10 Beautiful Places to See Autumn Leaves in Fukushima This Year

Fukushima Prefecture is packed with such a variety of amazing scenic spots. It goes without saying that there is lots to see during the momiji (autumn-leaf viewing) season!

I have compiled a list of 10 of my recommended spots for autumn-leaf viewing, based on places I have been to, and those I can’t wait to explore! I hope you find it useful.

Aizu Area

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1. Goshiki-numa Ponds (Kitashiobara Village)

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Go on a relaxing hike with friends, or rent a rowboat with that special someone! The five-coloured ponds of Goshiki-numa are some of my favourite places in Fukushima and the bright blue of their waters looks fantastic in the autumn time.

  • Best time to visit: Mid Oct – Early Nov
  • Getting There:
    • Public transport: Take a bus from Inawashiro Station to Urabandai Kogen Eki bus stop
    • Car: 30 mins from the Inawashiro IC Exit that comes off the Ban Etsu Highway
  • More information here!

2. Shingu Kumano Shrine Nagatoko (Kitakata City)

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This Kumano Shrine was built over 1000 years ago, and is towered over by an absolutely breath-taking ginkgo tree. In Mid-November, the leaves of this ancient ginkgo tree cover the shrine grounds, making for some absolutely beautiful scenery. I also recommend going to see the shrine when it is lit up in the evening.

  • Best time to visit: Mid Nov – Late Nov
  • Getting There:
    • Public transport: 10 minutes by taxi from Kitakata Station
    • Car: Take the Ban Etsu Highway and get off at Aizu Wakamatsu IC. From there, it would take around 20 minutes to reach the shrine.
  • More information here!

3. Enzoji Temple (Yanaizu Town)

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Enzoji Temple was constructed in the year 807 and stands on the edge of a crag overlooking the Tadami River. It is a special place for people in Fukushima, as it is where the legends surrounding the Akabeko – Fukushima’s most famous symbol – were born.

  • Getting There
    • By public transport: Take the Tadami Line train from Aizu Wakamatsu Station to Aizu Yanaizu Station. From the station, the temple is a 7 minute walk!
    • By car: Take the Ban Etsu Highway, and get off at Aizu Bange IC Exit. From there, Enzoji is around a 10 minute drive.
  • More information here!

Naka-dori Area

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4. Mt Adatara (Nihonmatsu City)

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A great place to go hiking in the autumn time. You are certainly rewarded with spectacular views once you get to the peak. For those who aren’t so keen on hiking, there is a cable car which cuts out a lot of the climbing.

  • Best time to Visit: Late Sep – Mid Oct
  • Getting there:
    • Public transport: Take a bus from Nihonamtsu Station or Dake Onsen, to Oku Dake, where you can start your hike! Seasonal buses run this year (2017) between October 1 and November 5. The last bus of the day leaves Oku Dake bus stop at 15:30.
    • Car: Take the Tohoku Highway, get off at Nihonmatsu IC. From there, it is a 20 minute drive to the Adatarayama Ropeway

5. Yukiwari Bridge (Nishigo Village)

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The observation point that looks over Yukiwari Bridge shouldn’t be missed this autumn! I haven’t been here yet, but am looking forward to putting it on this year’s places to go for Momiji (Autumn leaf viewing).

  • When to Visit: Mid Oct – Early Nov
  • Getting There
    • By car: Around 20 minutes from the Tohoku Highway Shirakawa IC Exit
    • By public transport: Take a train (or Shinkansen) to Shin-Shirakawa Station. Get a bus from outside the station heading to Kogen Hotel Mae (高原ホテル前) . Get off at the stop 由井ヶ原, and from there, the view point is a 15 minute walk. (Be careful, because the last buses finishes soon after 16:30!)

6. Bandai Azuma Skyline (Fukushima City)

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The Bandai Azuma Skyline winds from central Fukushima up to Jododaira Rest House and Mt Azuma Ko-Fuji, before reaching all the way to the very retro Tsuchiyu Onsen town, providing drivers and passengers with brilliant views the whole way during autumn. The road get a little crowded during peak autumn leaf viewing time – so bear this in mind when planning your travels!

  • Best time to Visit: Early Oct – Late Oct
  • Getting There
    • Public transport: During Autumn Leaf season, there are daily buses between Fukushima Station and Jododaira. See the time table here.
    • Car: There are plenty of view points near Jododaira Rest House, a scenic 30km drive from Fukushima Station.
  • More information here!

7. Ja no Hana Japanese Garden (Motomiya City)

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Ja no Hana is a very picturesque Japanese garden that is filled with colour and energy in late October. A great place for relaxing whilst appreciating 2 integral aspects of Japanese culture – Japanese gardens, and autumn leaf viewing!

  • Best Time to Visit: Late Oct – Mid Nov
  • Getting There
    • Public transport: a 10 minute taxi ride from Motomiya Station
    • Car: Get off the Tohoku Highway at Motomiya IC. From there, the garden is a 10 minute drive.

Hama-dori Area

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8. Nakakamado Weeping Maple Tree (Iwaki City)

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A really uniquely shaped weeping maple tree. The colours of the Nakakamado tree vary year to year, but hopefully this year the leaves will be bright orange! Located near a temple, Nakakamado is in a very scenic spot, perfect for taking photos.

  • Best time to visit: Late Nov – Early Dec
  • Getting There
    • Public transport: A 10 minute taxi ride from Izumi Station
    • Car: Take the Ban Etsu Highway, get off at Iwaki Yumoto IC – from where it is a 15 minute drive.

9. Shiramizu Amida-do (Iwaki City)

shiramizu-3Fukushima’s National Treasure, Shiramizu Amida-do! Whether lit up at night or appreciated in the middle of the day, Shiramizu Amida-do is especially beautiful during autumn.

  • Best time to Visit: Early Nov – Late Nov
  • Getting There:
    • Public transport: Take the JR Joban Line to Iwaki Station. From there, take a bus heading for Kawahira (川平) and get off at the Amida-do Bus Stop (あみだ堂バス停). From there, it is a 5 minute walk.
    • Car: Take the Ban Etsu Highway, get off at Iwaki Yumoto IC – from where it is a 15 minute drive.
  • More information here!

10. Natsui River Vallery (Iwaki City)

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Finally, for those who feel like getting close to nature and going on a bit of an adventure, how about exploring around Natsui River Valley? This is another autumn leaf spot which is definitely on my to-visit list.

  • Best time to visit: Late Oct – Mid Nov
  • Getting There
    • Public transport: 30 minute walk from Eda Station on the JR Ban Etsu East Line
    • Car: 20 km from the Iwaki Chuo IC Exit on the Ban Etsu Highway
  • More information here!

The map below shows all of the spots I have showcased in this article, and I will be updating it to include other spots around the prefecture in the coming weeks! Enjoy planning your trips!

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