Although Japan’s delicate pink blooms remain on every traveler’s bucket list, autumn is quickly garnering the attention and affection of would-be and seasoned Japan travelers alike. The vibrant tapestry of reds, yellows, and oranges that blanket the countryside are spectacular to behold. This coupled with the mild climate and exquisite seasonal cuisine make it easy to see why fall is shooting its way up the must-see list for Japan travelers. Though Tokyo and Kyoto may be obvious stops on the fall foliage itinerary, some of the most breathtaking colors can be found off the beaten path. Here are just a few must-see places to catch the charming colors of fall. .
Lake Towada/Oirase, Aomori Prefecture
The autumn foliage surrounding the volcanic Lake Towada in the northern prefecture of Aomori is said to be among the most beautiful natural sights in Japan. Nestled within the Towada-Hachimantai National Park, the surrounding forests and nearby Oirase are home to a variety of flora and fauna. Boat tours are available and highly recommended for those looking to get the best views, and photographs of the stunning fall colors.
Best time to go: mid-October – early November
For more information: https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/regional/aomori/towada_aomori.html
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Toyama/Nagano Prefectures
Perhaps best known for the towering walls of snow that line its way during the winter months, the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route also boasts stunning views of the changing colors. Stretching from Nagano to Toyama prefecture, this 25km mountain crossing provides a front seat to the magnificent Japan Alps. If your ride through the striking alpine pass isn’t enough, visitors can ride the ropeway at the top of Mt. Tateyama for a full and uninterrupted view of the spectacular fall foliage below.
Best time to go: late September to mid-November depending on the elevation
For more information: https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/regional/nagano/tateyama_kurobe.html
Oboke Koboke Gorge, Tokushima Prefecture
The deep valleys and winding rivers of Tokushima prefecture have often been referred to as “Japan’s Grand Canyon.” The picturesque backdrop created when summer turns to fall and the valleys are splashed with pops of fall colors could certainly be considered grand. The neighboring gorges of Oboke and Koboke offer visitors a unique way of taking in the breathtaking scenery aboard one of the many boat tours available which cruise along the Yoshino River. Oboke and Koboke are also known for their rapids and thrill seekers can try their hand at white-water rafting as well.
Best time to go: mid-November – early December
For more information: https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spot/natuscen/obokeandkoboke.html
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