A red, orange and gold version of the spring cherry blossom takeover, the whole of Japan goes mad for fall, keenly following the autumnal kaleidoscope as it travels down from Hokkaido to Okinawa. There’s no shortage of (justifiably) famous places to experience the best of autumn in Japan – but what about those that aren’t featured in your travel guidebook?
Hold on to your pumpkin latte and take a break from munching on that marron for our pick of lesser-known spots to visit this fall in Japan.
Shikotsu-Toya National Park (Hokkaido)
Hokkaido’s most easily-accessible national park, you’ve got 1000 square kilometers of lakes, volcanoes, hiking trails, and onsen (hot springs) to choose from. For an especially stunning autumn vista, make your way to Lake Toya and the surrounding slopes of Mt Usu.
Mount Bandai (Fukushima)
If the Mount Fuji of the north, with its “heavenly mirror lake”, isn’t enough to tempt you, consider that the big changes in elevation around Urabandai (Bandai Highlands) mean that you can see autumn leaves for the entire month of October. Renting a car? Don’t miss the Bandai Azuma Skyline, a breathtaking mountain road that curves all the way from Urabandai back to Fukushima City.
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