Where to see the fall foliage in Fukushima Prefecture? Fall in the Tohoku region at its best in mid-October and there are lots of scenic spots in the area where travelers of all ages would like to return each year to see gorgeous autumn foliage.

The prefecture is the 3rd biggest prefecture in Japan located in the south of the Tohoku region in the Northern part of Japan. Packed with impressive nature and wide variety of special local foods, Fukushima prefecture is a true autumn destination of the Japanese main island of Honshu.

Please note that from Tokyo by Shinkansen, it takes about 90 minutes to reach Fukushima. Looking for a fun, new way to experience the fall color in Fukushima? Rent a car, enjoy each the road trips and drive safely!

The timing of Japan’s fall colors varies from year to year and region to region. In Fukushima, the best period to see the colors is usually around mid-October, though it varies from ear to year. Viewing season can last between two weeks to over a month. The shift begins earlier in cooler years.

Here are eight of the best places to see fall colors in Fukushima:

1) Mount Adatara

Mt. Adatara fall foliage, Fukushima Prefecture. Photo Credit: Fukushima Prefecture.

Few places in Fukushima can compare to Mt. Adatara any time of the year, and this goes double for fall. Located in Nihonmatsu, Mt. Adatara is a stratovolcano 1,728 meters high. It is an active volcano, surrounded by hot springs and other signs of volcanic activity, though the mountain is closely monitored for signs of eruption and safety is paramount.

The best way to see the fall colors is to journey up the side of the mountain via the Mt. Adatara Ropeway. This tram journey is 10 minutes long and offers a wide scenic view of the mountainside. It costs 1,000 yen to take up (one way) and 1,700 yen for round trip. The last car returns at 4:20 PM. Once you reach the upper station, there is a short simple hike up to Yakushi Dake Peak, a popular photo and picnic spot.

You can make this your last destination before going back down the ropeway if you like, or you can continue up the mountain to Kurogane Goya Mountain Lodge, a rustic wooden lodge that has its own onsen (hot spring) bath and serves a famous curry to overnight visitors. The journey is lined with trees and in fall their colors are a spectacular sight.

To reach Mt. Adatara, you can a shuttle bus from Dake Onsen town and the Ropeway. These cost 300 yen each way and the trip lasts around 20 minutes. There is also a shuttle bus from Nihonmatsu Station that costs 500 yen and has a journey of 50 minutes.

2) Bandai Azuma Skyline

Bandai Azuma Skyline during autumn. Photo Credit: Fukushima Prefecture.

This sightseeing toll road runs Fukushima City’s Takayu Hot Springs to the Tsuchiyu Pass, with an average altitude of 1,350 meters. Along the way, there are panoramic views of a rugged, lush countryside that turns to red and gold in fall. It has been repeatedly selected as one of the 100 Best Roads in Japan.

You can get to the Bandai Azuma Skyline by car via a 30-minute drive from Fukushima-Nishi IC on Tohoku Expressway or a 40-minute drive from Fukushima-Iizaka IC on Tohoku Expressway. Either way, you will enter via Takayu Toll Gate. The road is closed starting in mid-November for the winter, meaning that you will be able to see its fall colors best in October and early November.

3) Yukiwari Bridge

Here is the iconic Yukiwari Bridge in fall and mountains in the background. Photo Credit: ​Shuichi Suzuki at tanoshimu-japan.com.

This unique bridge spans the Abukama River, towering 50 meters above the water. It is open to both pedestrians and cars. You can park on either side and visit the observation deck to see fall colors in all their splendor to both sides and even below. The trees frame iron bridge, bringing out the best in its red-orange hue. There are also many different onsens you can visit, many of which have very reasonable day-use fees.

The only way to reach Yukiwari Bridge is to drive. If you don’t have a car for your entire trip, you can rent one at the nearby Shin-Shirakawa Station, on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line, 85 minutes from Tokyo by Shinkansen. From Shin-Shirakawa station, the bridge is a 20-minute drive.

4) Ja no Hana Gardens

Ja no Hana’s fall foliage. Photo Credit: CITY OF NIHONMATSU.

This garden is located in Motomiya City. It was built in 1899 and the villa in the center belonged to the wealthy Ito family of the Meiji period. There are 400 maple trees here, making it a brilliant sight in fall. Thanks to its urban location, it’s a very relaxing place to view the changing leaves.

The Ja No Hana Gardens are open 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. By car, it is an eight-minute drive from the Tohoku Expressway Motomiya Interchange.

5) Shingu Kumano Shrine Nagatoko

This is Kitakata’s best fall color spot!

This shrine’s main hall, the Nagatoko, is truly massive, with 44 pillars that support a carefully tended thatched roof. In fall, the surrounding ancient gingko trees turn yellow and begin shedding their leaves, painting the entire scene a surreal gold. It’s a soothing sight,

The shrine is only open on weekends and holidays. Entrance for adults is 300 yen and 200 yen for high school students. Younger children can get in for free. Hours in fall are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. You can reach the shrine by taking either a 10-minute taxi ride or a 15-minute bus ride from JR Kitakata Station on the JR Ban’etsu Saisen Line.

6) Urabandai Goshiki-numa Ponds

An impressive view of autumn leaves and Goshikinuma ponds. Photo Credit: Urabandai Tourism.

Called the ‘Five-Colored Ponds’, the nine ponds of Goshiki-numa are a pleasant fall hike through the foliage. Every pond has a unique color that changes with the season, weather, and time of day. Often a shade of blue, these colors are particularly striking against the fiery colors of fall leaves. The level short trail is 3.5 kilometers long, a good hike for beginners and families.

Admission is free. You can get to the ponds by taking the Bandai Higashi Miyako Bus bound for Goshiki-numa Pond for 30 minutes from Inawashiro Station on the JR Ban-etsu Saisen Line (Ban-etsu West Line).

7) Ouchi-juku

Ouchi-juku, a must-see winter destination in Fukushima, which is also a popular place to see fall colors in Tohoku.

This isolated village sits in the mountains of southwestern Fukushima Prefecture. It was one of the many post towns established during the Edo Period. Today, it is a well-preserved tourist destination, with many traditional thatched-roof buildings providing food, shops, and more. In the fall, it is a wonderful location to see the leaves change. The surrounding mountains turn yellow and red. It feels almost as if you have stepped back in time.

You can Ouchi-juku by car via a 75-minute drive from Shirakawa IC on The Tohoku Expressway. If you take a train, head to Yunokami Onsen Station then take a taxi 5 minutes to the village,

8) Kashi Ohashi Bridge

Kashi Ohashi Bridge.

Not far from Yukiwari bridge is another scenic bridge: the Kashi Ohashi Bridge. It stretches 199 meters above the Abukuma River. The surrounding fall foliage extends even up to the mountains above, providing a wondrous view of changing leaves all around you as you visit the bridge. Nearby Nishigo Village is just as beautiful and has been praised for its scenery even extending back to the feudal era.

You’ll need to drive to Kashi Ohashi Bridge. It is a 30-minute trip from JR Shin-Shirakawa Station on National Road No. 289.