross the gorge.
Ginzan Onsen is one of the most beautiful onsen towns in Japan. The ryokans there reflect a Taisho Period architecture style. At the end of the of town is Shirogane Park. There you can see the Shirogane Waterfall surrounded by autumn leaves. It is nice place to take a stroll in a yukata after you have finished taking a relaxing hot spring bath.
The Zao Quasi National Park refers to an entire mountain range. The Zao Okama Crater, which is known for its’ five color lake, is part of the national park. One of the best places to see the fall colors is at the Takimidai Observatory. From there you can see the two waterfalls Sangai and Fudou surrounded by colorful leaves. This observatory can be found 7 kilometers away from Mt. Zao.
Yamadera is a temple located at the top of about 1000 stone steps. The view from the temple is worth the energy it takes to reach the summit. From the Godaido, you can see the mountains covered in autumn leaves surrounding the town below. While exploring the temple grounds there are a few trees that change to the beautiful fall colors.
The Shiogama Shrine is over 1200 years old and is the most prominent Shinto shrine in the Tohoku region. The 200 stone steps lead up to the entrance marked by a large vermilion torii gate. In the autumn, the path leading to the shrine structures accompanied by fall leaves. The trees are adjacent to a calming Japanese garden, which is a must see.