Autumn in Japan is the time for momigari, or red leaf hunting. The leaves of maples, gingko, and other species of tree change color as the temperature starts to drop, turning once green forests into riots of red and gold. The season comes with its own traditions, including maple leaf tempura and maple leaf-shaped cakes.

There are many great places to see fall foliage in the Chubu region. The area lies in the center of the largest Japanese island, Honshu, and is divided by the Japanese Alps. As result, it is a very scenic region, with a great deal of geographic diversity that makes its fall leaves a special sight.

There are a lot of great places to view changing leaves in the region. Here are the 10 best autumn leaves spots in the Chubu region:

1) Korankei, Aichi

Korankei is Aichi’s most popular autumn foliage spot! Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

This striking valley lies at the foot of Mount Iimori. The head priest of the mountain’s Kojakuji Temple planted maple tree seeds in the valley in the 17th century and many locals did the same. These seeds that gave rise to the trees that now stand throughout the valley today. There are many striking views, though the best are along the Tomoe River.

From early November to December, festival stalls dot the area, providing food and souvenirs. There are also nightly illumination displays and musical performances. There is no direct public transportation to Korankei. To get there, you can take a train or bus from Nagoya Station and transfer at least once. Admission costs 300 yen.

Learn more about the other popular autumn foliage spots in Aichi.

2) Kurobe Gorge, Toyama

Kurobe gorge is stunningly beautiful. Photo Credit: 黒部峡谷鉄道

Take a train ride through the autumn leaves of Kurobe Gorge on Kurobe Train. Kurobe Gorge is one of the three great gorges of Japan and it is hard to get a true appreciation of its scale. Taking the train will offer you spectacular views of this rugged landscape and its fall foliage.

You can also enjoy an outdoor hot spring bath (onsen) near the station that offers even more spectacular views of nature. The train leaves at a variety of times and fares range from 660 yen to 1980 yen for adults, with an additional fee for upgraded seats.

3) Dragondola, Niigata

Dragondola during autumn. Photo Credit: Yuzawa Town Tourist Association.

This delightful gondola ride will take you up and down the Naeba ski area. Along the way, you’ll see vividly colored fall leaves and streams flowing through the forest. You’ll also get a wonderful view of Lake Futai. The gondola is 5.5 kilometers long and is one of the tallest in Japan.

From October 6 to November 11, when the fall leaves are at their most beautiful, the Dragondola operates from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The parking lot is exclusively for buses and courtesy cars. You can take a bus to the Dragondola from JR Echigo-Yuzawa Station, which is about a 35-minute ride.

4) Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Toyama

Kurobe Dam fall colors. Photo Credit: Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.

No matter the season, the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route offers incredible sights and in fall, you get to see fall colors lining this legendary sightseeing road. From the end of September to the beginning of November, you can see the leaves turn, with greener trees at the base of the mountains and orange, red, and yellow ones higher up.

There are many ways to get around on the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route and planning your journey is important because some routes require you to switch transportation types.

5) Yahiko Park, Niigata

Colored leaves in Yahiko Park. Photo Credit: Niigata Prefectural Tourism Association.

This popular park offers some spectacular fall foliage every year. Visitors should defiantly take the time to admire the area of Yahiko Park known as Maple Valley, where Japanese maples rise along a stream and flank the beautiful vermillion-lacquered Kan-tsuki Bridge.

Early morning visits are advised as the park is very popular with tour groups later in the day. There is not much else in the park except for the trees in autumn, making an early morning visit a peaceful experience that offers up plenty of serene photo opportunities. The park is free to enter and is only a short walk from Yahiko station.

6) Obara Fureai Park, Aichi

Obara Fureai Park. Photo Credit: Aichi Prefectural Tourism Association.

This peaceful hilly park is a pleasure in every season. In fall, the leaves change and you can stroll through the cool weather on one of the park’s many walking paths.

What’s particularly striking is the Obara Fuerai Park’s fall cherry blossoms. These bloom more in fall than even in spring and seeing them against the fiery fall foliage is a treat. They bloom throughout October and the park hosts a festival to celebrate. You can reach the park from Nagoya station by taking several transfers to Shin-Toyota Station.

7) Fuji Kawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival, Yamanashi

Autumn Leaves, Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi.

Considered one of the best autumn leaves festivals in Japan, where you’ll get to see red leaves along the shores of Lake Kawaguchi with wonderful views of Mt. Fuji. There are many great areas to view the leaves and the scenery. The most famous is the Maple Corridor, or Momiji Kairo, a walkway lined by 60 maple trees.

After dark, the area’s maple trees are lit up, creating a spectacular display of color. You can enjoy food, drinks, and souvenirs from the many small festival stands found throughout the park. Take a bus 25 minutes from Kawaguchiko Station to Itchiku Kubota Art Museum Stop to get to the festival.

8) Matsukawa Gorge, Nagano

Autumn scenery of Matsukawa Gorge, Nagano. Photo Credit: snowmonkeyresorts.

In fall, the trees of Matsukawa Gorge turn gold, making this time of year the area’s “golden season”. The gorge is known for its many waterfalls and you can hike right next to them on several trails.

There are also many onsen hot spring baths to be found so you can enjoy a soothing soak after a long day exploring the golden trees and waterfalls. By the Yamada Onsen bus, Matsukawa Gorge is 30 minutes from Suzaka Station.

9) Shuzenji Temple, Shizuoka

Impressive fall scenery of Shuzenji Temple. Photo Credit: IZUHAKONE Railway Co.,LTD.

Shuzenji Temple dates back to the 9th century. The temple is the location of some interesting history that occurred centuries ago, but it is also a lovely sight to see in the fall. The contrast of the bright leaves and the earthy traditional architecture of the temple makes any trip to the area magical.

The temple’s gardens are not usually open to the public, but in recent years they have opened for general viewing every autumn. To get to Shuzenji Temple, take the Izuhakone line to Shuzenji station, then take the bus bound for Shuzenji Spa.

10) Oyada Maple Valley, Gifu

Oyada Shrine during autumn. Photo Credit: Mino City.

3,000 maple trees surround the ancient Oyada Shrine. Many of these trees are around 1,000 years old. The shrine and the nearby town are historical monuments, and every fall, when the many maple trees change their leaves, the area celebrates with a festival featuring food, shopping, and entertainment.

You can take a bus to Oyada Maple Valley from JR Gifu Station. take the Gifu Bus on the Takami Line to Oyada Jinja Mae bus stop.