STORY Beautiful Reflections of Autumn Leaves on the Water! Viewing spots in Tohoku, Japan by JNTO on 03 October 2019
In the Tohoku region (northeastern Japan),autumn comes much sooner than other major sightseeing cities in its south, such as Tokyo or Osaka. Thus, visitors can enjoy many lovely autumn foliage spots in the region when the leaves begin to turn during the period of between mid-October and early November. In this article, we will introduce various locations which are worth visiting in autumn.
Naruko Kyo (Miyagi Prefecture)
Here, you can witness how Naruko Kyo transforms into a gorge encircled by distinct autumn leaf colours such as red, yellow, and orange.It is highly recommended to catch the finest autumn leaf viewing experience from the Narukokyo Resthouse. The view from its observation deck would be unforgettably fantastic. You will see the beautiful Ofukasawa Bridge that stands out from the autumn leaves.
If you are looking for a chance to post the finest photos on your social media, you can visit the observation decks located near the car park of the Ofukasawa Walking Trail. Here, you can feast your eyes with views at the gorge's height, which would be truly magnificent. Shin Nakayama Daira Walkway and Observatory with a splendid scenery of the gorge filled with steep rocks and trees is another popular viewing spot.
Naruko is also famous for its hot springs. Have a stay at a good hot spring inn to further delight your enjoyment.
- Naruko Kyo (Naruko Gorge)
- Address: Hoshinuma Naruko Onsen, Osaki, Miyagi
- Access: 10 minutes by taxi or car from JR Riku-East Line Naruko Onsen Station
Oirase Keiryu (Aomori Prefecture)
Oirase Keiryu is known as one of the most gorgeous river valleys in Japan because of its distinct beauties in each of the four seasons. It is especially famous for its painting-like foliage in autumn. In addition to dense green mosses, the leaves begin to change colour to red, yellow or orange from the end of October.
There are plenty of delights to enjoy in the area. First of all, you might want to plan your route so you can fully appreciate its natural environment with streams and waterfalls.
Two renowned streams of Oirase Keiryu are “Samidare no Nagare” and “Ashura no Nagare”. Samidare no Nagare can be divided into three distinct flows. It is also known for the blooming beauty of azaleas along the waters in summer. You can go upstream to visit Ashura no Nagare, which is beloved by visitors for its water flow striking the rock and making the stream shimmering white.
Let us also trek to two of Oirase Keiryu's most popular waterfalls after enjoying the amazing views of the streams. First up is Kumoi Waterfall, which is famous for the contrasting colours of the flows that look like white threads and the dark green of the dense forest. Next up is Choshi Otaki Waterfall. The fall is close to Kumoi waterfall and has been highlighted as one of the best places to take pictures of Oirase Keiryu, be it a green season or autumn.
- Oirase Keiryu kan
- Address: 183 Tochikubo, Okuse, Towada, Aomori
- Access: 80 minutes by bus from JR Hachinohe Line Hachinohe Station
- Opening hours: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Tsutanuma (Aomori Prefecture)
Tsutanuma is situated in the region of Oirase, and is one of the Tsuta Seven Lakes which also include Kagaminuma, Tsukinuma, Naganuma, Suganuma, Hyotan-numa, and Akanuma. It is often advertised in Japan as "a location which you want to visit at least once in your life".
A trail called “Numa Meguri no Komichi” around the Numa or marshes was made for visitors to admire the coloured leaves in the surrounding. You must now be thinking about the sceneries that you can find here. One of the most popular sceneries is the well-matched combination of the reflections of the sunrise and the autumn trees in water.
If you are an avid photography fan or even a social media platform user who every now and then posts pictures, this place is surely suitable for you to snap photogenic masterpieces. It will definitely be worth a night-up waiting for the right time to take a good shot of the marshes and colourful leaves and you are very likely to be amazed by the promising reward nature has to offer.
Apart from taking photos, you can also choose to go on a swamp-hopping trip around the six swamps or do some bird watching, if that is one of your hobbies. Do drop by this region, as each swamp has its own mysterious beauty awaiting you to discover.
- Address: Okuse, Towada, Aomori
- Access: at JR Hachinohe Line Hachinohe Station, take the JR bus bound for Towadako. Alight at Towadako onsenkyou, then take a taxi for 10 minutes.
Dakigaeri Keikoku (Akita Prefecture)
Dakigaeri Keikoku is beautifully coloured with the beauty of the mountain stream that shines in cobalt blue from mid-October to early November, making it a famous spot for autumn leaves.
Daikigaeri, literally means "to embrace and turn around" in Japanese, might sound a bit strange but there are many stories regarding it. This road used to be a mountain road, but it is usually said that the route was too narrow for people to pass each other smoothly. They had to hold each other, help each other to change their walking direction before they could proceed, hence the derivation of its name.
One of the most iconic representations of Dakigaeri Keikoku is the red suspension bridge known as “Kaminoiwahashi”. You can view the autumn leaves and the valley beautifully from there.
If you crave for even more attractive photos, you can choose to cross the Seigan Bridge. It is said that the scenery seen from the left edge of the bridge is the finest in the entire valley. Do not miss it out!
- Dakigaeri Keikoku
- Address: Tazawako Sotsuda, Semboku, Akita
- Access: 15 minutes by taxi or car from JR Kakunodate Station
- ※Free shuttle buses are available at JR Kakunodate Station during the Dakigaeri Autumn ⅼeaves Festival.