Have you ever visited the northern part of Japan, known as the Tohoku Region? The area is famous as a place with superb scenery of autumn foliage. Let’s check the best spots to see autumn leaves in Tohoku.
Tsuta Nananuma (Tsuta Seven Lakes) – Aomori Prefecture
The Seven Lakes of Tsuta consist of Tsuta-numa, Kagami-numa, Tsuki-numa, Naga-numa, Hyotan-numa, Suga-numa, and Aka-numa, all swamps that were formed by volcanic eruptions. These lakes are connected by a promenade called Numa-meguri no Komichi. One can easily enjoy a stroll around this area in about an hour.
In the autumn, the surroundings will be dyed in red. And the view of the red foliage reflected on the water surface is splendid, to the extent that people call this place “a place you would like to visit at least once in your life.”
Chuson-ji Temple – Iwate Prefecture
For about 100 years since the latter half of the Heian period, the area of Hiraizumi District in Iwate Prefecture has been under continuous development. Temples and gardens in Hiraizumi District, which were built to represent the Buddhist Pure Land, were registered as World Heritage Sites in 2011. The golden Chuson-ji Temple is the most well-known among those sites. On top of that, people usually visit the place during the fall season to enjoy autumn leaves in Tohoku while admiring Japanese history.
Oyasukyo Daifunto – Akita Prefecture
This Oyasukyo gorge formed through fluvial erosion over thousands of years. The highlight of this spectacular location is the Oyasukyo Daifunto, where one can see 98-degree hot springs shrouded in white steam furiously gush out of the crevices of the cliff face. One can also enjoy hiking and marveling at the beautiful color of autumn along an available trail.
Zao Okama – Miyagi Prefecture
Zao area in Miyagi Prefecture is famous for years for its autumn foliage viewing locations. There is also the Okama Crater Lake, a stunning crater lake that lies in the middle of Zao’s mountains. The lake creates a fantastic contrast between the emerald green and red color in the surroundings. Enjoy some hiking and mountain climbing in the Zao mountain range while admiring the beauty of Miyagi’s autumn.
Autumn foliage at Jozenji-dori Avenue – Sendai City
Jozenji-dori Avenue is a symbol of Sendai City. In autumn, the entire row of Japanese Zelkova trees turns into a stunning yellow. The spot is unique to Sendai, dubbed as The City of Trees, for being a forest in the middle of the city. Every September, people also host the Jozenji Street Jazz Festival there.
Risshaku-ji Temple – Yamagata Prefecture
Popularly known as Yamadera (Mountain Temple), the Risshaku-ji Temple in Yamagata Prefecture is a temple with over 1000 years of history. The entire mountain is made of rocks with strange shapes and is also a sacred location. The path of 1,015 stone steps, from the bottom to Okunoin Temple where Daibutsuden Hall located, is colored with beautiful autumn foliage. The scenery when climbing up the stairs is truly miraculous!
Goshikinuma Ponds – Fukushima Prefecture
Goshikinuma Pond in Fukushima Prefecture was rewarded with a 1-star rating in 2016’s Michelin Green Guide. This is a term referring to many lakes and ponds, which include Bishamonnuma, Akanuma, Midoronuma, Tatsunuma, Bentennuma, Rurinuma, Aonuma, and Yanaginuma. People refer to these places as “mysterious lakes,” where the colors of emerald green, cobalt blue, turquoise blue, emerald blue, and pastel blue differ depending on each pond. The Aonuma pond is the most stunning place that looks like it was not something natural-created. Enjoy the landscape of both breathtakingly beautiful lakes and the autumn foliage.
Yahiko Park – Niigata Prefecture
Yahiko Park in Niigata Prefecture is a natural park with an area of over 132,000 square meters. One can sense the beauty of Japan there with waterfalls, mountain streams, hills, and tunnels, each blending in beautiful harmony.
In particular, Momijidani, Maple Valley, is known for its fall foliage, with the leaves and the vermillion Kanzuki Bridge easing visitors’ hearts. At night, the area is lit up, create an even more marvelous world.
You are recommended to combine your trip with a short stop at the nearby Yahiko Shrine.