STORY Tips on Red Leaves Hidden Spots Shared by Those Who Know! by JNTO on 27 August 2019

In Japan, mountains, forests, gardens, and even paths are dyed bright red or yellow by the colours of the maple leaves in autumn. Nikko and Hakone are, undoubtedly, classic red leaves spots in the Kanto region. However, this time we would like to introduce something more you will be interested in!



The Best Travelling Season for the Colours of Red Leaves and Maples!What is Japan’s Autumn like?


The four seasons in Japan are all discernibly beautiful. Yet, autumn, around September to November after the stuffy and hot summer, is commonly associated with reduced amounts of exercise and less appetite. Tokyo’s average temperatures in September and October fall to between around 18 and 23 degree Celsius (※ average from 2015-18); it is likely to get a little cold in the morning and at night, butgenerally you can still enjoy the day with just a long-sleeve T-shirt. And, autumn is attractive because of the red leaves! It refers to the changing of colours from green to red or yellow of the falling leaves of many trees such as ginko, which is also a typical autumn’s element in Japan.
It usually takes place around late Nov to early Dec in Tokyo city, and a bit earlier from late Oct to early Nov in higher mountains, Tohoku and Hokkaido regions.


Stunning Views of Castles Surrounded by Red Leaves!Recommended Mountain Castle Spots


Castles built in mountains are called “Yamajiro” in Japan. There is a large number of Yamajiro in Japan, and pictures of them being surrounded by seas of red leavesare certainly worth admiring at and Instagrammable. Here are three recommendations of the mountain castles spots for red leaves.


1) Gujohachimanjo Castle in Gifu



It lies in the mountains in Nagaragawa of Gifu prefecture, and is known as the oldest wooden castle in Japan. It looks fascinatingly good with the bright reddish colours of autumn leaves. The contrast between the red and the white of the Tenshu tower lit by the spot lights at early-November nights is splendid. The bird eye’s view of Gujohachiman city from the observatory deck at the Tenshu is absolutely stunning too.


2) Karasawayamajo Castle Remains in Tochigi



It is the castle that remains in Mt. Karasawa in the south of Tochigi prefecture with the highest altitude of 242 metres.The Karasawayama Shrine is built on the top of this mountain.
The best time to see it during the red leaves season is around late November, with beautiful colours of maples and other trees along the approach and mountain trails. Also, do not miss out the panoramic view of Kanto Hirano field at the peak!



3) Bicchumatsuyamajo Castle in Okayama



“Bicchumatsuyamajo Castle” is in Takahashi-city,Okayama prefecture; it is famous as a castle on clouds seen from midnight to around 8 in the morning from late September to early April.



It is one of the 3 top Yamajiros in Japan, and known as “the Yamajiro in the sky” for being mysterious when appears to be floating on clouds. The highlights of the spot are the bright red and yellow colours around the Tenshu tower, nearby by its castle gate, and the big trees on its stone walls. The contrast between the rocky colour of the castle wall and the red leaves are simply worth admiring at. The pathway to the Nijuyafura is particularly breathtaking when it is embraced by the deep red colour of maple trees.
Red leaves in Bicchumatsuyamajo Castle is extremely gorgeous, which was touched on in a JAPAN by Japan previous article.


Visiting in Red Leaves Season! Recommended Waterfalls and Mountains


The view of the striking contrast between the colours of red leaves and water is highly recommended. The waterfall at “Shomyoji” in Toyama is the highest fall in Japan and “Mt. Wakakusayama” is right next to Nara Park. They are great to visit during the red leaves season!


1) Shomyodaki




It is a 350-metres waterfall located in Tateyama-machi, Nakaniikawa-gun in Toyama prefecture with massive water flows and impressive beautiful splashes. During red leaves season, the waterfall will be surrounded by red and yellow colours, and the scenic view reminds you of the beautiful paintings in the art galleries! This red leaves spot is best to visit in late October.


2) Mt. Wakayama



The 342-metres high mountain is located in the east of Nara Park. The number of trees may be relatively smaller, but there are maples and silver grass deep in the mountain, providing visitors the panoramic view of Nara in the autumn colors. It is close to Todaiji and Kasugataisha shrine within walkable distances, and the best time of visiting is from mid-November to early December.

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