The Colors of Japanese Autumn
Autumn has arrived with its characteristic climate – morning chill and mild temperatures for the rest of the day – its colorful foliage comes out in valleys and mountains all over the Japanese Archipelago. It is in this atmosphere that JP Guide presents eight tourist sites that will fill with joy and brightness the eyes of our readers. See more about Towada, crater lake in northern Japan, Oze, which is a swamp of Gunma, and also the Tateyama Kurobe route, which cuts through the Japanese Alps between Toyama and Nagano, through tunnels and a dam. Enjoy it!
Towada is one of Japan’s largest crater lakes, located on the border of the Aomori and Akita provinces. It is 400 meters high. It extends through an almost circular area of about 61 square kilometers and has two peninsulas. It is one of the most popular tourist spots in the region mainly in the fall.
Before the period before winter, the cold has arrived in the mornings and the low temperatures cause a show of colors of nature. The thin layer of mist mixes the foliage that begins to acquire a predominantly red and yellow coloration. Due to the depth of 327 meters of the Towada, the hue of its water is a splendid blue.
The best way to go to the lake is by boat. Two vessels cover two different routes. The total ride time, round trip, is 100 minutes between Yasumiya (休 屋) and Nenokuchi (子 ノ 口). Adults pay 1,400 yen and the cost for children under 12 is 700 yen. The only restriction is that the ships operate until the middle of November, when the cold is intense in the region.
A road around the lake, past several viewing platforms with wonderful panoramic views of autumn. Also, at Yasumiya point, the Tohoku – Otome Statue of Maidens (乙 女 の 像) was built to commemorate the conversion of the region into a natural preservation reserve of Japan.
Address: 〒018-5501 Aomori Ken Towada Shi Okuse Towadakohanyasumiya 486 (青森 県 十 和田 和田 和田 和田 湖畔 休 屋 486)
Access: Via the express highway Tohoku (東北 自動 車道) go in direction to the toll Towada (高速 十 和田 I.C.). From there, proceed by route 103 to destination. The journey time from the exit of the Towada toll is approximately 44 minutes.
2- Nikko (日光
The autumn season in Nikko starts at the highest parts of Okunikko (奥 日光), passes through Lake Chuzenji (中 禅寺 湖) and reaches the city that is in a valley region. Because of the altitude variation, causing consequently temperature swings, visitors can appreciate the color change in the foliage over a long period, usually between mid-October and mid-November.
Undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist spots in the region is Irohazaka Winding Road (い ろ は 坂). It is a way of Route 120 divided into two single-way parts – up and down – between the town of Nikko and the region around Lake Chuzenji. There are almost 16 kilometers of winding sections with 48 turns. At the highest point of Irohazaka it is possible to leave the car in the parking lot and go to the Akechidaira (明智 平 展望 mir), a lookout point by a cable car. The round trip ticket costs adults 730 yen. Children up to 12 years pay the same route 370 yen. From there, visitors will have a privileged view of the whole locality. In addition to the lake, it is possible to see the temples, waterfalls and the plateau of Senjogahara (戦 場 ヶ 原), which looks, in autumn, with a large natural and colorful carpet.
Address: 〒321-1261 Tochigi Ken Nikko Shi Imaichi 717-1 (栃 木 県 日光 市 今 今 717-1)
Access: Through the express highway Tohoku (東北 自動 車道) follow up to the Utsunomiya toll (宇 都 宮 料 金 所 I.C.). Then follow the Nikko Utsunomiya route (日 光宇 都 宮 道路) towards route 121 and 120. The various sights are located along the route from the exit of the express highway Tohoku.
The Oze National Park is located about 150 kilometers north of the Japanese capital and at 1400 meters altitude. It has two natural areas. The Ozegahara is a swamp. And Ozenuma is a lake. The two reserves of environmental preservation are surrounded by mountains that are part of the region that covers four provinces. Much of Oze is in Gunma and Fukushima. It is heavily visited, especially in the fall when a typical color explosion of the period occurs.
The place is ideal for those who enjoy hiking. The trails are preserved and very well signposted. They start in one of the mountains and end in the other. The course can be done in eight hours. The route that passes through the marsh and the lake is made on wooden decks. Slopes is not accentuated. It is possible to spend the night in cabins. Accommodations must be booked in advance and prices vary greatly. In autumn, the grass that covers the park becomes reddish and yellowish.
Address: 〒378-0411 Gunma Ken Tone Gun Katashina Mura Tokura (群 馬 県 利 利 郡 片 品 戸 戸 倉)
Access: From Numata Station (沼 田) of Line JR Joetsu (上 越 線) depart bus to Hatomachitoge track (鳩 待 峠), which is the nearest swamp, also ideal for beginners and for those who are unaware of the way. The ticket costs 980 yen. Private cars are prohibited from driving through the nature reserve.
The Tateyama Kurobe is a route made up of several routes connected by various means of transport such as buses, cable cars, trams and even trolleybuses. It was built in 1971 and traverses the northern Alps of Japan, linking the cities of Toyama in Toyama province and Omachi in Nagano. It is one of the few places in the Archipelago where it is possible to appreciate the typical change in the coloring of autumn foliage until the middle of November.
The highest point along the route is Murodo (室 堂), about 2,450 meters of altitude. After a short bus ride, visitors can walk through several trails leading to the belvedere. From there, it is possible to enjoy the huge autumn colored “carpet” that seems to descend to the lowest point around the Kurobe dam (黒 部 ダ ム). In the Tateyama Ropeway section (立 山 プ プ プ ウ ェ イ), it is noticed that the colors of autumn arrive also in the region of the valleys, between the mountains. The sections of tunnels are connected by trolley buses.
Crossing the Tateyama Kurobe Alpen Route, from end to end, using all means of transport will cost, for children from 6 years old to 11 years, 5,430 yen. Over 12 years, the cost rises to 10,850 yen. There is the round trip from Tateyama station (立 山 駅) of the Toyama Chihou Tetsudo railway company (富山 地方 鉄 道). And also from Ogizawa (荻 沢), point already in the province of Nagano. Visitors have accommodation in hotels, mountain huts and campsites available along the route, mainly around Murodo. The prices of the daily are varied.
Address: 〒930-1405 Toyama Ken Nakanikawa Gun Tateyama Cho Senjugahara (富山 県 中 新 川 立 山 町 千寿 ヶ 原)
Phone: 076-481-1145 and 0261-22-2526
Access: It is worth to visit Tateyama Kurobe Alpen Route through the province of Toyama. For this, the best option is to start from Toyama station of Japan Railways JR (富山 駅). From there, trains leave for Tateyama Station (立 山 駅) of Toyama Chihou Tetsudo (富山 地方 鉄 道), the starting point that leads to the tourist site.
Showa Memorial is a park that is about an hour west of Tokyo in the city of Tachikawa. It was inaugurated in 1983, within the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the reign of Emperor Hirohito. It’s a good place to take kids who can play all day. It is also quite frequented in autumn, when it gains vibrant colors.
Showa Memorial Park is comprised of many trails, huge variety of themed gardens, fountains, canals, woods and even an area where a popular Japanese village was recreated. To travel a good part of the tourist point it is recommended to use bicycles that can be rented on site. The park also has restaurants, cafes and restrooms available to the public. The facilities were also suitable for wheelchair users.
For tickets, children under 12 pay 80 yen. From then on, the ticket costs 410 yen. The cost for people over 65 is 210 yen. There are discounts for groups of more than 20 people.
Address: 〒190-0014 Tokyo To Tachikawa Shi Midori Cho 3173 (東京 都 立 川 市 緑 町 3173)
Access: The best way to access the site is by train. The park is only a 10-minute walk from Tachikawa Station (立 川 駅), crossed by Japan Railways JR’s Chuo (中央 本 linha) line.
The Nara Park was established in 1880 and is currently run by the provincial government of Nara. In its area of 660 hectares, there are several temples, an old tea house, serving the traditional drink accompanied by the typical Japanese sweets wagashi (和 菓子), dozens of themed gardens and even a cultural repository. Shosoin (正 倉 院) holds more than eight thousand valuable and ancient items such as statues, manuscripts, ornaments, furniture and clothing that are always exhibited in autumn at the National Museum of Nara (奈良 国立 博物館).
It is worth to cover part of the park area over a jinrikisha (人力車). A 30-minute ride in the old Japanese mode of transportation pulled by a driver costs 8,000 yen for two people.
However, the main attraction of the tourist site is the more than 1.2 thousand deer that are raised loose by the park. According to legend, the gods used the animals as a mount. Therefore, they were considered sacred. The deer lost religious honor through a decree issued by the American Government of Occupation after World War II, which prohibited idolatry to Japanese symbols. Currently, the animals are protected by law.
Address: 〒630-8211 Nara Ken Nara Shi Zoshi Cho 469 (奈良 県 奈良 市 雑 司 町 469)
Access: Nara Park is a 5-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station (近 鉄 奈良 駅) or about a 20-minute walk from JR Nara Station (奈良 JR 駅). From the stations, several bus lines run through the park.
7- Autumn Festival of Fuji Kawaguchi Lake (富士 河口湖 紅葉 ま つ り)
The Fall Festival of Fuji Kawaguchi Lake is held between the end of October and mid-November. The public that attend the festival comes with an exclusive motivation: to know the Corridor of Bordos, also known like Maple Corridor (紅葉 回廊), a mall of about 150 meters where in parallel, runs an intermittent river. It is worth strolling through the tourist spot at night. The trees receive special lighting, highlighting all the color of the leaves.
In parallel, there are several events such as musical presentations. Restaurants and cafes prepare drinks and meals compatible with the arrival of the colorful period. Craft workshops hold workshops and shops in general practice various promotions. Around the lake, in addition to themed gardens, people can enjoy boating or simply walking on short trails, watching the fall foliage.
Address: 〒401-0304 Yamanashi Ken Minamitsuru Gun Fuji Kawaguchi Ko Machi Kawaguchi (山 梨 県 南 留 郡 富士 河口湖 町 河口)
Access: Via the expressway Chuo (中央 自動 車道) follow to the Kawaguchi toll (高速 河口湖 I.C.). Afterwards, continue along routes 139, 707, 137 and 21. From the toll to the location, the time to cover the route is only 13 minutes.
8- Mount Koya in Wakayama Province (和 歌 山 県 高 野山)
Mount Koya is one of the most sacred sites for Buddhism. It was here that a small, isolated village – now a relatively structured town – emerged that became a pilgrimage spot. The place is the starting point and arrival for a pilgrimage that passes through 88 temples and other sacred points of this oriental religion. In the place, surrounded by woods, the remains of the master Kobo Daishi, introducer of important religious concepts that guided the sect, are also deposited in a mausoleum.
However, what attracts people most to the local wilderness is the nature that forms in the fall. Mount Koya dresses majestically in red and yellow “blankets”. This is the impression that visitors feel with the change in the colors of the foliage of the typical time of year. In addition, the public can enjoy the lifestyle of the monks, savoring vegetarian cuisine, participating in the prayers or even, accompany the movement of the pilgrims who leave and arrive at the sacred mountain. On clear nights, the colored leaves gain more life in the moonlight. All this wrapped in a climate of peace and silence.
Address: 〒648-0211 Wakayama Ken Ito Gun Takano Cho Koyasan (和 歌 山 県 高 野 町 高 野山)
Access: Through the expressway Kyoto Naritai (京 奈 和 自動 車道) follow up to the Hashimoto toll (橋本 I.C.). After that, continue along the routes 371, 370, 480 and 53. From the toll to the place, the time to cover the route is about one hour.