Aichi is one my favorite destinations in the Chubu region. It is a prefecture, comprises of 38 (thirty eight) cities of which Nagoya is the capital city. If I only say it as an average place to see fall colors in Japan then I would be such a good liar that you would mad at me, especially if you are one of the locals. Seriously, I don’t want this tag on my back! Rather I would say it as an incredible and unbelievable place to hunt for momijigari. The reason behind this is nothing but something that you experience in spring. And yeah you love it! Can you figure it out anyway? A hint for you, let’s say this “My friend, Hiro wants to take an apartment reservation for a month from SAKURA House”. Have you got the clue? Maybe you have got it, Congratulations! If you have not figured it out then read the next sentences thoroughly.
SAKURA, the cherry blossom is the symbol of spring in Japan. It is not a lie that you can experience sakura in October in Obara, Aichi. The plus point is that you are going to go to see an unbelievable scene featuring both autumn leaves and cherry blossoms at the same time, how good is that! There is no need to find the cause of it instead think yourself as a lucky person and give thanks to Aichi’s unique nature. Most of the people don’t have time for visiting Japan twice in a year. In that case, sometimes they prefer coming here either in spring or in autumn. How poor! They have to give up one thing to get the other. However, your problem ends right here in Aichi prefecture. Please wait on until I reveal everything about Aichi’s colorful fall season.
What is the best time to see Autumn Foliage in Aichi?
Not all the deciduous trees found on the grounds of different fall color spots in Aichi get vividly colored at the same time. Usually, northern part of Aichi offers you to discover early fall colors than rest of the other areas. You can check out the Japan Autumn Foliage Forecast 2016 to get the estimated fall color time.
Although the season usually starts from at the end of October through early November, I highly recommend you to get there in mid-November. Yes, anyone who is willing to visit the top fall foliage spots located in Aichi should arrive here in mid to late-November as it is said to be the prime time. Don’t forget that the peak period varies somewhat from year to year.
Where to see Fall Colors in Aichi?
Sightseeing areas in Aichi are fabulous to roam around. Its historic landmarks have fascinated me with the seasonal beauty of the four seasons. For example, Nagoya castle, it looks very impressive during the hanami season. Though visiting it in the fall will not disappoint you. The place gets full of crowed when cherry trees on its ground are in full glory. However, I have to introduce you the top fall foliage spots that I have experienced in Aichi over time.
1) Korankei Valley/Gorge: A Hidden gem of Aichi
Korankei valley/gorge is one of the most famous places to see autumn colors in Aichi prefecture. But when it comes to taking about the best place to go for experiencing fall colors in Asuke then it dominates the most. There is nothing to beat her in terms of autumn beauty. It is ablaze with colors in autumn! Ask someone who resides in Nagoya and he/she tells you the same. The valley is located in the Asuke district of the Toyota city in Aichi prefecture. It runs along the Tomoe River. When people think of visiting it in the fall, first they think of its deciduous trees that offer breathtaking autumn scenery. There are approximately 4,000 maple trees including some giant ginkgo trees.
Korankei is full of treasures; it is overflowing with the colors of autumn. I believe it is the perfect place to find peace. The paths are wonderful there; every step of yours would delight you for sure. Most of the visitors like walking along the trails in the valley and enjoy its scenic beauty. But what impresses me most about the Krankei valley is the Taigetsukyo Bridge. It is a beautiful bridge over the Tomoe River that looks pretty nice to look at with the surrounding fall foliage. This is my favorite spot for hunting momijigari here, at the same time it is impressive looking at the Tomoe River from it. I want you cross the bridge and enjoy the surrounding colored scenery.
A day trip to Korankei offers you various ways of enjoying it. It is not only about just viewing the maple leaves here rather there are other must do things that include the Korankei Momiji Matsuri, the Sanshu Asuke Yashiki Village, Asuke Castle, the walking trails around the Mt. Iimori, and Koujaku-ji temple (an ancient Buddhist temple). The entire month of November is said to be the best time to see fall colors here though I recommend you to get there in mid-November. Every time I went there during that period of time, I saw magnificent autumn foliage there. A unique feature that you could observe here is the Illuminated colored trees in the evening, from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
To avoid the crowds and heavy traffic jams, I suggest you to get up very early in the morning and set off your journey as early as possible. You should stay overnight in Toyohashi city. Also try not to pay a visit to this place during the weekend (applicable for temporary foreign visitors). Please note that there is no direct train access from Nagoya to Korankei. If you are coming from Nagoya station then get off at Higashi Okazaki Station and then take the local bus to Korankei valley.
Obara: The Wonder of Aichi
Whether you believe me or not that I experienced a stunning scene highlighting both cherry blossoms and autumn leaves in Obara town. The first time I saw such a lovely unforgettable view, really I was very surprised and stunned though it was not an unexpected view as I knew I would see such a thing before I left my home town to Obara. The view of the white sakura against the backdrop of colored maple leaves took my soul to another planet. It was just unbelievable but nothing! Do you want to see it in real life? View of autumn leaf in spring is a wrong anticipation while cherry blossom in autumn could be expected. And only Obara’s unique nature makes it happen. Probably it is the most unrevealed magic in the world performed by the mother of nature. What you see here is a wonder but it is no wonder that Obara attracts thousands of tourists during the month of November.
In Japan, there are many varieties of cherry blossoms we see as spring rolls in. You can check out the 10 most the most popular sakura varieties of Japan if you are not familiar with them. The sakura variety that blooms in autumn in Obara is called Shikizakura (four season cherry blossom). It blooms twice in a year, once in spring and again in fall (end of October). This sakura varity is crossed between the mamezakura and edohigan species of cherry trees. Its petals are similar to the famous sakura variety – Somei Yoshino. They can be seen even in early December and that is why they are often called as winter cherry blossoms as well. Please note that, currently around 10,000 Shikizakura trees can be found across Obara.
If you want to see stunning autumn colors along with shikizakura in Obara district then head to Obara Fureai Park and Senmi Shikizakura no sato. These are said to be the best place to experience them thoroughly. Let your feelings be dazzled by the sights of vibrant colors of red and light pink. Enjoy your every moment walking through the paths. In addition, you should get to Washi no Furusato (Japanese Paper Art Museum), Ichiba Castle Ruins, and Maebora no Shikizakura. On the day I visited Obara, I was completely alone, I had no friends with me, though I had the pleasure of spending time with nature that I thought to be my dearest friend at the time. Don’t you forget that Obara is one of the best photo-shooting spots in Toyota city especially in spring and autumn! Good luck guys!
Mount Horaiji: Hikers’ paradise
Horaijisan (Mt. Horaiji) is the place of scenic beauty and a perfect hiking destination in Aichi, located in eastern part of it and north of Shinshiro. The mountain has been a designated Important Natural Monument of Japan. The mountain peak rises 695 meters above sea level. If you like hiking and know some basic hiking techniques then you should take this challenge of climbing it. I think, the point of coming to this place is to enjoy a hiking adventure along with viewing autumn foliage on the way to the summit as well as visiting Horaiji temple. In addition, you can notice the Japanese scops owls unique hooting. How impressive! Please note that Mt. Horaiji is said to be the home of these owls.
Horaiji temple is located near the top of the mountain and surrounded by virgin forests. It was built in 702 by the hermit Rishu and said to be one of the oldest Buddhist temples in central Japan. The way up to the temple ground features about 1,452 stone steps lined with giant cedar trees. It is just awesome hiking through these steps; please enjoy the surrounding landscapes on way up to the temple. Discover the temple buildings and rest of the structures before you decent from it. Best time for viewing autumn leaves here is in mid-November.
Tokugawaen: A Peaceful Japanese Landscape Garden
Tokugawaen is a beautiful Japanese landscape garden with a large pond at its center, several wooden bridges and various kinds of plants. I think Tokugawaen is the most venerated Japanese landscape garden in Nagoya city. Everything is thoughtfully designed that makes the garden so beautiful and peaceful. My favorite thing about autumn is viewing fall foliage while walking along the trails of garden, park or mountains slope.
This is the ideal place for taking a leisurely stroll along the garden trails in the fall season. The area around the park burst with colorful leaves in late-November. It’s magical here and I highly recommend this place to visit if you are looking to see a beautiful Japanese landscape garden in Nagoya. In addition, when you pay a visit to this garden, make sure you don’t miss exploring the Tokugawa Art Museum. The museum is located next to the garden!
Inuyama is a lovely city, located north of Nagoya city and mostly famed for its small original castle called Inuyama Castle. On the castle grounds, impressive cherry blossoms display in spring is a typical scene. In Japan, one of the best parts of discovering new culture is visiting the historic buildings such as castle, temples & shrine. If you are craving a classic castle tour experience in Japan then head to Inuyama Castle, it is a must see place even in autumn.
Inuyama offers you an ideal place to enjoy the fall. It is called Jakkoin Temple, pretty nice to look at the surrounding nature when deciduous leaves of the trees start changing their colors. Your next destination would be Momotaro Shrine; it is located not far from Jakkoin Temple. Fall colors here is breathtaking and you can experience it throughout the month of November. You will be encountering the strange characters statues from the popular Japanese Momotaro (Peach Boy) folk tale. They are all scattered on the shrine grounds. Some of the statues I have encountered there were really horrific, they could horrify you, so be aware!
Nagoya’s Top Fall Foliage Spots
Nagoya is colorful! Its picturesque autumn attractions have blown my mind! They are easy to access from every corner of the city. These places won’t just let you enjoy autumn leaves but much more than that. For example, the Meijo Park, you can take a leisurely stroll along the walking trails and enjoy the majestic view of Nagoya Castle. If you are searching for an ideal place to have an outdoor picnic party then you think of this one. Shirotori garden offers the same opportunity just like the Meijo Park. Here, you can spot the Japanese colorful Koi fishes in the pond, anyway it’s delightful. In addition, you can try some green tea with Japanese confectionery from the tea house located inside the garden area.
If you are looking for some ideas on things to do in Nagoya with kids then I could recommend one place which in fact is great to visit all year round. That’s Higashiyama Park Zoo & Botanical Gardens. This is a huge park comprises a zoo. On weekends, you will see parents gather here with their kids and have a fun time together. One of the coolest things you could do here is you have your photo taken with animals. Please note that you are not allowed to feed them. When I was exploring the botanical gardens I noticed that there were about 5,500 species of plants and I was stunned seeing some plants which were unknown to me before!
Apart from visiting all these places described above, I want you to visit Nishio Castle, Iwayado Park, Jokoji temple, and Fumonji temple. These are worth visiting during the fall season.
Welcome to Aichi and Enjoy its Fall Colors!
Experiencing a leaf peeping day trip through hiking or just walking along the designated trails could be possible not only in Aichi but other parts of Japan as well such as in Hokkaido, Kyoto, Kamakura, Tokyo, and Tohoku. When it comes to viewing sakura and fall foliage together at the same time is totally exclusive and classy. Only Aichi has it! This is the special hidden gem that Aichi offers you. A trip to Aichi during fall will not be complete without viewing beautiful display of stunning white-pink sakura together with colorful fall leaves.
I don’t know how this post would impact on your next trip to Japan. Have you missed this year hanami season in Japan? If you have then, pack your things, search for flights to Nagoya, buy Japan rail pass, book your hotel room, and finally make a flexible suggested itinerary for your Aichi trip. Prepare to be blown away by the Aichi’s rich history, incredible architectures, outdoor activities, events, delicious local specialties, adventurous fun, shopping and beautiful nature. Kyoto is a very crowded place to hunt momijigari. In comparison with it, Aichi is less crowded but colors are similar! So why are you waiting for? Come and get some. Thanks for reading!
Copyright 2016 @ takkhis