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10 Best Places for Autumn Leaves in Fukushima (And When To See Them)

10 Best Places for Autumn Leaves in Fukushima (And When To See Them)

Date published: 31 July 2020
Last updated: 15 October 2020

You should definitely not miss the autumn leaves in Fukushima. Fukushima boasts many great places for fall foliage that you can enjoy on scenic drives, plus charming historical spots.

Today we’ll look at 10 of the most popular areas in Fukushima for autumn colors. Albeit for a short time, there will also be illuminations that make the landscape look even more fantastic.

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Azuma Sports Park: Beautifully lit up Ginko trees in autumn
  2. 2. Bandai Azuma Sky Line: Gorgeous fall foliage seen from a mountain road
  3. 3. Urabandai Autumn Leaves Ropeway: A stunning aerial view of foliage in Fukushima
  4. 4. Goshikinuma Lakes: Feast on the mysterious energy and the beautiful autumn colors
  5. 5. Hanitsu-jinja: Admire the red maple carpet
  6. Shingu Kumano Shrine: A gorgeous 800-year old ginkgo tree illuminated at night
  7. 7. Tsurugajo Park: Autumn leaves framing the beautiful Tsurugajo Castle
  8. 8. Yukiwari Bridge and Yukiwari Valley: Colorful autumn foliage landscapes in Fukushima
  9. 9. Nanko Park and its 17 scenic spots
  10. 10. Yamamoto Fudoson: Stone steps and autumn colors that guide you to a sacred place

1. Azuma Sports Park: Beautifully lit up Ginko trees in autumn

1. Azuma Sports Park: Beautifully lit up Ginko trees in autumn

Azuma Sports Park is easily accessible by bus from the center of Fukushima City. From JR Fukushima Station, take the Fukushima Kotsu bus #7 at the East Exit Bus Pool, bound for Sawara; get off at Shimobayashi, and walk 10 minutes.

By mid-October, you will be able to see golden splendor of the 116 ginkgo trees that stretch for 520 meters to the center of the park like a beautiful yellow tunnel.

The trees are lit at night from mid-October to mid-November, making them emerge in the dark, creating a magical scene. As you walk down the golden ginkgo tunnel, you’re sure to fall right in love with the season.

(As of June 9, 2020, the lighting up for 2020 has not yet been decided.)

  • The Azuma Sports Park Line of Ginkgo Trees
    あづま総合運動公園 いちょう並木
    • Address Kamikotoba 1, Sabara, Fukushima Shi, Fukushima Ken, 960-2158, Japan
    • Phone Number 024-593-1111
    • Open: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. (varies depending on the facility). Lit up every year from mid-October to mid-November 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
      Admission: free
      Closed: Tuesday

2. Bandai Azuma Sky Line: Gorgeous fall foliage seen from a mountain road

2. Bandai Azuma Sky Line: Gorgeous fall foliage seen from a mountain road

The Bandai Azuma Skyline is a driving course that will take you through the Azuma-renpou area and by many incredible viewpoints, like Tengu's Garden, where the mountainside is painted with autumn leaves, or Tsubakuro Valley, where the entire valley is dyed red and orange.

From these locations, you will be able to see not only the foliage on Mt. Bandai, but also that by the four lakes in the area, like Lake Inawashiro, and Lake Hibara, which are also spectacular spots you won’t want to miss.

The starting point of the Bandai Azuma Skyline is at Takayu Onsen. To get there, from JR Fukushima Station, take the Prefectural Road 70 on the Fukushima Azuma Ura Bandai Line for about 30 minutes. The best time to see the autumn leaves here is between late September and mid-October.

  • Bandai Azuma Sky Line
    磐梯吾妻スカイライン
    • Address Wasikurayama, Tsuchiyu Onsen Machi, Fukushima Shi, Fukushima Ken, 960-2157, Japan
    • Phone: 0242-64-3478 (Fukushima Prefecture Kita Construction Office)
      Usage period: Free tour (time restrictions may apply due to weather conditions)
      Admission: Free
      Closed: Late November-early April

3. Urabandai Autumn Leaves Ropeway: A stunning aerial view of foliage in Fukushima

3. Urabandai Autumn Leaves Ropeway: A stunning aerial view of foliage in Fukushima

45 minutes away from JR Inawashiro Station by shuttle bus (reservation required), you will find Grandeco Resort, a leisure facility with hotels and ski resorts. From here you can use the ropeway that will offer an amazing view of the mountainside dyed in crimson and gold.

The ropeway takes about 10 minutes each way. It will take you 1,400m above sea level, to an observation deck offering a gorgeous view of the surrounding mountains. To enjoy the scenery even more, be sure to stop by the footbath, where you can soak your feet and warm up while gazing out at the colors. The best time to see the autumn leaves here is from early to late October.

  • Urabandai Autumn Leaves Ropeway
    裏磐梯紅葉ロープウェイ
    • Address Arasunasawayama, Oaza Hibara, Kitashiobara-mura, Yama-gun, Fukushima, 969-2701
    • Phone Number 0241-32-2530
    • Open: From August to early November, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (admission until 3:30 p.m.)
      Price: Ropeway round trip 1,800 yen
      Closed: always open

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4. Goshikinuma Lakes: Feast on the mysterious energy and the beautiful autumn colors

4. Goshikinuma Lakes: Feast on the mysterious energy and the beautiful autumn colors
Image courtesy of Urabandai Tourism Association

Goshikinuma Lakes refers to a series of 20-30 ponds formed after Mount Bandai erupted in 1888, which generated a cascade that blocked a river. What makes these places unique is that, depending on the time of day and on the way the sunlight hits the water, the landscape changes. In autumn, the beautiful contrast of the red and yellow foliage permeates the area, and it reflects in the emerald green and cobalt blue colors of the lakes.

The best time to visit the Goshikinuma Lakes for autumn leaves is from mid-October to early November. We recommend enjoying the view from the Goshikinuma Sightseeing Road, which will lead you around the ponds.

You can reach it in 30 minutes from JR Inawashiro Station by Bandai Toto Bus bound for Ura Bandai Kogen Station. The entrance is by the Urabandai Visitor Center, a short walk from the Goshikinuma Entrance.

5. Hanitsu-jinja: Admire the red maple carpet

5. Hanitsu-jinja: Admire the red maple carpet

Hanitsu-jinja is a shrine dedicated to Masayuki Hoshina of the Aizu Clan. To get there, take the Bandai Toto Bus from JR Inawashiro Station and get off at the Bus Center stop in about 7 minutes, then walk about 18 minutes.

The highlight of the area is the yellow ginkgo and the red maple trees on both sides of the bridge. The best period to enjoy these sights is from late October to early November. You’ll love the maple leaves falling and creating a beautiful carpet extending as far as you can see.

From mid-October to mid-November the trees are lit up. The most popular spot is the bridge by the entrance to the shrine. You can take fantastic pictures of the red maples by the bridge with a white torii gate in the background in the magical evening lights.

  • Hanitsu-jinja
    土津神社
    • Address Mineyama, Yama Gun Inawashiro Machi, Fukushima Ken, 969-3102, Japan
    • Phone: 0242-62-2048 (Inawashiro Tourism Association)
      Open: Always open
      Admission: Free
      Closed: Always open

Shingu Kumano Shrine: A gorgeous 800-year old ginkgo tree illuminated at night

Shingu Kumano Shrine: A gorgeous 800-year old ginkgo tree illuminated at night

Shingu Kumano Shrine is a 20-minute bus ride from JR Kitakata Station on the “Burarin-go” city bus. Get off at the Shingu Nagatoko stop, and you will be just a short walk away. Buses operate on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from April 1 to November 29 only. Alternatively, it is about a 10-minute drive from JR Kitakata Station, so we recommend using a rental car or a taxi.

When you enter the area around the shrine, you will see the Nagatoko, a hall of worship with no walls, designated as an Important National Cultural Property. The best time to admire autumn leaves here is mid to late November. Among the many trees you will also see a large ginkgo, 30 meters in height and with a trunk circumference of 7.73 meters. The trees are surrounded by a large garden carpeted by bright golden leaves.

Night illumination usually takes place from November 15 to November 22. Walk up the path to better enjoy the view of the golden fluttering leaves.

(*As of June 9, 2020, illuminations for 2020 are undecided.)

7. Tsurugajo Park: Autumn leaves framing the beautiful Tsurugajo Castle

7. Tsurugajo Park: Autumn leaves framing the beautiful Tsurugajo Castle

Tsurugajo Park is built around the famous Tsurugajo Castle, the symbol of Aizu-Wakamatsu. The park is about 20 minutes from JR Aizu-Wakamatsu Station via the Machinaka “Haikara-san” sightseeing bus. You’ll find the popular foliage spot just a 5-minute walk away from the Tsurugajo Castle entrance.

Depending on the angle, you can enjoy different views of the ginkgo and maple leaves. While walking through the park, find your favorite spot to immortalize your visit at Tsurugajo Castle.

The best time to visit for autumn leaves is from late October to mid-November. The Tsurugajo Autumn Leaves Illumination, one of the popular autumn events in Fukushima, is typically held during this period. The sight of red leaves and the pure white walls of the castle illuminated at night is simply stunning.

(*As of June 9, 2020, the illumination schedule for 2020 is undecided.)

  • Tsurugajo Castle
    鶴ヶ城
    • Address 1-1, Otemachi, Aizuwakamatsu Shi, Fukushima Ken, 965-0873, Japan
    • Phone Number 0242-27-4005
    • Open: 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. – Lit up from the third Friday in October to the third Sunday in November, from sunset to 9 p.m.
      Admission: Free; 410yen for Tsurugajo Castle Tower
      Closed: Always open

8. Yukiwari Bridge and Yukiwari Valley: Colorful autumn foliage landscapes in Fukushima

8. Yukiwari Bridge and Yukiwari Valley: Colorful autumn foliage landscapes in Fukushima

The Yukiwari Valley spreads for 4 kilometers, and at its center is the Yukiwari Bridge, an iron bridge connecting the two sides of Abukuma River. During the autumn foliage period, flocks of tourists head to the area to snap pictures of the red iron bridge and the valley dyed in green and yellow hues. A popular spot from which to take pictures is the Nishinosato Promenade, extending along the river.

The best time to visit in autumn is from late October to early November. You can take the Fukushima Kotsu Bus from JR Shin-Shirakawa Station and get off at Yuigaharairiguchi, which is about 30 minutes away; you can then reach your destination on foot in 15 minutes.

  • Yukiwari Bridge, Yukiwari Valley
    雪割橋・雪割渓谷
    • Address Mineyama, Mabune, Nishishirakawa Gun Nishigo Mura, Fukushima Ken, 961-8071, Japan
    • Phone Number 0248-25-5795
    • Free to visit

9. Nanko Park and its 17 scenic spots

9. Nanko Park and its 17 scenic spots

Nanko Park, considered to be the oldest public park in Japan, is where you can enjoy a garden of green pines and red maples overlooking the beautiful Lake Nanko. Scattered around the south side of the lake are 17 viewing spots, giving access to just as many unique sights. Here you can also find a monument engraved with Japanese poems reflecting the view on each of the scenic spots.

The best time to admire the foliage is from late October to mid-November. To get there, it’s a 10-minute bus ride from JR Shin-Shirakawa Station on the Tohoku shinkansen to Iwaki-Tanakura Station.

  • Nanko Park
    南湖公園
    • Address 1, Nanko, Shirakawa Shi, Fukushima Ken, 961-0812, Japan
    • Phone: 0248-22-1147 (Shirakawa Tourists Association)
      Free to visit

10. Yamamoto Fudoson: Stone steps and autumn colors that guide you to a sacred place

10. Yamamoto Fudoson: Stone steps and autumn colors that guide you to a sacred place

Legend says that Yamamoto Fudoson appeared when Kobo Daishi prayed to rid Yamizo mountain of all evil spirits. The trees in the area take on beautiful reds, greens, and yellows. The most spectacular of these are the trees that line the 130 stone steps, and that extends over the whole mountainside.

Access is approximately 10 minutes by car from JR Chikatsu Station. Yamamoto Fudoson is located in the beautiful Yamamoto Park.

  • Yamamoto Fudoson
    山本不動尊
    • Address Kohizawa 94-2, Kitayamamoto, Tanagura-town, Higashishirakawa-gun, Fukushima-pref, 963-5685, Japan
    • Phone Number 0247-33-2445
    • Free to visit

Text by: ShoePress

*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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