Japan is truly a place of impeccable beauty during the fall foliage season. The rich, vivid color has enchanted hundreds of thousands of tourists around the world, and many would love to travel back to the country for more picturesque scenery that can’t be found elsewhere in the world. So if you plan a trip to Japan from late September to early December, not having a few destinations that are famed for their beauty in autumn noted in your itinerary, you will definitely be missing out!
- Kanazawa Castle (金沢城)
- Kenrokuen Garden (兼六園)
- Mt. Utatsu (卯辰山)
- Natadera Temple (那谷寺)
- Forest of Wisdom – Hiyō Moss Garden (叡智の杜 苔の里)
- Aramata Gorge (荒俣峡)
- Rojō Park (芦城公園)
- Wagatani Dam (我谷ダム)
- Kakusenkei Gorge (鶴仙渓)
- Enuma Shrine Chōryūtei Villa (江沼神社 長流亭)
- Ringyō Shikenjō Jumoku Park (林業試験場樹木公園)
- Hakusan Shirakawa-gō White Road
Kanazawa Castle (金沢城)
Once the base of the iconic Maeda Clan, Kanazawa Castle was strategically built as the center of Kanazawa. Although multiple fire hazards have destroyed most parts of the castle in the last few centuries, the prime features of the castle have been restored.
The castle, filled with a historical atmosphere, is now considered one of the most popular fall foliage destinations in Kanazawa’s city center.
For more information, please refer to our article on Kanazawa Castle!
Kenrokuen Garden (兼六園)
Kenrokuen is classified as one of Japan’s Three Most Beautiful Landscape Gardens. The garden’s name translates to “Garden of the Six Attributes”, which refers to the six characteristics of a perfect landscape.
The garden that used to be a part of Kanazawa Castle has a wide range of typical but gorgeous Japanese garden features.
In autumn, the views of these stone bridges, lanterns, ponds, and traditional buildings are highlighted by the bright fall foliage, making the garden a must-visit attraction in Kanazawa.
For more information, please refer to our Kenrokuen article!
Mt. Utatsu (卯辰山)
Mt. Utatsu is a low mountain on the outskirt of Kanazawa’s city center. Because of its location, it remains a hidden gem to most tourists.
If you don’t like to be pushed around, take a stroll in this nature park to enjoy the beauty of nature. The observation deck at the summit will give you a panoramic view of Kanazawa City. On a clear day, you can see as far as the Sea of Japan and Mt. Hakusan, one of Japan’s Top Three Sacred Mountains!
For more information on the mountain, please refer to our Kanazawa article.
Natadera Temple (那谷寺)
Nadera Temple, erected in 717, is one of the oldest and the most well-known temples in the Kaga Onsen region. The unique rocky landscape, historical buildings, and Japanese gardens have earned this temple a star from the Michelin Green Guide!
For more information about what you can do on the precinct, please refer to our article on Kaga Onsen.
Forest of Wisdom – Hiyō Moss Garden (叡智の杜 苔の里)
Away from Kanazawa in Komatsu City, where the Komatsu Aiport is located, an off-the-beaten-path spot for fall foliage hunting, even for the Japanese, is the Forest of Wisdom – Hiyō Moss Garden.
The natural attraction close to the stunning Natadera Temple has its ground covered by various types of mosses. Walking into the cedar forest is like walking into the world of Ghibli, the forest in Princess Mononoke.
In November, the contrast between the moss’s green and the bright foliage above is a view that always amazes its visitors.
For more information about the spot, please refer to our Komatsu article!
Aramata Gorge (荒俣峡)
Another hidden gem in Komatsu City is Aramata Gorge. It is one of the most scenic ravines in Ishikawa Prefecture. Although the valley remains unknown even to most of Ishikawa’s residents, it is one of the best places to enjoy the fall colors.
Between mid to late November, the normally quiet gorge becomes more lively, where many nature lovers take easy strolls on the 400-meter promenade along the gorge.
For information on how to get there, please refer to our Komatsu City article!
Rojō Park (芦城公園)
Located in the outermost region of Komatsu Castle, Rojō Park was renovated from the third quarter of Komatsu Castle into a Japanese-style park. While the park is renowned as a cherry blossom destination with light-up events involving 600 or so lanterns beautifully illuminated at night, the fall foliage scenery is still equally stunning!
The park is also a great place to visit besides the spring and autumn season. Flowers such as azalea, wisteria, iris, and much more will bloom continuously from April to August!
Alternatively, if you are more of a culturist than an anthophile, Rojō Park is also home to Komatsu City’s Museum, art galleries, and a library!
For more information, please refer to our article on Komatsu City!
Wagatani Dam (我谷ダム)
If you happen to be in the Yamanaka Onsen resort, after indulging yourself in their relaxing hot spring pool, how about hiking to Wagatani Dam for some autumn foliage hunting?
From the red suspension bridge crossing the dam lake, you will get a panoramic view of the surrounding nature, which will be extra scenic in the fall foliage season.
If you enjoy hiking, you can also follow the mountain trail to the summit of Mt Fujishagadake.
For information on how to get there, please refer to our article on Kaga City.
Kakusenkei Gorge (鶴仙渓)
The iconic natural attraction in Yamanaka Onsen is the Kakusenkei Gorge. The 1.3 km gorge has a well-maintained promenade that connects the three bridges. Known for its lushness and beautiful waterfalls, you would definitely want to check that out!
In autumn, when nature is dyed with the fall color, Kakusenkei Gorge becomes one of the main reasons the Japanese would choose Yamanaka Onsen over other onsen towns in the region.
For more information, please refer to our Kakusenkei Gorge article.
Enuma Shrine Chōryūtei Villa (江沼神社 長流亭)
Enuma Shrine, which enshrines the famous scholar Sugawara no Michizane (菅原 道真), is another hidden gem in Kaga City. The shrine where students pray for their academic success is usually quiet. However, the number of pilgrims would double during autumn, with many visiting the shrine for its stunning fall foliage scenery.
Next to Enuma Shrine, the Chōryūtei Villa was designed by the third lord of Daishōji Domain for his own private use. While a booking is required to explore the interior, feel free to check out the gorgeous traditional building that is now an Important National Cultural Property.
You will want to take an easy stroll along the Daishōji River, which flows along the villa’s side. The spot that is a secret spot for cherry blossoms is also picturesque in autumn when the foliage’s color turns red.
For information on how to get there, please refer to our Kaga City article.
Ringyō Shikenjō Jumoku Park (林業試験場樹木公園)
Further down south of the Ishikawa Prefecture, Ringyō Shikenjō Jumoku Park is a popular fall foliage destination in Hakusan City. While the park is recognized as a beautiful cherry blossom spot, only a few would know that the scenery from mid to late November rivals the cherry blossom scenery from early April to early May!
For more information about the park, please refer to our article on Hakusan City.
Hakusan Shirakawa-gō White Road
In autumn, you may even be lucky enough to adore the Sea of Clouds that engulfs the lower parts of the surrounding mountain ranges from the observatories at the south end of the highway. And if you enjoy hiking, you will have a great time trekking through the mountain trails scattered along the road!
For more information, please refer to our article on Shirakawa-gō White Road!
So Where to Go to Adore Cherry Blossom?
If you decided to visit Kanazawa or Ishikawa Prefecture in spring instead of autumn, then check out our article on The Top 10 Cherry Blossom Spots in Ishikawa Prefecture.
We are certain that you will discover a few spots that you weren’t aware of or heard of before (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.