Source : tourist-note.com
Just as the cherry blossoms transform the Japanese landscapes during spring, the autumn leaves (koyo) ignite the country beginning in mid-September. The “koyo front” slowly makes its way south from the northern tip of Hokkaido to the lower elevations of Japan’s central and southern regions by the end of November.
Koyo viewing has been a popular activity in Japan for centuries and here are some of the most beautiful places to witness the color.
1. Daisetsuzan National Park, Hokkaido Prefecture (mid to late September)
The first place to experience the changing autumn leaves each year is Daisetsuzan National Park in Hokkaido, with spectacular colors seen while hiking around Mount Asahidake and Kogen Onsen.
2. Noboribetsu, Hokkaido Prefecture (early to mid-October)
Noboribetsu’s Hell Valley transforms to all shades of orange, yellow and red in early October, framing the sulfurous ponds that nestle on the forested slopes.
3. Hachimantai Mountains, Iwate Prefecture (early to late October)
The Hachimantai Mountains of Tohoku exhibit stunning autumn colors, with Onuma Pond, Goshogake Onsen and Tamagawa Onsen particularly scenic.
4. Lake Towadako, Aomori Prefecture (late October)
Lake Towadako in Aomori Prefecture is one of Japan’s most famous koyo viewing locations, and scenic boat rides are the best way to experience the changing leaves. Or you can go hiking through the stunning gorges and waterfalls of nearby Oirase to witness the autumn colors.
5. Naruko Gorge, Miyagi Prefecture (late October to early November)
Go trekking through the beautiful Naruko Gorge amidst the autumn foliage and take in the spectacular views towards the Ofukazawa Bridge.
6. Fuji Five Lakes region, Yamanashi Prefecture (late October to mid-November)
If you’re visiting the Fuji Five Lakes region, the northern shore of Lake Kawaguchiko is a popular koyo viewing region from late October to mid-November, with the colors beginning to change slightly earlier at Mount Fuji’s higher elevations.
7. Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, between Toyama and Nagano prefectures. (late September to early November)
Spanning a huge elevation range, this route through the Northern Japanese Alps offers koyo viewing throughout the autumn season.
8. Korankei, Aichi Prefecture (mid to late November)
One of the most picturesque koyo viewing destinations in Chubu is in the valley of Korankei where the maple leaves lining the river and trails near Mount Iimori ignite in color.
9. Tofukuji, Kyoto (mid to late November)
Soak up the views from the Tsutenkyo Bridge towards Tofukuji Temple, surrounded by a magnificent display of autumn foliage that is usually at its best near the end of November.
10. Eikando, Kyoto (late November to early December)
Attend one of the special evening illumination sessions at the Eikando temple complex, which is one of Kyoto’s most famous koyo spots.
11. Minoh Park, Osaka (late November)
Nestled in the forested mountains a short train ride from Osaka, Minoh Park features a temple and waterfall that are ignited by colorful leaves during a short period at the end of November.
12. Kuju Mountains, Oita Prefecture (early to mid-October)
One of the best places to view the autumn colors in Kyushu is along one of the many walking trails that weave through the volcanic landscapes of the Kuju Mountains.
13. Sakurayama, Gunma Prefecture (mid-November)
Want to see winter-flowering cherry blossoms surrounded by the autumn colors? Make the journey to Sakurayama in Gunma Prefecture which offers this rare sighting.