Check out the following recommended spots to enjoy the painting-like autumn landscapes in Tohoku, which can take your breath away.
1. Lake Towada – Aomori Prefecture
Lake Towada is a volcanic crater lake formed naturally from eruptive activities in the past. The lake is 327 metres in depth, making it the fourth deepest lake in Japan.
The surrounding area turns red and yellow in autumn, contrasting the blue colour of the surface. From Kankodai or Hakka Toge Viewpoint, one can see the full panoramic view of Lake Towada and the area. It is also recommended to boat around the lake to enjoy it to the fullest. Canoeing and kayaking are available too.
2. Morioka Castle Site Park – Iwate Prefecture
Morioka Castle Site Park is recognised as one of Japan’s ‘100 Famous Castles’, as well Japan’s ‘Best 100 Historical Parks’. This is the place where one can enjoy stunning natural scenery every season, especially in autumn, when the granite stone walls are graced by crimson autumn leaves, creating a superb castle landscape.
Don’t forget to combine your visit with a quick stop to any nearby restaurant for Wanko Soba (soba noodles served in small bowls) or Morioka Jajamen (thin udon noodles served with meat miso).
3. Kakunodate Samurai Residences – Akita Prefecture
Kakunodate Samurai Residences area has a history of over 400 years. The quaint area has been well preserved and is said to be the same as it was in the past. People often praise the town scenery with cherry blossoms in spring. During the autumn leaves season, the contrast between black fences and reddish leaves is equally enchanting.
How about taking a leisure stroll around the streets in this area? Besides, they surely will look amazing when uploaded onto your social media platforms.
4. Lake Choro – Miyagi Prefecture
Lake Choro sits at the foot of Mount Fubo, part of the Zao Mountain Range. This beautiful lake is situated 500 metres above sea level and has a vertically long shape that is two kilometres in circumference. In autumn, the view of red autumn leaves from the surrounding mountains being reflected onto the azure water surface is breathtaking. You can enjoy the incredible autumn landscape on a boat, too. Only a few people know about this spot, so feel free to enjoy the beauty of nature by yourself.
While in this area, don’t forget to do swing by at Zao Fox Village, where you can encounter over 100 fluffy foxes roaming freely. Just remember not to touch them as they are semi-wild.
5. Jogi Nyorai Saihoji Temple – Sendai City
Saihoji Temple is one popular place in Sendai City for you to view autumn leaves. This is where one can enjoy the classic landscape of Japanese autumn foliage complete with a large pond, a five-storied pagoda, and a teahouse, making it definitely unmissable.
This area has an 800-year history, attracting many who wish for luck in marriage, matchmaking, and safe delivery. If you have spare time, it is recommended that you sit down to enjoy matcha and mildly sweet confections in the teahouse.
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6. Mogami River Boat Line Descent – Yamagata Prefecture
What better way to enjoy the majestic landscape of Mogami River canyon in Yamagata Prefecture other than getting on a boat to descend the river? During autumn, mountains on both riverbanks are dyed in orange and yellow. The view of that fall foliage reflecting on the surface of the water is truly memorable.
Throughout this 50-minute boat trip covering the route that is 12 kilometres long, you will come across three spots that are a bit challenging to get through but memorably thrilling. Enjoy a special voyage and feel overwhelmed by the magnificent scenery of the surroundings approaching from both banks. The boatmen will also entertain you with wistful Mogami River’s rafting songs.
7. Shingu Kumano Shrine Nagatoko – Fukushima Prefecture
The huge ginkgo tree in Kitakata City within Fukushima Prefecture that is popular for its ramen has been admired for being 30 metres in height, with trunk circumference of 8 metres, earning it the recognition as the city’s Natural Monument.
In autumn, the worship hall called Nagatoko is covered with a carpet of yellow leaves. On top of that, people illuminate the area at night during the autumn months. The scenery of the golden hue that radiates against darkness is definitely a sight to behold.
8. Dragondola Ropeway – Niigata Prefecture
Naeba Dragondola Ropeway, which is the longest ropeway in Japan, can be found in Niigata Prefecture. The total length is around 5.5 kilometres and takes 25 minutes to go up and down the mountains. During this trip, one will be able to view the valleys replete with autumn foliage in various gradations.
How about spending some hours here to do a round-trip from the foot of the mountain to its summit to adore the beauty of nature? Catch a panoramic view of Lake Futai that changes into different colours seasonally, or the viewpoint near pillar 14 that is said to be the best spot to take in the entire area while being on the gondola.
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