Fall brings a lot of good things. The weather’s finally nice, holidays are right around the corner, and delicious scents fill the air. Most eye-catching, however, is the beautiful foliage that seems to suddenly appear. Before the leaves curl up and wither, there is a brief period when the world is filled with color.
One of the best fall activities is enjoying the changing leaves, whether by going on hikes or simply enjoying the view. There are hundreds of places across the world that blossom into fiery portraits during the fall months. Take a moment to relax and bask in earthly beauty at these great autumn locations in Japan.
Starting off the list is this aptly named street lined with beautiful gingko trees, the official tree of Tokyo. Located in Meiji Jingu Gaien Park in the center of Tokyo, the golden trees never fail to draw huge crowds. The trees have been carefully trimmed into narrow cones, making for an impressive and breathtaking photograph. Stick around for the Gingko Festival and enjoy the food stalls that pop up around the pond, offering delicious treats.
Yes, the Fuji. Not content with simply hosting the largest mountain in Japan, the area also boasts wonderful scenery, including fall leaves. The Fuji Five Lakes, located at the base of the mountain, is also a worthy view. Though the lakes were formed by previous eruptions, the area today is tranquil and pleasant. Visitors can enjoy the impressive view commanded by the mountain and lakes, ringed with colorful leaves. There are also many attractions nearby, including hot springs and an amusement park.
If you go to Mount Fuji, why not take a side trip to another nearby scenic spot? Located in Yamanashi Prefecture, Lake Kawaguchi is actually one of the the Fuji Five Lakes. It deserves to be mentioned on its own, however, for the magnificent Maple Corridor on the northern bank. Walking through this vibrant “tunnel” is like being transported to a fall wonderland, and many people travel hundreds of miles just to experience it. At one end is a kimono museum, and many cafes and restaurants sit close by to allow visitors to rest while enjoying the foliage.
Keeping with the theme of lakes, here’s yet another one! Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture has a long history and is Japan’s largest freshwater lake. The area is transformed into a fiery collage of reds and oranges in the fall, and the paths become blanketed in leaves. After partaking in the views near the lake, stop by the popular Keisokuji Temple. Surrounded by hundreds of maple trees, the temple grounds make a lovely sight. Walking on the path to the temple is like being on the red carpet!
Designated as a national treasure, this park in Gunma Prefecture has no shortage of beautiful sights. Along with the usual fall trees lining the mountain slopes, there are also winter cherry blossoms, like the name suggests. Typically a spring event, these cherry blossoms bloom during the fall, presenting a unique type of fall foliage. At night, lights blink on to illuminate the trees for nighttime visitors.
Way up in Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture, winters can be bitterly cold. The fall, however, is quite nice and full of color. The largest national park in Japan, it boasts huge mountains, a wild assortment of species, and hot spring resorts. With plenty of trails meandering through the mountains, this is a great destination for avid hikers who want to enjoy some magnificent scenery.
Kyoto has long been a popular destination for viewing fall leaves, and of course Arashiyama would make the list. The name refers to both the district and the mountain looming behind it. Arashiyama has the distinction of being one of Japan’s monuments to scenic beauty, with lush forests covering much of the land. Along with the usual temples and shrines, there is also a monkey park, Japanese gardens, and the Moon Crossing Bridge, which provides a spectacular view of the trees on the mountain.
Another famous Kyoto spot makes the list. In fact, it is so popular that huge crowds are unavoidable, no matter the season. Even so, it is highly worth the trip if you want to see some beautiful leaves. This ancient temple boasts many other attractions besides its prominent buildings, including a waterfall that is said to grant wishes. Also present are a pair of “love stones”, and legend says that if you can walk from one stone to the other with your eyes closed, you will find true love.
Visit this World Heritage Site in central Japan for some unique architecture and dense forests. The old villages are built in the style of gassho-zukuri, meaning “prayer-hands construction”. The name comes from the shape of the roofs, which are deeply slanted like praying hands. This strong structure combined with thatching protects the building against the region’s heavy snowfalls. Fall is the perfect time to visit, as you can see these special buildings and nearby rice paddies surrounded by lovely fall colors.
This famous sightseeing route stretches from Toyama to Nagano Prefecture and allows visitors to see some truly spectacular sights. The journey takes roughly 5 hours, but makes up for it by allowing people to sit back and relax while enjoying the foliage by bus, cable car, and more. There are also hotels for those who want to stop and rest, or hike through the mountains and see things up close.
Itsukushima is a sacred spot famous for its many holy buildings and the floating torii gate. The island has many additional attractions, from scenic autumn colors to sacred deer. Find out the secrets of Itsukushima now!
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