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Aomori in Autumn: 10 Best Places for Fall Foliage and Dreamy Natural Scenery

Aomori in Autumn: 10 Best Places for Fall Foliage and Dreamy Natural Scenery

Date published: 17 July 2020
Last updated: 9 September 2020

Aomori in autumn is home to many of the most famous fall foliage spots in Japan! In fall, red, orange, and gold leaves decorate trees, turning them into painting-like landscapes.

The leaves gain unique colors due to the difference in temperature between day and night, and the landscape of forests, valleys, and parks is spectacular.

Here we will share some of the most beautiful autumn foliage spots unique to Aomori Prefecture, blessed by lush nature, plus the best time to visit.

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Tsutanuma Lake: Fiery Autumn leaves reflecting on the water
  2. 2. Oirase Mountain Stream: Stroll along a walking path illuminated by gorgeous fall leaves
  3. 3. Nakano Momiji Mountain: Different dramatic appearance of leaves in day and night
  4. 4. Jogakura Ohashi Bridge: Large 360m panoramic bridge
  5. 5. Mount Hakkoda: See a thrilling carpet of crimson leaves seen from the ropeway
  6. 6. Shirakami-Sanchi Mountains: Stroll through the magical golden forest
  7. 7. Great Ginkgo in Kitaganegasawa: Shining gold
  8. 8. Hirosaki Park: Fantastic autumn leaves floating in the dark night
  9. 9. Jigokunuma Pond: Colorful autumn leaves and a steamy, phantasmagoric pond
  10. 10. Nango Kakko-No-Mori Echoland: A spot hidden amongst the glorious Japanese maple

1. Tsutanuma Lake: Fiery Autumn leaves reflecting on the water

1. Tsutanuma Lake: Fiery Autumn leaves reflecting on the water
Early morning at Tsutanuma Lake with autumn leaves reflecting on the surface

Tsutanuma Lake is located in the Oirase area of Towada City. It's surrounded by virgin forest and visited every year by tourists from all over the country and world who come to see the autumn colors and take as many pictures as they can.

In particular, the mirror-like surface of the lake creates a mysterious and charming picture at sunrise that can only be seen at that moment. We also recommend visiting the other marshes while exploring the promenade, especially in mid-October.

  • Tsutanuma Lake
    蔦沼
    • Address Azatsutanoyu, Okuse, Towada, Aomori 034-0301
    • Nearest Station From JR Shin-Aomori Station, take the JR bus Mizuumi to Tsuta Onsen and walk for 15 minutes. About 60 minutes driving from the Kuroishi IC on the Tohoku Expressway
    • Phone: 0176-24-3006 (Towada Oirase Tourism Organization)

2. Oirase Mountain Stream: Stroll along a walking path illuminated by gorgeous fall leaves

2. Oirase Mountain Stream: Stroll along a walking path illuminated by gorgeous fall leaves
Oirase Mountain Stream, where autumn leaves are in full color

Oirase Mountain Stream is located in Towada City, like Tsutanuma Lake, and is surrounded by a deep, natural forest. The 14km path beside the stream itself is surrounded by many kinds of trees, like azalea, maple, and more, forming a gorgeous tunnel of fall foliage.

The autumn leaves show their best from late October to early November. The combination of the tunnel embellished by the autumn colors, the dynamic mountain stream, and the magnificent waterfall make for a fantastic landscape.

  • Oirase Stream
    • Address Okuse, Towada-shi, Aomori, 034-0301
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Hachinohe Station (Hachinohe Line / Tohoku Shinkansen / Hokkaido Shinkansen / Aoimori Tetsudo)
      90 minutes by bus
    • Phone Number 0176-75-2425

3. Nakano Momiji Mountain: Different dramatic appearance of leaves in day and night

3. Nakano Momiji Mountain: Different dramatic appearance of leaves in day and night
Autumn leaves in color at Nakano Momiji Mountain
Photo courtesy of Kuroishi Tourism Association

Located in the center of Aomori Prefecture, Nakano Momiji Mountain, in Kuroishi City, is a famous location for autumn leaves with its beautiful Japanese maples. 100 kinds of maple trees were ordered from Kyoto and planted during the time of the feudal lords (around 1802). Now the fiery red maple trees perfectly espouse the bridges and torii gates of this beautiful site.

At night, the leaves are illuminated, creating a fantastic world, and showing a completely different spectacle from the one you can enjoy during the day. You will also see Kanpudai area, with its famous beautiful carpets of fallen leaves, and Fudo Falls, with their soothing sound. The best time to admire the foliage here is in mid-October to early November.

  • Nakano Momiji Mountain
    中野もみじ山
    • Address Fudoudate 27, Minaminakano, Kuroishi Shi, Aomori Prefecture, 036-0405, Japan
    • Nearest Station From JR Aomori Station, take the Ou Main Line to Hirosaki Station, transfer to the Konan Railway, and get off at Kuroishi Station. Take the Konan Bus to Nakano Shrine, and walk for 1 minute. About 10 minutes driving from the Tohoku Expressway Kuroishi IC.
    • Phone: 0172-88-8815 (Kuroishi Tourist Information Center)
      Light-up dates: October 17, 2020-November 8, 2020 (subject to change)
      Light-up time: From dusk until 9pm

4. Jogakura Ohashi Bridge: Large 360m panoramic bridge

4. Jogakura Ohashi Bridge: Large 360m panoramic bridge

Jogakura Ohashi Bridge in Aomori City is a huge bridge with a 255m arch spanner. When it opened in 1955, it used to be the longest bridge in Japan. It's located in the Towada-Hachimantai National Park, which spans across three prefectures: Aomori, Iwate, and Akita.

From the Jogakura Ohashi Bridge, you can enjoy a magnificent 360-degree panoramic view or the red and yellow field of foliage in Aomori in autumn, around mid-October. From the 122m high bridge, you can see the valley at the bottom, with the tranquil Jogakura Mountain Stream flowing along - one of the most scenic bodies of water in the area. There are parking lots at both ends of the bridge, making it easily accessible and perfect to stop and take pictures.

  • Jogakura Ohashi Bridge
    城ヶ倉大橋
    • Address Minamiarakawa 1-1, Arakawa, Aomori Shi, Aomori Prefecture, 030-0111, Japan
    • Nearest Station From JR Shin-Aomori Station, take the JR bus bound for Lake Towada. Get off at Jogakura Onsen, and walk for about 20 minutes. About 35 minutes driving from the Tohoku Expressway Kuroishi IC.
    • Phone: 017-728-0200 (Aomori Prefecture East Ao Area Citizens Bureau)

5. Mount Hakkoda: See a thrilling carpet of crimson leaves seen from the ropeway

5. Mount Hakkoda: See a thrilling carpet of crimson leaves seen from the ropeway
Autumn leaves of Mount Hakkoda seen from the Hakkoda Ropeway

Mount Hakkoda, one of the 100 most famous mountains in Japan, is a popular ski destination in winter, but in autumn, it sports one of the most beautiful places for fall foliage in Aomori. Trees spread over layers of other trees, lush with autumn leaves, appearing like a carpet when seen from the ropeway.

These autumn leaves are at their peak of beauty in late October. At the mountaintop park of the ropeway (Hakkoda Gourd Line), you will find a promenade offering a 1km-walk surrounded by autumn leaves.

  • Hakkoda Ropeway
    八甲田ロープウェー
    • Address Kansuizawa 1-12, Arakawa, Aomori Shi, Aomori Ken, 030-0188, Japan
    • Nearest Station Take the JR bus from JR Aomori Station to Hakkoda Ropeway Station. By car, it is about 19km from Aomori Chuo IC.
    • Phone Number 017-738-0343
    • Hakkoda Ropeway Hours: 9am-4:20pm (March to early November), 9am to 3:40pm (mid-November to February)
      Hakkoda Ropeway fare: Adult (junior high school student or older) 1,250 yen one way (round trip 2,000 yen); child (elementary school) 450 yen one way (round trip 700 yen). Free for preschoolers. *Tax included in all fares
      Closed: open every day (may be closed in case of strong winds, or abnormal weather). There will be a suspension in early November for inspection and maintenance.

6. Shirakami-Sanchi Mountains: Stroll through the magical golden forest

6. Shirakami-Sanchi Mountains: Stroll through the magical golden forest
Shirakami-Sanchi Mountains with colorful autumn leaves
Photo courtesy of Shirakami Sanchi Visitor Center

The Shirakami-Sanchi mountain area is a treasure trove of nature surrounded by vast beech forests, also recognized as a World Natural Heritage site. From mid-October to late October every year, the autumn leaves are in full bloom, and the vast beech forest is vividly colored.

The landscape, even from a distance, is beautiful. Still, we recommend trekking along the paths to really be in contact with nature here. Surrounded by the fall foliage in this mysterious forest, you can take a walk in the quiet promenade covered by fallen leaves.

Why not take a walk in the wilderness inhabited by Japanese serow and bears and experience the autumn of this World Natural Heritage site?

  • Shirakami Sanchi Visitor Center
    白神山地ビジターセンター
    • Address Kanda 61-1, Tashiro, Nakatsugaru Gun, Nishimeya Mura, Aomori Prefecture, 036-1411, Japan
    • Nearest Station Access: Take the Konan Bus from JR Hirosaki Station and get off at Tashiro (Nishimeyamura Yakubae). About 60 minutes by car from the Tohoku Expressway Owani Hirosaki IC.
    • Phone Number 0172-85-2810

7. Great Ginkgo in Kitaganegasawa: Shining gold

7. Great Ginkgo in Kitaganegasawa: Shining gold
"Big Yellow" of Kitaganegasawa lit up. Photo courtesy of Fukaura Town

In Kitaganegasawa, in the city of Fukaura, facing the Sea of Japan, there is one of Japan's most massive giant ginkgo trees, that is over 1000 years old.

Every year from mid-November to late November, this giant tree with a height of 31m and a trunk circumference of 22m, turns bright yellow, giving its nickname of "Big Yellow." The biggest highlight is the illuminated light, and its golden appearance is of staggering beauty. Absorb the power of this large national natural monument.

  • 北金ヶ沢の大イチョウ
    北金ヶ沢の大イチョウ
    • Address Shiomigata 356, Kitakanegasawa, Nishitsugaru Gun, Fukaura Machi, Aomori Prefecture, 038-2504, Japan
    • Nearest Station Access: From JR Aomori Station, take the Ou Main Line to Kawabe Station. Transfer to the Gono Line and get off at Kita-Kanagasawa Station, then walk 10 minutes.
    • Phone: 0173-74-4412 (Fukaura Town Tourism Division)
      Light up period: Every November from 4:30pm to 8:30pm

8. Hirosaki Park: Fantastic autumn leaves floating in the dark night

8. Hirosaki Park: Fantastic autumn leaves floating in the dark night
Autumn leaves of the cherry trees near Hirosaki Park/Otemon Gate entrance

Hirosaki Park in Hirosaki City, famous also for its cherry blossoms, reaches its best time to see autumn leaves between mid-October and early November. The maple and cherry trees of the park turn bright red and yellow and combined with the tower and the castle gate of Hirosaki Castle, they recreate the atmosphere of an ancient city.

At night, the leaves are illuminated, showing another face of the landscape, with a fantastic reflection of the colorful foliage reflected in the moat, making you feel as though lost in a painting. Hirosaki, with its 400-year history, is a popular spot to enjoy autumn foliage in Aomori.

9. Jigokunuma Pond: Colorful autumn leaves and a steamy, phantasmagoric pond

9. Jigokunuma Pond: Colorful autumn leaves and a steamy, phantasmagoric pond
The steamy waters of the waters in Jigokunuma Pond and autumn leaves

Near the hot spring inn Sukayu Onsen, in Hakkoda, there is a body of water with spring temperatures of 90 degrees, called Jigokunuma Pond (or Hell Pond). Water springs from a crater and, around mid-October, the surrounding Japanese pine trees, as well as the ornamental Chinese cabbages, will turn into splendid colors.

Against the backdrop of the steaming water swirling about in the air, the vividly colored autumn leaves are genuinely magnificent. On the way back, relax at the Sugayu Onsen in the large outdoor Sennin-buro bath.

  • Jigokunuma Pond
    地獄沼
    • Address Sukayusawa, Kokuyurin, Mt. Arakawa, Arakawa-Minami, Aomori City, Aomori Prefecture 030-0111, Japan
    • Nearest Station Access: From JR Aomori Station, take the JR bus bound for Lake Towada. Get off at Sukayu Onsen, and walk 5 minutes.
    • Phone: 017-738-6400 (Sukayu Onsen)

10. Nango Kakko-No-Mori Echoland: A spot hidden amongst the glorious Japanese maple

10. Nango Kakko-No-Mori Echoland: A spot hidden amongst the glorious Japanese maple
When illuminated, the red autumn leaves look even more fantastic. Photo courtesy of Nango Kakko-No-Mori Echoland
Photo courtesy of Nango Kakko-No-Mori Echoland

Nango Kakko-No-Mori Echoland, in Hachinohe City (Eastern Aomori Prefecture), is a sports facility surrounded by nature, but in autumn becomes a famous local destination for autumn leaves.

There are about 280 maple trees on the premises, which are in full color at the end of October. At night, the maples emerge from the dark thanks to the red, yellow, and blue illumination, creating a fantastic atmosphere. Tea ceremonies are also held inside, making a visit even more worth it.

  • Nango Kakko-No-Mori Echoland
    南郷カッコーの森エコーランド
    • Address Takamura 5-5, Nango Nakano, Hachinohe Shi, Aomori Prefecture, 031-0114, Japan
    • Nearest Station Access: from JR Aomori Station, take the Tohoku Shinkansen to Hachinohe Station, change to the Hachinohe Line, and get off at Hon-Hachinohe Station. Then take the Nanbu bus to "Michi no Eki Nango." 2 minutes driving from Hachinohe Expressway "Nango IC."
    • Phone Number 0178-82-3303
    • Light up: 2 days in late October every year.
      Light up time: 4:30pm-7:30pm

Aomori in autumn is incredible. Choose the perfect kind of Aomori autumn foliage experience for yourself. Find the ideal location and the best daytime or nighttime vibe, fully immersed in nature, or surrounded by natural beauty as well as architecture. Be sure to visit Aomori Prefecture next autumn for unique and rare spectacular sights!

Text by: Shimoda Tsubasa

*The above article is based on information from June 2020

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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