Explorer’s Log : Autumn Leaves in Japan Part 2 – Chubu (Central region)

Today, we are introducing Autumn Leaves hot spots in Chubu, Japan.

Hiring a bike at Ginza, Tokyo and riding straight towards the Kumobaike Lake in Karuizawa, people often find the nature scenery stunning. The clear water of the lake reflects the beautiful surroundings and creates a great view when the foliages turn red and yellow during the Autumn season. You can also take a train to the nearby Karizawa Station, and take a 20-minute walk to the lake. As it is a famous attraction, it is likely to be crowded, but the scenery makes it definely worth it.

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Shiraito Falls is another beautiful site for Autumn leaves watching. Though it is not a big site with water cascading from up high, it is quite an interesting waterfall; you can see the spring water from Mount Fuji coming through the rocks, seeping out from a crack of a cliff, which is unbelievable. It may look like a manmade waterfall, but it’s actually a natural one. Such natural design makes it look like that the water falls from the trees, and it creates a stunning view, especially during the Autumn leaves season. Our suggestion is to take the local bus to get there. After you have enjoyed the scene and taken enough photos, you can shop at the nearby souvenir shops and food stands. Then, take a return bus and stop over at the old town (Ginza street) or other down town attractions.

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You can also choose to enjoy the Autumn leaves while riding the train. Taking a 3-minute walk from Unazuki Onsen Station, you will find the Kurobe Gorge Railway (Kurotetsu) Unazuki Station. This train has 2 types of seats, with and without windows, the type without window charges more, but allows you to better see the outside scenery, in this case, the Autumn leaves. We recommend you to get a pass so that you can drop off at whichever station you like to take pictures and enjoy the foot onsens. By the end of the day, you can stay at the onsen hotels to relax you body.

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On the other hand, you can visit some traditional architeture while catching the Autumn leaves. Being one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, Kenrokuen represents the style of the Edo era, and is a must-go when you are visiting Kanazawa. The traditional Japanese style garden gives the feel of serenity and the reds and yellows reflecting on the Kasumi Pond creates a stunning imagery. In fact, not only during autumn, Kenrokuen is also famous for cherry blossom viewing in spring; its seasonal beauty has always beem well known of. Staying on the Flower-viewing Bridge and looking around will give you the best view of the autumn garden.

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Shirakwa-go is another place which you cannot miss when visiting the Chubu for the Autumn leaves. The place itself is a heritage with famous attractions such as the Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go Traditional Houses in the Gassho Style. It’s also famous for its hot springs and the Doburoku Matsuri (Festival that villagers offer their thanks and prayers to the mountain god for safety and a good harvest). To see the red and yellow leaves, go to the Shiroyama Observatory Deck. You can get a bird’s eye view of the village and take in the Gassho houses and landscape surrounded by the beautiful shades of red and yellow. You can also visit again in the winter for another spectacular view. There are also similar scenery in the northern Hida, and the the Hida Furukawa Old Town is a place you should check out too if you are planning to go there instead.

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Last but not least, we must mention the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. You can take the cable car and enjoy the Autumn beauty on the go. Stop at the second station Bijodaira, which is known for viewing the Shomyo Waterfall. The scene from viewing deck is gorgeous. According to the official website of the route, now is the best time for Autumn foloiage viewing at Bijodaira and Shomyo Waterfall, colours at other parts of the route are already fading. There are chances you may see snow on the autumn leaves too!

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