Eastern Japan is best experienced through seasons, and one of the most colorful is autumn. Due to its numerous mountains and long geography from north to south, autumn in Eastern Japan can be enjoyed from late September until late November. Here are some places best visited in autumn, when the scenery is set ablaze with vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow!

Nagano / Niigata

1 Togakushi

Viewing period: early ~ mid-October
At an elevation of 1,280m, Togakushi has plenty of natural beauty, and is a great escape from the city. Enjoy a relaxed countryside atmosphere and scenic views. Be sure to stroll through the mystical cedar-lined paths and to Kagamiike Pond!

2 Kamikochi

Viewing period: mid ~ late October
A beautifully pristine mountainous highland area, Kamikochi’s remoteness does not deter travelers from seeking its exceptional natural beauty, with the majestic Japanese Alps as the background! Private cars are banned, so the only way to reach is by bus or registered taxis.

3 Yahiko Maple Valley

Viewing period: late October ~ mid-November
Turning a fiery red in autumn, the numerous maple trees create a stunning scene along with the streams and bright vermillion Kantsuki Bridge. You can also enjoy a different view in the evening, during the night illuminations.
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Southern Tohoku

1 Naruko Gorge

(Bus operates only during autumn leaves period)
Viewing period: late October ~ early November
One of Japan's most stunning gorges, Naruko Gorge is often voted by locals as the region's best place for viewing autumn colors. The gorge is located between Naruko Onsen Station and Nakayamadaira Onsen Station, and is accessible by foot in 30-min from either station, or by bus from Naruko Onsen Station during the autumn season.

2 Urabandai Highlands

Viewing period: early ~ mid-October
Take a drive along the Bandai-Azuma Lake Line and enjoy spectacular panoramic views over the highlands and gorges. After the drive, take a hike along the Goshikinuma Walk and admire the glistening waters of the many colored ponds along the flat, easy-to-walk trail.

Northern Tohoku

3 Geibikei

Viewing period: mid ~ late October
Hop on a 90-min boat ride down the river and soak in the gorge’s gorgeous autumn colors and imposing stone cliffs while being serenaded by the lively boatmen! Try your luck at casting lucky stones into the hole in the cliff!

4 Mt Hachimantai

Viewing period: early ~ October
One of the earliest places on mainland Japan to change colors, be entranced by the panorama of reds, oranges and yellows at Mt. Hachimantai.

5 Mt Hakkoda

Bus is covered by JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area)
Viewing period: early ~ mid-October
Take in an expansive and panoramic view along the ropeway of Mt. Hakkoda!

6 Kakunodate Samurai Residences

Viewing period: late October ~ mid-November
From late October to mid-November, the vibrant autumn hues make this street of old samurai residences even more stunning. Some houses are open for public viewing, so be transported to the past and take a peek at how the samurai used to live!

7 Oirase Keiryu / Lake Towada

Bus is covered by JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area)
Viewing period: mid ~ late October
Enjoy magnificent autumn foliage along this picturesque 14km mountain stream flowing out of Lake Towada! While the dynamic views and ambience are best enjoyed hiking, buses run parallel to the walking path, so you can bring along young children and the elderly to enjoy the captivating sights as well.
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