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Mt Asahidake

Mt. Asahidake is the highest mountain (2,290 m) in Daisetsuzan National Park. Around mid-September, the park attracts a number of hikers as the place where people can enjoy the earliest autumn leaves in Japan. The walk around Sugatami Pond is 1.7 km long and takes about one hour. On this short walk you can enjoy seeing autumn flowers (Miyama-gentian, Miyama-goldenrod, etc.) and fluffs of Chinguruma along with autumn leaves. The view of the mountain is also splendid.

Autumn foilage season: Mid-September to early October
Access: 1hr 30min ride by "Ideyu-go" Bus from JR Asahikawa Station to Asahidake Station. Then, take the ropeway (aerial tramway) for 10 min to Sugatami Station.
Further information: Mt. Asahidake

Oirase Stream

Oirase Stream, Aomori

Oirase Stream, now designated as Towada Hachimantai National Park, is a stream about 14 km long which runs from Lake Towada-ko. You can enjoy the dynamic and changing beauty of the streams as riffles and abysses, as well as a tour of fourteen waterfalls. There are promenades along the streams, where you can stroll under the coloured leaves of beeches and maples. Above all, what you should not miss is the 2.9 km long path from Ishikedo to Kumoi Falls, which takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes to walk. A powerful rapid called "Ashura-no-nagare (the current of asure)," and such special rocks as Byobu-iwa and Makado-iwa, are a must to see.

Autumn foilage season: Early October
Access: 90 min ride by bus from JR Hachinohe Station (Tohoku Shinkansen Line) to Ishikedo Station. It is a few minutes walk from the bus stop.
Further information: Aomori Sightseeing Guide

Lake Chuzenji, Tohoku

Lake Chuzenji is 1,269 meters above sea level, the highest lake in Japan. At the lakeside, there are various trees such as beeches, lacquer trees, and different sorts of maples showing colourful autumn leaves. The banks of this clear and transparent lake provide one of the best spots for viewing autumn leaves. To enjoy the nature of the Lake Chuzenji area, it is recommended to walk along the hiking trail on the lakeside, as well as to cruise by boat and ship.

Autumn foilage season: Late September to early November
Access: 50 min ride by Tobu Bus from Nikko Station (JR or Tobu Railway) to Chuzenji-ko-onsen. It is a 5 min walk from the bus stop
Further information: Tochigi Prefecture Guide


Jingo-ji Temple, Kyoto

Jingo-ji Temple is a mountain temple standing on the hillside of Mt. Takao-san, located in the northwest of Kyoto City. It is also known as the temple where Priest Kukai (774-835) lived and worked for 14 years after he had returned home from Tang (China). After going up steep stone steps for about 15 minutes, you will find one of the best spots for autumn leaves in Japan. The landscape from the garden of Jizo-in Temple is called "Kin'unkei," a full view over the valley of the Kiyotaki River in red leaves. In the precincts, you will also be astonished to see the red leaves of the old trees such as Takao-kaede (maple). And here, you can try a play called "Kawarake-nage," by throwing small unglazed plates into the vast garden, which is performed also as the practice of exorcism.

Autumn foilage season: Mid-to late November
Access: Take the JR Bus from JR Kyoto Station to Yamashiro-Takao. It is a 20 min walk from the bus stop.
Further information: Welcome to Kyoto

Koichi Shintani - Momijidani Park

Momijidani, Hiroshima

Momijidani Park is located at the foot of the primeval forest of Mt. Mi-yama and is designated as a natural monument. It is situated in the backyard of Itsukushima Shrine, which is regarded as one of the best three landscapes in Japan. Being true to its name Momijidani, valley of autumn leaves, the park appears in magnificent colours in its season. Wild deer are also found in the park, while 1,000 maple trees of five different varieties show off their beautiful colours. In addition, the view of the Momiji bridge area is splendid with the brazing red of maple leaves.

Autumn foilage season: Early to mid-November
Access: 5mins walk from JR Miyajima-guchi Station (San-yo Line) to Miyajima-guchi Sanbashi. From there, take JR ferry or Miyajima Matsudai Kisen ferry for 10mins and exit at Miyajima Sanbashi. It’s 20mins walk from the boarding point.
Further information: Miyajima Island