Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tohoku – Aomori Prefecture

Aomori Prefecture 1~ 10

 

 1 Yagen Mountain Stream (薬研渓流) in Mutsu

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A photo posted by キソキソ (@kuwakeen) on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spots: Yagen Bridge, Koyo Bridge, Otome Bridge (Suspension Bridge), Rotenburo (open air bath)
Access: Take the bus from Shimokita Station (JR Omita Line) and get off at Ohata. From there it´s a 20min taxi ride (reservation before is necessary).
Address: Yagen, Ohata-machi, Mutsu-shi, 039-4401 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.en-aomori.com

 

 2 Mount Osore (恐山) in Mutsu

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A photo posted by Sachi Wakasa (@sachiwakasa) on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the beginning of November
Event: Autumn visit at Mount Osore!
Date: October 8th (Saturday) – October 10th (Monday), 6am – 6pm
Admission: 500 yen (adults), 200 yen (children)
Details: Different guided walks through the nature, Yosakoi performance, food stands, Segway, etc.
Access: 43 bus ride from Shimokita Station (JR Omita Line) until Osore-zan
Address: 3-2 Usoriyama, Tanabu, Mutsu-shi, 035-0021 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp

 

 3 Kawauchi River Valley (川内川渓谷) in Mutsu

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First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spots: Sekirei Bridge, Ajisai Bridge, Asunaro Bridge
Access: 15min Taxi ride from Kawauchimachi Station; 40min JR Bus ride from Ominato Station (JR Ominato Line) into Wakinosawa direction until Kawauchi
Address: Kawauchimachi, Mutsu-shi, 039-5201 Aomori
aomorishokoren.or.jp (Japanese only)
Ranking: ★★★★☆

4Jogakura Onsen & Jogakura Bridge (城ヶ倉温泉・城ヶ倉大橋) in Aomori

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First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October
Recommended Spots: view from Jogakura Bridge
Access: 1,5hour JR Bus ride from JR Aomori Station or JR Shin-Aomori Station into Towada-ko direction until Jogakura Onsen (30min walk)
Address: Minami-Arakawayama, Arakawa, Aomori-shi, 030-0111 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.en-aomori.com

 

5Lake Towada (十和田湖) in Towada

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Event: Oirase Mountain Stream Eco Road Festival 2016
Date: October 29th (Saturday) – October 30th (Sunday), 9am – 3pm
Details: Different guided walks through the nature, Yosakoi performance, food stands, Segway, etc.
Access: 2h15min bus ride from Hachinohe Station (JR Hachinohe Line, JR Tohoku Shinkansen, Aomori Railway Line); 2h45min bus ride from Shin-Aomori Station (JR Ou Main Line, JR Tohoku Shinkansen, JR Hokkaido Shinkansen)
Address: Kowadakohanyasumiya 486, Okuse, Towada-shi, 018-5501 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp

 

6Hakkoda Mountains (八甲田連峰) in Aomori

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First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spots: Hakkoda Ropeway, Tamoyachi Shitsugen
Access: 1hour JR Bus ride from JR Aomori Station or JR Shin-Aomori Station into Towada-ko direction until Hakkoda Ropeway Station Mae
Address: Hakkoda Ropeway Sanroku Station, 1-12 Kansuizawa, Arakawa, Aomori-shi, 030-0111 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.hakkoda-ropeway.jp

 

7Hirosaki Park (弘前公園) in Hirosaki

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Event: Chrysanthemum and Autumn-Color Festival of Hirosaki Castle
Date: October 21st (Friday) – November 13th (Sunday), 9am – 5pm (Admission to the park until 4:30pm)
Admission: Botanical Garden of Hirosaki Castle 310yen (adults), 100yen (children); Botanical Garden of Hirosaki Castle + Around the castle + Fujita memorial garden 510yen (adults), 160yen (children)
Access: 15min Konan Bus ride from Hirosaki Station (JR Ou Main Line, JR Gono Line, Konan Line) into Fujishiro Eigyosho direction until Shiyakusho Mae Koen Iriguchi
Address: 1-1 Shimoshirogane-cho, Hirosaki-shi, 036-8356 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.hirosakipark.jp

8Shirakami Sanchi (白神山地) in Nakatsugaru – Nishimeya Village

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First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spots: Anmon Waterfall sidewalk
Access: 1h10min taxi ride from Hirosaki Station (JR Ou Main Line, JR Gono Line, Konan Line); 1,5hour bus ride from Hirosaki Bus Terminal
Address: Between Meya Bridge and Anmon Waterfall, Tashiro, Nishimeya-mura, Nakatsugaru-gun, 036-1411 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.en-aomori.com

 

9Sukayu Onsen & Jigoku Numa (酸ヶ湯温泉・地獄沼) in Aomori

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First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October
Recommended Spots: Manju Fukashi, Sukayu Camping Ground
Access: 1h40min JR Bus ride from JR Aomori Station or JR Shin-Aomori Station into Towada-ko direction until Jogakura Onsen
Address: Jigoku Numa, Arakawa, Aomori-shi, 030-0111 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.en-aomori.com

 

10Nakano Maple Mountain (中野もみじ山) in Kuroishi

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October
Event: Nakano Maple Mountain Light-up ~ Light Fantasy
Date: October 13th (Thursday) – November 6th (Sunday), 4:30pm – 9pm
Access: 40min bus ride from Kuroishi Station (Konan Railway Konan Line) until Itadome (10min walk); 30min taxi ride from Kuroishi Station (Konan Railway Konan Line)
Address: Nakano Shrine, Fudodate 27, Minami-Nakano, Kuroishi-shi, 036-0405 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.en-aomori.com

Myriad Winter Festivals in Tohoku!

Hachinohe Enburi takes place February 17 to 20 in different corners of the city
Hachinohe Enburi takes place February 17 to 20 in different corners of the city

Hachinohe Enburi : Dance Parade for Good Harvest

Aomori’s Hachinohe shi holds an enburi festival every year from February 17 to 20 to celebrate the arrival of spring. The Hachinohe Enburi, with a history of 800 years, is said to have been invented by a farmer named Fujikuro. As the story goes, he promoted the substitution of singing and dancing for excessive drinking and quarrels during the New Year’s holiday.

An enburi parade, led by a dancer representing Fujikuro, features people playing cymbals, drums and flutes and performing dances representing scenes of farm work such as planting, sowing and praying for a good harvest. There is another type of enburi dance, too, which is more bold and lively: Dancers knock the ground with wooden sticks in an effort to wake the Rice God from hibernation.

Hachinohe: Hachinohe Station (JR Tôhoku Shinkansen)

Day: The highlight of the event is the procession of dancers who just paid respects at Chojasanshinra Shrine
Day: The highlight of the event is the procession of dancers who just paid respects at Chojasanshinra Shrine

Night: Oniwa Enburi takes place in a garden at night. Originally, it was performed only for powerful landlords and wealthy businesses owners.

Night: Oniwa Enburi takes place in a garden at night. Originally, it was performed only for powerful landlords and wealthy businesses owners.

Somin-sai : the Spirited Battle of Half-Naked Men

Participants climb the bonfire tower to bathe themselves in smoke to remove bad luck
Participants climb the bonfire tower to bathe themselves in smoke to remove bad luck

The Kokuseki Temple in Iwate’s Oshu city holds the Somin-sai every February. With a history of more than 1,200 years, the festival features enthusiastic men wearing only fundoshi (thin loincloths).
With torches in hand, the group starts from the temple at midnight and treks to the Ruritsubo River for cleansing, shouting “Jasso! Joyasa!” along the way. A bonfire shaped like a pound key is set up in front of the main hall of the temple. Participants can climb the 150-centimetre tall bonfire tower and bathe in the fire’s smoke, which some believe removes bad luck. Enduring harsh winds and ice-cold temperature, the men perform several other rituals to pray for health and a bountiful harvest. The long event ends with a competition for a “somin bag” (hemp sack), which is full of amulets and thought to be sacred. The person who seizes the bag is believed to receive good luck and happiness, and the competition lasts until early in the morning!

Kokuseki-ji Temple: 20 min from Mizusawaesashi Station (JR Tôhoku Shinkansen) by car

Kishu Kasedori : Not Your Ordinary Bird

Kasedori dance around a bonfire while singing
Kasedori dance around a bonfire while singing

On February 11, the annual Kishu Kasedori is celebrated in Kaminoyama (Yamagata ken). This unique and mysterious New Year’s ritual features people strolling through the streets dressed in kendai (plaited clothes made from rice straw, worn over the head and body like a giant conical hat). The costumes are shaped like cones so they grab the curious attention of crowds immediately. Wrapped in the enthusiastic atmosphere of this water-splashing event, the Kishu Kasedori Festival captivates everyone in this freezing area. It is said that Kasedori is the incarnation of the deity of abundant harvest and household safety. This festival has its roots in the beginning of the Edo period when local residents invited the deity down from the mountains to offer prayers for the new year.

Participants acting as Kasedori dance in circles and raise their voices singing “ga-ga!” as they visit local shops and pray for prosperous business and fire protection. While doing so, they are splashed with water from the audience. In addition, locals tie towels around the conical hats and pray for one year of family peace and thriving business.

People think of Kasedori as a bringer of good fortune. In fact, some say that women’s hair will become beautifully black after tying it with a rice straw fallen from the costume of the deity!

Kishu Kasedori is a traditional festival in Kaminoyama, Yamagata Prefecture
Kishu Kasedori is a traditional festival in Kaminoyama, Yamagata Prefecture
Don’t miss the chance to take a photo of yourself with the Kasedori!
Don’t miss the chance to take a photo of yourself with the Kasedori!
Splash the Kasedori with water and wish for family peace and prosperous business!
Splash the Kasedori with water and wish for family peace and prosperous business!

Kaminoyama: Kaminoyama Onsen Station (JR Tohoku Shinkansen)

Aizu Erousoku (Painted Candle Festival)

Painting candles, a traditional craft in Fukushima’s Aizu area, boasts a history of over 500 years. This festival is held in early February each year in Aizuwakamatsu shi’s Tsuruga Castle and Oyakuen Garden. A total of 10,000 painted candles decorate the venue and different corners of the city. Seeing them burning in the wind is like watching fireflies dance flittingly through the winter evening.
Tsuruga Castle and painted candles work in harmony
Tsuruga Castle and painted candles work in harmony

Aizuwakamatsu: 65 min from Kôriyama Station (JR Touhoku Shinkansen)to Aizawakamatsu Station by Train (JR Ban-etsu- West Line)

Sendai Pageant of Starlight

Sendai’s winter illumination always attracts throngs of tourists
Sendai’s winter illumination always attracts throngs of tourists
Every December, the beech trees on both sides of Aoba Street in Sendai are decorated with more than 100,000 LED lights, giving the city a soft, warm glow at night. Sendai’s most popular winter festival, it is an absolute treat for the eyes!

Sendai: Sendai Station ( JR Tôhoku Shinkansen)

Hirosaki Castle Yuki-Doro Festival (Snow Lantern Festival)

The Snow Lantern Festival, held in early February at Hirosaki Castle, is one of the five biggest snow festivals in Tohoku, featuring 300 snow lanterns handcrafted by locals, large snow structures based on historical architecture and gigantic slides. Dim candlelight glowing in miniature igloos adds a tinge of winter romance to the peaceful atmosphere.
Hirosaki Castle is especially atmospheric during the Snow Lantern Festival
Hirosaki Castle is especially atmospheric during the Snow Lantern Festival

Hirosaki: 30 min from Shin-Aomori Station (JR Ôu Line) to JR Hirosaki Station by Tsugara Limited Express

Spring events in Saitama

Days are becoming warmer and flowers are starting to bloom, this is the perfect time to visit Saitama city and see Japanese traditional crafts and beautiful Spring scenery!

Every March, Saitama city offers several events related to Hina dolls at the town of Iwasuki as well as several places to admire the cherry blossoms in full bloom.

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The town of Iwasuki in Saitama city is particularly known in the Kanto region for their Hina dolls. Lots of events are held before and after Hinamatsuri, or the Doll Festival, celebarted on March the 3rd. One of them is Machikado Hina Meguri, where you can see a beautiful parade of dolls and Taiko drums performances. During the festivities, you will be able to not just see the dolls but also try to make your own, learn to cook the local food and experience real Japanese culture. There are endless activities for you to enjoy.

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Event Information
The 14th Hina Doll Street Festival and the Machikado Hina Meguri
Date: February 25-March12
Place: Shopping streets around the East Exit of Iwatsuki Station.

At the beginning of March, the most popular places to admire the cherry blosoms start preparations to welcome guests. This year’s blooming forecast predicts that the cherry blossoms will be in full bloom around March 25th. Due to it’s proximity to Tokyo, Saitama city offers many beautiful and unique cherry blossom landscapes visited by thousands of people every year.

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Iwatsuki Joshi Park Sakura Festival (About 600 Sakura trees)
Date: April 1-2
Time: 10:00-16:00
Place: Iwatsuki Joshi Park
Cherry Blossoms Night Illumination
Date: Mar. 19-Apr. 9 (subject to changes in cherry blooming times)
Time: 18:00-21:00
Place: Iwatsuki Joshi Park Ayameike Pond

Saitama City’s famous Cherry Blossoms spots

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Omiya Park: About 1,000 cherry trees bloom from late March to early April. They are lit at night when in full bloom.
Access: 20-min walk from JR Omiya St., 10-min walk from Tobu Omiya Koen St. or Kita-Omiya St.

Saitama Stadium 2002
Every year you can admire beautiful cherry trees in full bloom just outside the stadium.
Access: 15-min walk from Urawamisono St.

Shirakami Sanchi – Aomori, Akita

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Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, this expansive wilderness is one of the last remaining untouched beech forest in Japan. Shirakami Sanchi, stretching from Aomori to Akita Prefecture, boasts myriad hiking trails leading to breathtaking, panoramic views, along with waterfalls. Escape the heat from the city during the spring and summer seasons when the area turns green.

Access: 55-min by bus from JR Hirosaki Station
URL: http://www.en-aomori.com/scenery-014.html

Oirase Keiryu – Aomori

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Oirase Keiryu, a picturesque stream flowing from Lake Towada, is representative of Japan’s unique beauty. You will never be bored by the enchanting waterfalls and stunning rocks along the 14-kilometer trek between Lake Towada’s Nenokuchi and Yakeyama. Be it the lush greens of summer or brilliant shades of red in autumn, the gorgeous sight itself is well worth the journey.

Access: 50-min by bus from JR Hachinohe Station to Yakiyama (Nearby lake Towada)
URL: http://towadako.or.jp/towadako-oirase/ (Japanese only)

Oga Peninsula – Akita

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The rugged peninsula, projecting west into the Sea of Japan, is home to the Namahage ogres (demon-like characters) in traditional Japanese folklore. Some of the breathtaking vistas include extensive cliff coastlines, the “Godzilla Rock” and a shrine with a flight of 999 steps, said to be built by the ogres themselves.

Access: The trip from JR Oga Station around the peninsula takes about two hours (excluding sightseeing time).
URL: https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/regional/akita/ogahantou.html

Tono – Iwate

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Tono – Iwate

Tono is the place to go and see how people live in beautiful harmony with nature, as Japan’s traditional landscape is perfectly preserved here. With old Japanese farmhouses and unchanged rural landscapes, you can discover ancient traditions and folklore in this countryside village beloved by all Japanese.

Tono tourism association office
Hours: 8am – 7pm
Adress: 5-8 Shinkoku-cho, Tono-shi, Iwate
Access: Right outside JR Tono Station (Kamaishi Line)
URL: http://www.tonojikan.jp/Several_languages/english/english.html

Sasagawa Nagare – Niigata

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Breathtaking coastline with a beautiful contrast between the clear blue sea and white sand. The strange name “Sasagawa Nagare” roughly translates to “Sasagawa Flow” and is meant to express the waves brushing the coastline and flowing back between the complex rock formations like a mountain stream. You can gaze upon the rocks towering above the coastline from a leisure cruise.

Access: Area around Kuwagawa Station (Uetsu Main Line)
URL: http://www.sasagawanagare.co.jp/ (Japanese only)

Zao – Yamagata, Miyagi

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Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, this expansive wilderness is one of the last remaining untouched beech forest in Japan. Shirakami Sanchi, stretching from Aomori to Akita Prefecture, _boasts myriad hiking trails leading to breathtaking, panoramic views, along with waterfalls. Escape the heat from the city during the spring and summer seasons when the area turns green.

Access: 55-min by bus from JR Hirosaki Station.

Miharu Takizakura – Fukushima

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Blossoms cascade like a waterfall from the top of one large benishidare (weeping cherry blossom) tree, leaving a stream of petals on the ground. During its nocturnal light-up period, this sakura is especially beautiful; all will be moved by such a magical sight.


Miharu Takizakura – Fukushima

Hours: 6am – 6pm
Admission: 300 yen (free for junior high students and younger)
Address: Sakurakubo 91, Taki, Miharu-machi, Tamura-gun, Fukushima
Access: 30-min by bus from JR Miharu Station
URL: http://www.tif.ne.jp/lang/en/sightseeing/topic.html?id=41&category=4

Kitakami Tenschochi – Iwate

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About 10,000 sakura (dating back more than 90 years) form a magnificent, 2-km long tunnel along the Kitakami river. Enjoy the intertwined someiyoshino (hybrid sakura), yamazakura (mountain sakura) and yaezakura (double cherry blossom) from the sightseeing carriage at a leisurely pace.

Kitakami Tenschochi – Iwate

Hours: 24/7
Address: Chiwari 10, Tachibana, Kitakami-shi, Iwate
Access: 12-min by bus from JR Kitakami Station, get off at Tenshochi bus stop
URL: http://www.kitakami-kanko.jp/english/events.php?itemid=47

Matsushima Bay – Miyagi

Sakura in Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu Park and Matsushima

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Saigyo Hoshi, a renowned Japanese poet during the 12th century, expressed his love for cherry blossoms, as evidenced by his famous poem, “let me die under the blossoms in spring”. From Yukari no Koen (Yukari Park) you can see the wonderful contrast of the bursting blossoms of someiyoshino cherry trees with green pine trees and the blue waters of Matsushima Bay, considered to be “one of the Three Views of Japan.”

Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu Park

Hours: 24/7
Address: Inuta 10-174, Matsushima, Matsushima-machi, Miyagi
Access: 5-min by car from Matsushima Kaigan Station
URL: http://sendai-travel.jp/places/saigyo-modoshi-no-matsu-park/

Matsushima Bay – Miyagi

Hours: 10am – 4pm
Admission: Between 1000 yen – 1500 yen for a cruise
Address: Chonai 98-1, Matsushima, Matsushima-machi, Miyagi
Access: 10-min walk from JR Matsushima Kaigan Station
URL: https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/regional/miyagi/matusima.html

Nebuta Matsuri

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Nebuta Matsuri Aomori City, Aomori Prefecture
Aug. 2 – 7
Highlight: fireworks festival on the final day

Aomori city comes alive every summer to celebrate the Nebuta festival. Historically the festival functioned as a means of keeping harvesters awake as they worked in the fields gathering rice and other produce. As dusk approaches the parade begins and many floats feature illuminated lanterns with various designs and shapes.

Hanagasa Matsuri

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Hanagasa Matsuri Yamagata City, Yamagata prefecture
Aug. 5 – 7
Highlight: different types of dances using straw flower hats

The iconic nature of the parade is the use of traditional agricultural workers hats decorated with red paper flowers that represent the beautiful safflower. The parade features all ages, with many young children dressed in traditional yukata. At the end of the festival, everyone is invited to celebrate and join in the last float, dancing the traditional hanagasa dance.

Waraji Matsuri

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Waraji Matsuri Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture
Aug. 3 – 6
Named after the traditional straw sandals for traveling, the 300-year-old festival features a huge waraji that measures 12 meters in length and weighs 2 tons. The gigantic waraji is carried in a parade by people who pray for strong walking and safe traveling before housed in a shrine.

Tanabata Matsuri

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Tanabata Matsuri Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture
Aug. 6 – 8
Highlight: beautiful streamers in the shopping arcades
and fireworks on Aug. 5

The main arcades all through Sendai city are adorned with beautifully hung, crafted spheres made of washi-paper and bamboo, with long streamers hanging down like celestial jelly fish. One can spend hours happily strolling through!

Kanto Matsuri

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Kanto Matsuri Akita City, Akita Prefecture
Aug. 3 – 6
Highlight: see participants balance 50kg lantern poles

A chorus of bamboo flutes signals the start of the festival and immediately various groups of men hoist the 12-meter bamboo poles hanging paper lanterns into the air. The Kanto festival can best be described as a performance of local groups showcasing their amazing dexterity and remarkable balancing prowess.

Forget ramen – the noodles here are one-of-a-kind!

Wanko Soba

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These soba noodles are for the competitive eater! Stack up your dishes and see who will become the noodle master. These small servings can quickly add up and a popular goal is to reach one hundred bowls of soba.

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This dish uses flat noodles made from soy and wheat and is considered one of the “Three Great Noodles of Morioka.” One defining feature is its miso paste, which is different in every restaurant. Enjoy it with a variety of vegetables and finish by mixing your remaining miso paste with a special egg soup.

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Negi Soba

If you’re not confident in your chopstick skills, this dish is for you! This peculiar soba is scooped with a long, curved green onion and is a specialty of Ouchi-Juku in Fukushima prefecture. To add some flavor, you can actually eat your utensil with your soba!

Inaniwa Udon

This extraordinary noodle is the only one of its kind. Inaniwa udon is thinner than regular udon, glossier than ramen and is typically handmade. This udon is quite chewy, giving it a pleasant texture. It’s no surprise that it’s considered one of Japan’s “Three Greatest Udon.”

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Reimen

Another one of the “Three Great Noodles of Morioka,” reimen is served chilled with a piece of fruit. Don’t get cold feet! The combination works surprisingly well and the soup is designed to taste best when cold.

Shiroishi Umen

There is a tale from the Edo period about a son looking for a dietary food for his sick father. He met a monk who told him about a way to make noodles without oil. His father recovered quickly and the dish was named after the area, Shiroishi. These noodles have a smooth taste from being kneaded with salt water.

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Yamagata castle (Kajo Park)

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Kajo Park covers the site of the former Yamagata Castle and has a beautiful variety of sakura. Take a walk around the castle moat enclosed in sakura, and watch how the trees brush the surface, painting the water with swirls of pink petals. At night, the illuminated park castes a magical light on the flowers.

Yamagata castle (Kajo Park)

Hours: 5:30am – 10pm
Admission: Free
Address: Kajomachi 1-1, Yamagata-shi, Yamagata
Access: 10-min walk from JR Yamagata Station
URL: http://yamagatakanko.com.e.db.hp.transer.com/spotdetail/?data_id=395

Sansa Matsuri

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Sansa Matsuri Morioka, Iwate Prefecture
Aug. 1 – 4
The charm of the festival lies in a parade where taiko drummers and dancers proceed through the city. The origin can be traced back to a legend about a wicked demon. In summer evenings, locals would dress up in fancy costumes and dance and play drums to scare the demon away.

Pilgrimage to the 33 Kannon Buddha Temples


Aizu Culture through the eyes of a pilgrim


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Aizuwakamatsu, or Aizu for short, is a historic castle town known as the “land of the last samurai” in the Aizu district of Fukushima Prefecture in Tohoku. The people of Aizu were people of good faith and had a custom of paying respect to all 33 Kannon Buddha temples in the form of a pilgrimage. More than a tough, ascetic ritual, though, this pilgrimage was for entertainment.
In the Edo period, people would journey to the temples for sightseeing; even now, many people make the pilgrimage with friends. The image of Kannon makes its appearance everywhere, from wonderful temples in the city to the stone Buddhas in the mountains. Follow us on our journey as we visit some of them.

Visit the 33 Kannon Buddha Temples around Aizuwakamatu

Kannon, known as Kuan Yin or Goddess of Mercy to the Chinese, was known to have 33 manifestations. Most of the temples are modest, wooden structures, each dedicated to the various manifestation of Kannon. For example the Eryu-ji temple is dedicated to Juichimen Senju Kannon, the eleven-faced, one-thousand armed Kannon. The massive statue, standing at 8.5 meters high, was carved out of one single tree by Kobo Daishi (Kukai), the founder of Shingon Buddhism, in 808. It is designated as a National Treasure of Japan.

The temple itself was built in 1190. The statue is guarded by 28 Busyu divine generals and the gods of Wind and Thunder. The temple is believed to help visitors to overcome their negative attitude in life.
Another unique temple on the trail is Sazaedo Temple on Iimoriyama Hill, built in 1796 with an extraordinary, 16.5 meters high, three-storey hexagonal structure with a sloping double-helix ramp. Visitors ascend the ramp in a clockwise direction and descend anti-clockwise, thus not retracing any steps in their spiral track. It is an ingenious design.
Sazaedo
Sazaedo

In a forest on a remote mountain in Aizumisato, built in 830 at an altitude of 380 meters high, stands a simple but important rustic wooden temple called Sakudari Kannon Temple that is wedged against a rock face. It is said that Kukai founded this temple and carved its 80 centimeters high principle image, Kubinashi Kannon, which is placed upon an altar in a grotto concealed from public view. Not only is the structure of the temple truly amazing, the view is simply breathtaking.

Sakudari Kannon Temple
Sakudari Kannon Temple
Aizumisato
Aizumisato
Sakudari Kannon Temple
Sakudari Kannon Temple

Road to the Edo Period

The main street of Ouchi-Juku
The main street of Ouchi-Juku
There is a place where you can still enjoy the same experiences as a traveler from long ago: Ouchi-Juku, which lies south of Aizuwakamatsu on an old road called “Aizu Nishikaido.” The village is reminiscent of the old post towns on the ancient trade route in the Edo period; merchants and feudal lords would pass this way to rest and refresh. It is a living museum of old traditional houses with thatched roofs and bustling shops selling food, drinks and souvenirs. Here, you can experience and enjoy how the people of Aizu spent their everyday lives and lived their faith.

Another Japan Heritage

Aizu is a region steeped in samurai culture and natural beauty. One of the many scenic spots here is Lake Inawashiro, a beautiful lake surrounded by mountain ranges. It is a popular place for recreation for the local people, and also serves as the lifeline of the area by providing water for agriculture and hydro-electricity. The building of the canal during the Meiji era lead to the agricultural development of a previously barren land, and is considered a Japanese heritage site.
Lake Inawashiro
Lake Inawashiro
Tsuruga Castle
Tsuruga Castle
Eryuji Temple
Eryuji Temple
Sazaedo
Hours: 8:15am – sundown (April through December), 9am – 4pm (January
through March) Admission: 200 yen (middle and primary school students), 300
yen (university and high school students), 400 yen (adults)
Access: 4-min by
Akabe bus from Aizu-Wakamatsu Station, get off at Imoriyama shita.
Sakudari Kannon Temple
Access: 12-min by car from Amaya Station (Aizu Railway Line)
Ouchi-Juku
Access: 15-min by car from Yunokami Onsen Station (Aizu Railway Line)
Lake Inawashiro
Access: Area around Inawashiro Station (Ban-etsu-West Line)
The interior of a local restaurant in Ouchi-juku
The interior of a local restaurant in Ouchi-juku

Japan Heritage
http://www.bunka.go.jp/seisaku/bunkazai/nihon_isan/pdf/nihon_isan_pamphlet_english.pdf

There are two other Japanese Heritage sites in Tohoku.

In this edition, we briefly mentioned “The waterway that cleared the way to the future” (Fukushima Prefecture), and the “Culture honed by Date Masamune” (Miyagi prefecture) inspired by Sengoku warlords, these will be featured in our next publication of WAttention Tohoku 2017 Autumn & Winter Edition.
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Nature and worship “A journey of rebirth”


In The Realm of the Gods at Dewa Sanzan

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In many cultures, mountains often have religious significance and are regarded as abodes of the gods. Tohoku has three holy mountains, known collectively as Dewa Sanzan, that is regarded as one of the most sacred sites in the country. Its landscape is defined by the stunning natural beauty of mystical mountains, volcanic lakes, hot springs and farmlands. This is where the soul of Japan lies in its traditional and religious culture, and where ancient mountain worship is still very much practiced. Against this background, we embarked on an epic journey to trace the footsteps of pilgrims who are followers of Shugendo.

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The Three Mountain Blessings

Shugendo is an ethnic religion influenced by Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism and spiritual faith. Its main purpose is to strengthen the connection between people and nature, reaching enlightenment in this way. Practitioners preach the teaching that “nature is a manifestation of the gods and we should live alongside it with respect.” Mountains and forests have paramount importance in Shugendo. The Dewa Sanzan mountains of Mt Haguro (419m), Mt Gassan (1984m) and Mt Yudono (1504m) are the centres of pilgrimage in the region. The followers, known as Shugenjas or Yamabushi (mountain monks), have been following the rites of worship for the last 1,400 years. Followers embark on long pilgrimages and practice austere feats of physical endurance of natural elements as an ascetic rite of passage to gain spiritual power. We had the privilege of experiencing the immersive ceremony of Shugendo first hand by visiting the three sacred mountains that represents the present, death and rebirth at Mt Haguro, Mt Gassan and Mt Yudono respectively.

Praying in the Official Shinto Style at Mt. Haguro
We arrived at Mt. Haguro as dusk was setting in and, after a short visit to Ideha Museum nearby to get an insight of Shugendo and Dewa Sanzan, we entered the sacred site through the torii, a wooden gateway that is found in all sacred sites in Japan. A long flight of stone steps, known as the Ishi-Dan, led down to an enchanting forest with towering cedar trees along the ancient pilgrim route. The 1.7km trail built in 1648 has 2,446 steps leading to the Sanjin Gosaiden shrine at the summit. There are 33 carvings etched on the steps and it is believed that if you can find all 33, your wishes will come true. As we were pressed for time, we could only follow the sacred path as far as the 600-year-old Goju-no-to, the five-storied pagoda, a recorded national treasure. In the gloom of the forest, the ornate pagoda exuded an air of mysticism that lent to the belief that a deity of the forest lives in it.
The Ishi-Dan, Mt. Haguro
The Ishi-Dan, Mt. Haguro

When we arrived at Sanjin Gosaiden, the main shrine at the summit, we were met by a Yamabushi dressed in his traditional religious garb. He sounded a horagai, a religious conch trumpet, as a welcome and to ward off bad spirits. We were led to the inner sanctum of the shrine. There, a monk dressed in a splendid ceremonial robe with motifs of cranes performed a special ceremony accompanied by a beating taiko drum, followed by space clearing of malevolent energy around us by wafting a pole with white paper strips attached to the end and ringing bells to cleanse the air. He then chanted some mantras in a trance-like voice, which reverberated around the room, sending powerful vibrations into the ambience. We felt blessed and awed as we bowed twice, clapped our hands twice and bowed once again, completing the ritual where we were “spiritually born.”

Sanjin Gosaiden, Mt. Haguro
Sanjin Gosaiden, Mt. Haguro
Shukubo, Mt. Haguro
Shukubo, Mt. Haguro
We stayed the night at a shukubo, a traditional temple lodge owned by a Yamabushi and his wife, who welcomed us graciously by kneeling Japanese style where they sat on the floor with their legs folded behind them. The delightful lodge was immaculately clean and the minimalist décor was the personified tranquility that we badly needed after a long journey. I would highly recommend staying in a shukubo to attain a Zen state of mind. Early next morning, our landlord performed a Shinto ritual prayer to bless us and wished us a safe journey to Mt Gassan and Mt. Yudono.

Stepping to Mt. Gassan and Mt. Yudono

We headed to Mt. Gassan in howling wind and rain to visit a shrine. The pilgrimage trail was officially closed for the season, but we braved the elements by treading precariously on the path of a slippery, wooden walkway laid across a marshland of dwarf bamboo and grassland.
After twenty minutes’ walk, we reached a small shrine presided by a giant stone rabbit, the guardian of the mountain.

Mt. Yudono
Mt. Yudono
This mountain symbolized the path to death and it was apt that the short journey we took in the inclement weather seemed to convey that message. In the summer, pilgrims could hike to the summit, where the main shrine lies; from there, they could also hike to Mt. Yudono, the last mountain on the holy trail.
Our visit to Mt. Yudono was an epic experience where we were sworn to secrecy by the priest about the ceremony of “rebirth” that we underwent to symbolize being spiritually reborn to start a new journey in life. It is a taboo to divulge the secret of the ritual, but suffice to say that the experience is something I will always remember.

Dewa Sanzan is a pilgrimage, but mere mortals with spiritual interest will find the journey enlightening and soul stirring. Reflecting on my own awesome experience of the religious encounter, I now appreciate why mountains belong to the realms of the gods.

Hagurosan

Access: 40-min by bus from JR Tsuruoka Station, get off at Zuishinmon.
55-min by bus to the summit.
URL:http://www.dewasanzan.jp/publics/index/47/

Gassan

Hours: Closed late September until June
Access: 1h30-min by Shonan-
Kotsu bus from JR Tsuruoka Station to Gassan Hachigome.
URL:ttp://www.dewasanzan.jp/publics/index/48/

Yudonosan

Hours: Closed late September until June Admission: 500 yen
Access: 1h30-min by Shonan-Kotsu bus from JR Tsuruoka Station to
Yudonosan.
URL:http://www.dewasanzan.jp/publics/index/49/

Hirosaki Castle – Aomori

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This is one of Japan’s three major sakura spots. The castle, as a backdrop to the flowers, provides the area with a reminiscent image. Not to be missed during full bloom are the flower petals on the castle’s outer moat, resembling a flower carpet. While the castle tower is under renovation this year, the beauty of the sakura stays unchanged.


Hirosaki Castle – Aomori

Hours: 9am – 5pm (paid area, closed from Nov. 24 – Mar. 31)
Admission: 510 yen (adults) and 160 yen (children) for full access to all paid areas
Address: Shimoshirogane-cho 1, Hirosaki-shi, Aomori
Access: 9-min by bus (Konan Dote-machi loop line) from JR Hirosaki Station, get off at Shiyakusho Mae (City Hall) bus stop
URL: http://www.hirosakipark.jp/en/

Skiing on the slopes of Mt. Fuji

The ultimate Japanese winter experience

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It’s hard to imagine a better way to experience the Japanese winter than to slide down the slopes of Japan’s most iconic and sacred mountain, Mt. Fuji. Located at an altitude of over 1,300 m on its southern slope, Snowtown Yeti is a ski and snowboarding park that offers visitors four different runs, three lifts and incredible views of the snow-capped mountain.

The park is connected to Shinjuku station’s west exit by the direct Linerbus which takes two hours and half to reach the park. There are also buses from the nearby Mishima, Gotemba and Fuji Stations. Upon arrival, visitors can then rent the necessary equipment and enjoy the thrill of skiing and snowboarding on the slopes of Mt. Fuji. Snowtown Yeti features courses for all levels with an average inclination of 11 degrees and up to 25 degrees for a more challenging experience.

The winter season starts early at Snowtown Yeti, as the park opens in mid October, when man-made snow covers the slopes, and the park even has all-night skiing days where the park remains open until early morning.

Three of our WAttention Ninja got the opportunity to experience a full day of skiing and snowboarding at Snowtown Yeti and this is what they had to say about the trip.

Lucas Vandenbroucke

The trip started off really well, since the bus was confortable and had Wi-Fi connection. When we arrived to Snowtown Yeti, we rented our equipment, which was of a very good quality, and completely water proof. The ski runs where adapted to different levels of skill. The weather that day was great for skiing and snowboarding and we enjoyed a fun day of going down the slopes. We also had time to rest at the restaurant and purchase gear at the shop where you can buy all you need to enjoy a full day out in the snow. I’m glad to have experienced skiing in such a great place, and in the company of my friends.
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I had an amazing day at Snowtown Yeti. The gear we got was comfortable and top notch. There were some restaurants too, where they serve appetizing hot meals. There was also a place where we could buy our own ski equipment like gloves or googles. We had fun enjoying the slopes, which had different levels, for both beginners and advanced skiers. Overall, we had an amazing time and I’m looking forward to come back soon.

Simon Brodard

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Ricard Roddy

The first thing I realized when we arrived is that we were already at the top of the slope, so we didn’t have to wait to get on the ski lift, we were able to start having fun right away. I really liked that you can buy all the equipment you need at the park, since I had forgotten my gloves. That really saved my day! You can find everything you need on site, restaurant, shop, rental gear and changing rooms with lockers. I spent such a good time with my friends, that when we left we wanted to come back again the next day! I would definitely like to recommend this place to anyone who wants to have an amazing day.
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Sample schedule using the Fujikyu Direct Linerbus from Shinjuku Station
schedule

Snowtown Yeti

Open: Weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., weekends and public holidays from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., all-night skiing 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. the next morning (available on certain days).
Open mid-october to early April of every year.
Address: 2428 Aza Fujiwara, Suyama, Susono-shi, Shizuoka Prefecture 410-1231
Phone: 055-998-0636
Website: http://www.yeti-resort.com/en/
Access: Take the Fujikyu Direct Linerbus near Shinjuku west exit, in front of Kogakuin University.
Price: Yeti Liner Package (Yeti direct liner bus + rental ski + 1 day ticket) Adult 9,000-9,500 JPY, Child (6 to 11) 7,000-7,500 JPY. Please check Snowtown Yeti’s website for all-night skiing rates and other pricing information.

Enjoy the Mt. Fuji Area to the fullest with this useful tools

・Mt. Fuji Pass
This is a tourist pass especially made for foreigners visiting Japan. Save on sightseeing and transportation and get preferential access to different tourists facilities, including Fuji Q Highland.
Find out more here: http://bus-en.fujikyu.co.jp/mtpass/
fuji-q-resorts-
・Fuji-Q Resorts App
Get insider tips to make the most out of your visit to the Mt. Fuji area
The app is available in Japanese, Chinese, English and Thai
Find out more here: http://app.fujiq-resorts.com/fuji-qresorts/lp/
apli

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Kyushu

Kyushu is located on the southernmost tip of Japan and has a warmer, more tropical climate than the rest of the country. Peppered with lovely beaches, hot springs, and historical spots, this area also prides itself with unique food, festivals and culture.

Okinawa : Spots 1 ~ 9

Quick jump links:

3Nakijin Castle Ruins
End of January to early February
4Nago Central Park
End of January to early February
7Manko Park
End of January to early February

Go to Okinawa list top

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa

Okinawa 1~ 9

 

1Yaese Park (八重瀬公園) in Yaese Town

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Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: Beautiful view of southern Okinawa including cherry blossoms. Light-up of 500 cherry blossom trees during the evening.
Access: About 60min by car from Naha airport
Address: Tomori 1607, Yaese-cho, Shimajiri-gun, 901-0402 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
goryokaku-tower.co.jp

 

2Yaedake Sakura-no-mori Park (八重岳桜の森公園) in Motobu Town

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Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: 7000 Ryukyu Kanhi cherry blossoms will color the mountain view. Cherry blossom light-up during the evening.
Access: About 120min by car from Naha airport
Address: 921 Namizato, Motobu-cho, Kunigami-gun, 905-0222 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
okinawatravelinfo.com

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


3Nakijin Castle Ruins (今帰仁城跡) in Nakijin Village

Viewing preiod: End of January to early February
Details: Ocean view including Kanhi cherry blossoms. Light-up during the evening.
Access: About 90min by car from Naha airport
Address: 5101 Imadomari, Nakijin, Kunigami-gun, 905-0428 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
okinawatravelinfo.com


4Nago Central Park (名護中央公園) in Nago City

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details:The entire area has 200,000 cherry blossom trees. Enjoy look at them while walking a 2km long path to the castle.
Access: About 90min by car from Naha airport
Address: 5511 Nago, Nago-shi, 905-0012 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
okinawa-information.com

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


5Yogi Park (与儀公園) in Naha City

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: 400 Hikan cherry blossom trees could be seen along the riverside.
Access: About 20min by car from Naha airport
Address: 1-1-1 Yorimiya, Naha-shi, 902-0076 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp.e.wp.hp.transer.com


6Darumayama Park (だるま山園地) in Kumejima Town

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Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: You can enjoy Hikan cherry blossoms and beautiful flowers surrounded by the sea.
Access: About 4 hours by ferry from Naha city
Address: Uezu, Kumejima-cho, Shimajiri-gun, 901-3138 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
ritou.com

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


7Manko Park (漫湖公園) in Naha City

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: Nice view of a large row of bright pink-colored cherry blossom trees together with a river.
Access: About 10min by car from Naha airport
Address: 3-23-1 Kohagura, Naha-shi, 900-0024 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com


8Sueyoshi Park (末吉公園) in Naha City

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Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: Watch Hikan cherry blossoms by hiking through the jungle-like path.
Access: About 20min by car from Naha airport
Address: Shurisueyoshi-cho 1-3-1, Naha-shi, 903-0801 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
okinawatravelinfo.com

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


9Kunigami Forest Park (国頭村森林公園) in Kunigami Village

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: Fantastic view from the top of the hill surrounded by cherry blossoms.
Access: About 120min by car from Naha airport
Address: 1094 Hentona, Kunigami-son, 905-1411 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tripadvisor.com

First Shrine visit of the year – Hatsumode

New Year’s is one of the most important holidays on the Japanese calendar. During the Edo period and the old way of counting, everyone was one year old at birth (because they counted the time you were in the womb) and aged one year on New Year’s day. The beginning of a new year symbolizes a fresh start and people do a thorough cleaning of their homes before stepping into the new year. By the way, 2017 is the year of the Rooster and this year’s element is fire.

After having celebrated at a Buddhist temple everyone heads to a Shinto shrine to pay their first respects of the year. This may happen right after midnight, as shrines are open with food stalls and ready to sell good luck charms. If you go during the day you will definitely spot people dressed in kimono amongst the thousands of people (sometimes even a million!) queueing to pray for the shrine. Many people will be dressed in kimono as a formal gesture to the shrine or temple.

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The origin of Hatsumode

The first shrine visits on New Year’s date back to the Heian period (794 – 1185) when the head of the household would pray at the family’s shrine in a secluded room. During New Year’s a god is supposed to visit each and every one of his/her shrines to give blessings. People wanted to lessen the burden on the gods by going out and visiting the shrine. During the Edo period (1603 – 1868), praying on New Year’s changed from a secluded room to a public shrine. People would pray at the shrine nearest to that year’s eho(恵方), or “lucky direction”. You can find your nearest shrine on this useful eho map. You have roughly until the 7th of January to visit a shrine.

Hatsumode was a way to celebrate going from the cold winter to the milder temperatures of spring. The coming of cherry blossoms and growing plants signals a new beginning. When Japan entered the Meiji era (1868) the Japanese government decided to have a standardized calendar instead of the ever-changing Japanese lunar calendar (1873). This made New Year’s day fall in the middle of winter instead of the beginning of Spring.

Charms and Prayers

Besides paying respect, people buy charms and bring their old ones so the temple can burn them. It is unlucky to throw away a charm as a god is believed to reside in it. You can bring any charm you don’t want anymore to a temple and they will professionally take care of it for you.

Old Charms

Buy a mikuji(fortune telling paper) from the Miko(Shinto priestess) and see if this year will be a good one. At big shrines they usually have English mikuji for foreigners, so don’t worry if you can’t read Japanese. If you have a paper with bad luck you tie it to a branch near the shrine, preferably a pine tree. The words for “pine” (松 matsu) and “wait”(待つ matsu) sound similar. Your bad luck will wait by the tree instead of staying with you.

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According to an old belief, you should not make a detour when returning home from the shrine. In order not to “spill” any of the good luck, you need to take the shortest way back. If someone died in your family last year you are advised not to visit a shrine either, as “death” is seen as impure. Each shrine and temple has a different view of death, so some shrines might have no problem with this.

Where to visit?

For the best luck, it’s good to follow your eho and visit the nearest shrine. After all, this god is closest to your home and can thus provide the best protection. If you want to visit a popular shrine, Rakuten Travel has made a list of the best shrines to visit for 2017 (Japanese only). Here is their top 10:

1) Imado Jinja – Asakusa, Tokyo (luck, wealth, love and finding a good partner)
2) Shinsoji Temple – Narita, Chiba (traffic safety, business related wealth, safety)
3) Atsuta Shrine – Nagoya, Aichi (safety for your home/family, business prosperity)
4) Nikko Toshogu Shrine – Nikko, Tochigi (longevity, safety for your home, realization of one’s earnest wish)
5) Samukawa Shrine – Samukawa, Kanagawa (traffic safety, protection from all directions, warding off evil)
6) Sensoji Temple – Asakusa, Tokyo (business prosperity, safety for your home, academic performance)
7) Ise Grand Shrine – Ise, Mie (safety for your home, easy childbirth)
8) Izumo Taisha – Izumo, Shimane (marriage, safety for your home, good luck)
9) Fushimi Inari Taisha – Kyoto, Kyoto (prosperous business, good harvest)
10) Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine – Dazaifu, Fukuoka (academics, passing an exam, finding employment)

If you’re still unsure of where to go, you can check out this shrine guide for Hatsumode (Japanese only).

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How to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Japan

The Japanese way of celebrating New Year’s is very different from Western countries. New Year’s is possibly the most important day of the year and is usually celebrated with family or good friends. We’ll take you through a typical day leading up to the first day of the new year.

Write Nengajo

During the old days people would visit everyone they were grateful to for the past year on the first day of the new year. Nowadays everyone lives quite spread out so postcards became the new way to express gratitude. Japan takes nengajo very serious and if you send your cards before the deadline the trusty Japanese post office will make 100% sure your card arrives on New Year’s day.
Sometime during December the post boxes will have a separate nengajo slot. Read about how to write nengajo.

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2017 is the year of the Rooster

Eat Soba

These noodles are eaten on the last day of the year and are called toshikoshi soba. Their connection with New Year’s Day has different origins. Examples are the belief that because soba is cut easily you can easily let go of your hardships, long noodles help you “cross over” to the new year, soba “absorbs” the evil in your body and many more… Every region has a different reason.
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Prepare Osechi

Cooking on the first 3 days of the new year is considered bad luck, so families prepare a feast on or before New Year’s Eve. Every ingredient has a special meaning and can be difficult to prepare for a whole family, so nowadays most people order osechi boxes.
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Get your ornaments ready

After cleaning your house to welcome the New Year’s gods it’s time to start decorating. These decorations can also be set up in advance (but not too far) to ensure a “clean break” between the old and the new year.

First you’ll put up a Kadomatsu, an ornament with three bamboo shoots stuck in pine branches. The shoots represent heaven, earth and humanity. The gods live in the kadomatsu until January 7th. They are taken to a shrine and burned to send the spirits back to their realm.
kadomatsu

Then it’s time to get your Kagami Mochi and put it next to your Shinto altar. These are two stacked round rice cakes topped with a mikan (mandaring orange). Traditionally they used a citrus fruit called “daidai”. This fruit is usually not eaten because of its bitterness and has the ability to stay on its branch for several years if it’s not picked. Thus the fruit became connected with the wish for “prosperity for many generations”. The rice cakes represent the mirror of the sun goddess Amaterasu.

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Watch a singing competition on TV

This might seem strange, but over the years this has become a popular New Year’s tradition. NHK’s Kōhaku Uta Gassen, or Year-end Song Festival, is a singing competition between a red and white team. These teams consist of popular idols and celebrities and is considered an honor to participate in. It is the top-ranked music event of the year.

Visit a Buddhist temple

The singing competition ends just before midnight so you have enough time to go to your nearest Buddhist temple. The monks sound the bell 108 times, symbolizing all the human desires. The sound of the bell is meant to cleanse your spirit.
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First shrine visit and the first sunrise

The first shrine visit of the year is called hatsumode and many people choose to do it right after midnight. Shrines have prepared enough sweet sake to toast the new year and food stalls are set up until the early morning. The first sunrise is called hatsuhinodeand many people stay up late or wake up early to experience this beautiful sight.

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Unique Christmas Desserts

Just as the seasons inspire traditional Japanese confectionery, the Western-style shops are inspired as well. Especially during Christmas season!

Snowglobe Dessert (1,200 yen)

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PR Times

Working Holiday Connection is collaborating with a café in Harajuku to raise money for people who want to make a change abroad. Only available from Dec. 16th, 2016 – Dec. 25th, 2016. Be quick to grab these adorable snowglobes as the café only has 60 seats. The main components are pistacchio and raspberry mousse, champagne jelly and cake pieces. Truly a Christmas delight!

Information
Working Holiday Connection
Harajuku Omotesando YM square shop
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Jingumae 4-chome 31-10 YM square Harajuku 2F
4-31-10, Jinguumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 11am – 11pm every day
TEL: 03-6434-0359
URL: http://wh-c.jp/

2016 Kid’s Dream Cake (5,400 yen)

Christmas Cake
PR Times

Well-known bakery chain “Ginza Cozy Corner” launched a competition to design your Christmas Dream Cake, and this is the grand prize winner! Chosen from 17,663 participants, 5-year old Manami Hirano’s design won the honor of being realised in cake form. Her “Christmas Rainbow Cake” can only be pre-ordered and there is a limited quantity of 200 cakes. Each cake serves about 6-7 portions.

Information
Ginza Cozy Corner
Shop list (600 shops all over Japan): http://bit.ly/2ddBZBP
Order deadline: until Dec. 18th, 2016
Delivery/Pick-up date: Dec. 23-24-25, 2016

Christmas Doughnuts (190 yen ~)

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PR Times

If you’re not into the classic Christmas Cake, here are some Christmas doughnuts! Floresta is known for its animal doughnuts that now received a Christmas twist. Besides the cute designs, there are also walnut and rum doughnuts for a limited time during Christmas. Your friends will be surprised when you bring this tasty alternative to a Christmas party. Floresta uses all-natural ingredients from Hokkaido such as flour and soymilk.

Information
Shop list: http://bit.ly/2h0T3MT (Japanese only)
Limited until Dec. 25th, 2016

Christmas Tree Pancake Parfait (1,790 yen)

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PR Times

Since its opening last year the Kawaii Monster Cafe in Harajuku has been charming diners with colorful dishes and crazy concoctions. Ingredients of this parfait are green tea mousse, cheese mousee and vanilla ice cream. This Christmas tree and snowman are made from cake and more ice cream.

Information
Kawaii Monster Cafe Harajuku
Shibuya Jingumae 4-31-10 YM square 4F
Hours: Mon-Sat 11:30am – 4:30pm (lunch) 6pm – 10:30pm (dinner) / Sunday 11am – 8:30pm
Url: http://kawaiimonster.jp/pc/

Christmas Trifle (800 yen)

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PR Times

Cute little strawberry Santas on top of fruit-filled layers. No sugary whipped cream is used so you can savor all the natural flavors.

Information
Nicolas House Harajuku
Limited time menu until Dec. 30th, 2016
address: Shibuya-ku Jingumae 4-26-5 1.2F
Hours: Weekdays 11am – 8pm (last order at 7pm) , Weekends 10am – 8pm (last order at 7pm)
URL: http://www.nicolasusagi.com/

Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


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Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

History of Christmas in Japan

If you’re in Japan during the Christmas season you might be wondering why Christmas decorations are so prevalent. After all, only about 2% of the Japanese population is Christian and as good as all the holy places are Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples.

What you will probably see during Christmas in Japan

People standing in long lines at department stores, cake shops and KFC stores waiting to buy their goods they ordered at least five days before while couples are heading to expensive restaurants on an illuminated street with a Christmas tree.

To see why the celebration of Christmas in Japan is so unique, it is necessary to know its history in the land of the rising sun.

First a bit of background history:

Christianity (and foreigners in general) used to be banned

That’s right. The first Christmas mass was held in 1552 in Yamaguchi prefecture by Portuguese missionaries and involved extensive bible readings. When more and more missionaries started to get involved with political affairs in Japan, the lords started to get worried. In order to get rid of this foreign influence as soon as possible, they banned Christianity and all who practiced it in 1614. Christians were prosecuted and forced into hiding. You can still find remnants of these hidden communities in Japan. Not only Christians, but all foreigners were denied entry to Japan under its “closed country” policy. The hidden Christians, cut off from all foreign and traditional Christian influence, had to do everything on their own, sometimes camouflaging the symbols and iconography of their faith in plain sight with Christian statues resembling Buddha and statues of Virgin Mary resembling the goddess Kannon. Because of their secretive nature many rituals were never discovered, including their rituals concerning Christmas.

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Japan was open for Christmas business

Japan was still very chaotic when they opened up the country and entered a new era in 1854, so Christmas wasn’t immediately noticed. However, more and more foreigners came to Japan for business or pleasure. Some of them settled and started doing Christmas parties on their own. The record of the first Christmas tree in Japan was decorated in 1860 by the Earl of Eulenburg from Prussia (before it became Germany) and was set up in the embassy where he was stationed. There is also record of Katsu Kaishu, a prominent Japanese statesman and naval engineer and his family attending a Christmas party at the house of an American family in 1875.

After centuries of isolation, many Japanese were eager to find out more about these foreign cultures, embracing the progress and applying it to Japanese society. Very soon, the celebration Christmas started to bloom wherever there was a concentration of foreigners, leading to the public Christmas tree being set up in Ginza in 1900 by Meiji-ya. This lit the fire of the so-called Christmas “sales battle” between department stores, hotels and other luxury businesses in Japan.

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History of Christmas in Japan

The reason why Japanese people have fried chicken for Christmas

After the end of World War II Christmas became synonymous with “peace”, something the people desperately needed. The Christmas celebrations made a return and so did the cakes. More Western people and soldiers settled in Japan and had to adapt their Christmas to what they could get in Japan. Seeing as they couldn’t find any turkey, Western households substituted it with chicken. This would later pave the way for Kentucky Fried Chicken to build a Christmas chicken imperium.

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When television became a regular “must have” appliance in every Japanese household during the 70’s and 80’s KFC was the first brand to take advantage of its advertising capabilities. They started a clever campaign that said “Christmas is Kentucky” and the ball started rolling. In 1970 a missionary kindergarten in Aoyama asked the KFC delivery guy to come dressed as Santa Claus because they were having a Christmas party. He came in full outfit saying “merry Christmas” and from then on other kindergartens started ordering KFC on Christmas.
Department stores began to set up Christmas decorations and light-up festivals were organized. More than a family holiday, Christmas became time to enjoy the experience of being with those close to you. A new media-hype started to advertise Christmas as THE holiday to spend with your loved one, the first advertisement is believed to have been released by Japan Railways (JR). Christmas turned into a winter version of Valentine’s Day, but who can blame the Japanese. All those pretty lights, the happy atmosphere and the spirit of peace. It’s all very romantic.


WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE

Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.

MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Japan Winter Street Food

Japan is sensitive to the seasons and this is reflected in their food. When the scenery changes the food stalls change as well. Here’s some of the most popular winter-themed Japanese street food.

Yakiimo (Baked Potato)

If you’re in Japan during the winter season you might have seen street vendors roast potatoes on coals. There are even yakiimo carts with a real fire, you’re lucky if you spot one! Most of the time they’re standard sweet potatoes but Japan has a large variety of potatoes that differ in taste. It’s wrapped in tinfoil and baked with its skin. This warm and sweet snack is delicious on a cold winter day and the roasted skin makes the outside nice and crispy.

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Nikuman

These meatbuns can be eaten all year round but are consumed more frequently during the winter season. The main reason is that they’re warm, delicious and fit comfortably in your hands. Your personal meat-filled pocket heater. You can buy these at special stands or at any convenience store. Besides the traditional niku-man (meat bun), there are also an-man (sweet bean paste bun), pizza-man (tomato meat sauce and cheese bun), curry-man and even chocolate-man.

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Oden

There is no clear way to describe oden as it consists of various ingredients in a clear broth. Moreover, these ingredients differ per region or have different fillings. The best way to describe oden is to eat it yourself. When it gets colder, oden stalls will pup up everywhere but you can also buy it at the convenience store. Usually there is a container size you can choose from and a variety of ingredients. Take the ones you like, add some broth and bring it to the register.

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Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE

Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.

MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Winter Solstice in Japan

Winter Solstice is the day of the year when the night is the longest. This year for Japan this day falls on December 21st with a sunrise from 6:48am and a sunset at 4:32pm.

Winter Solstice or Toji(冬至) isn’t a real festival in Japan but more of a tradition. The days are getting colder so people looked for ways to rejuvenate the body and to protect it against sickness.

Yuzu Bath (ユズ湯)

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It is said that the custom of taking a bath with yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit, started during the Edo period (1603 – 1868). As the Japanese value the wisdom of their elders, this tradition exists to this day.

There are many different reasons why both eating and taking a yuzu bath is a good thing to do on this day. Yuzu packs a lot of vitamin C and is essential to protect yourself against colds and the flu. Adding yuzu to a warm bath gives it a nice fragrance and rubbing the yuzu against your skin heals it from the cold damage. Because of the sharp smell of citrus it is also believed to keep demons and bad luck at bay.

It’s easy, just pop some store-bought yuzu in your hot bath and you’re done. You can also cut the yuzu in slices and soak them in the bath using a sheer towel or cloth like you’re making tea.

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Pumpkin and other Solstice food

Besides yuzu Japanese pumpkin,kabocha(かぼちゃ) is eaten during Winter Solstice. During the winter it is difficult to grow crops, but kabocha is a sturdy vegetable and can be easily preserved. The vitamins are good during the winter for protecting your body from sickness.

What makes food lucky?
The Japanese hiragana alphabet ends with the character “n(ん)”. Since Winter Solstice marks the end of the short days anything with the last character of the hiragana order is seen as lucky. This includes; ninjin (carrot), daikon (Japanese white radish), udon (noodles), konnyaku (gelatine made from the devil’s root) and ginnan (ginkgo nut).

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Lucky Day

Japan has adopted many traditions from China, and amongst them is the belief in auspicious days. The Winter Solstice usually comes paired with a new moon, the mark to start something new. Since the day is also very short, it is seen as “the day when both moon and sun are rejuvenated”. It truly is a day about revitalizing both body and nature.

From this day onward the days will start getting longer again, bringing more sun. With this swing from night to day it is also believed that it’s a swing from the negative to the positive, meaning everyone’s luck will turn for the positive side!

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Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE

Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.

MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Why are Japanese homes so cold during winter?

The cold weather is creeping in and many foreigners start wondering why Japanese homes are so cold. Compared to Western houses that are insulated and equipped with central heating, most Japanese homes don’t have these features at all. The reason for this lack of heat goes way back.

Japanese homes are built for summer

That’s right. Japanese summers are very warm and humid, leaving you no escape from the heat. Aside from that, mold and mildew is a big problem in Japan, causing respiratory and health problems in severe cases. During the old times the option for most Japanese carpenters was simple, “during the winter you can always put on more clothes but there’s no way to escape heat and humidity.” That is why Japanese homes are built with plenty of ventilation, open windows and means to let the air circulate and cool down a house.

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One room at a Time

The idea that many Japanese have is to keep yourself warm over keeping a whole house warm. In old times people had one hearth in a central place called an irori (いろり). This hearth would also be used to cook and smoke food. It even helped protect the house itself by drying out the wood with its heat thus preventing rot, fungus and wood disease. Thanks to the heat of the irori many homes have been beautifully preserved. If you see an irori it usually has a fish decoration somewhere, symbolically protecting the house against the fire of the hearth.

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This idea of “one room at a time” is still visible in Japanese homes today with the use of appliances like space heaters and the kotatsu.

The idea of “Warm yourself first”

As mentioned before, the principle is that you warm yourself before you start warming an area. From an economical point of view this is very smart indeed. But for most Japanese they don’t have any choice because their homes aren’t built to preserve the heat from an airconditioner for long. Back when people wore kimono daily they wore a hanten during winter. This is a coat similar to a haori and consist of many fluffy layers of cotton for warmth. Families would huddle up next to the hearth and drink warm tea or eat a hotpot with their hanten on. You can still buy these warm jackets today.

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People on the go have options other than hanten and hearths, opting for warm layers and hot packs called kairo (懐炉,カイロ, literally means “pocket hearth”). The first form of kairo were simple tin cases. Special coal pieces would be lit and inserted in the case and people would bring them around in their kimono. Nowadays, you are more likely to find disposable kairo packs at any convenience store or supermarket. They become small sources of heat the moment you open the package. You can opt for the sticky kind, to stick on your clothing, or the non-sticky kind for holding in your hands. There are even versions to put in your shoes.

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Keeping the warmth

The key to surviving Japanese winter is to create as many hot spots in your home as possible to ensure you’re not in a cold space for too long. Soak in a warm bath or onsen. Bring out a space heater to warm your bedroom, wear a hanten while holding a hot pack when going to the living room, then immediately slip under the kotatsu to enjoy a hot pot and go to sleep with your electric blanket. Now you’re ready to survive until spring comes.

Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE

Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.

MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Winter Illumination at Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture

Not even 2 hours away from Tokyo by train you can watch Japan’s No.1 Illumination Show at Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture. 3,5 million warm and sparkling lights will surround you at this spectacular event during the cold days. Enjoy different carefully prepared themes to walk through. This event is divided into three main events:
1. “Collaboration of lights and flowers”  (October 22nd – middle of November);
2. “Flower Parks’ Christmas” (end of November – end of December),
3. “New Year Illumination” (beginning of 2017 – February 5th).

We visited the park in the middle of November and had the chance to see the first event of the season as well as some Christmas elements.

First you will enter a big hall full of flowers and decorations that you can purchase. The flowers and decorations match the current season so during winter you can see hundreds of red shining poinsettias, cute Christmas decorations and many more.

After entering the actual park, you will see booths selling delicious hot amazake (a traditional sweet, non-alcohol drink made from fermented rice). Warm up yourself before exploring the park. Aside from that, several food stands as well as a restaurant with a nice garden view provide local specialties.

Enjoy the compilation of pictures of the most beautiful spots

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Wisteria trees are decorated with thousands of LED lights to enjoy these beautiful flowers even during winter.

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Red roses and water lilies out of LED lights offer beautiful picture spots.

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Take a stroll through the lavender garden with its LED wisteria flowers.

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Flowers placed inside big lanterns out of glass on the pond.

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A Christmas tree made from LED lights, as well as more water lilies.

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The rose garden features hundreds of color-changing LED roses.

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A huge wall with changing themed illuminations, all related to winter and Christmas.

If you liked the pictures, don´t hesitate and plan your next trip to the Ashikaga Flower Park!

Information

Illumination Period: October 22nd – February 5th
Hours: 3:30pm – 9pm (weekends & national holidays until 9:30pm) [closed on December 31st]
Admission: 800yen (adults); 400yen (children)
Address: 607 Hasama-cho, Ashikaga-shi, 329-4216 Tochigi
Access: 13min walk from Tomita Station (JR Ryomo Line) [Take the JR Utsunomiya Line from Ueno Station into Koganei direction and get off at Oyama Station (1h15min; 1,317yen). Change the train and get on the JR Ryomo Line into Takasaki direction until Tomita Station (32min; 583yen).
Tel: 0284-91-4939
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.ashikaga.co.jp

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Tabea Greuner
Living and working in Japan since 2015. Always excited about discovering new places. Passion for photography, nature-lover & Japanese fashion expert. MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

The Kotatsu Trap

Invented in the 14th century, the kotatsu has been trapping people with its warmth ever since. Forget all plans for a productive day once you turn on this toasty, motivation-sucking device. Has it been sent from heaven or hell? Nobody knows. But the kotatsu is definitely real and you can find it in Japan.

Anatomy of a Kotatsu

A kotatsu is basically a low table with a heater attached to it and a big blanket to keep the warmth inside. It may sound simple, but once you try the kotatsu you’ll be craving for it every winter.

The modern kotatsu has an electric heater, but the original kotatsu was a bit more dangerous with actual charcoal. Back then the hearth was fixed into the ground and would be covered when not in use. It was only until after the Edo period that the kotatsu became a movable piece of furniture. And earthen pot was filled with hot charcoal and could be moved with the table. Later the pot was abandoned in favor of an electric heater.

The kotatsu is most effective while wearing traditional Japanese clothing. The heat enters from the bottom of your kimono and exits at the top.

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Mikan + Kotatsu = …

newmikanFor Japanese, you can’t imagine a kotatsu without a mikan (mandarin orange) on top. Mikan look identical to mandarins but they’re quite different. Easier to peel and seedless, the mikan is the perfect fruit for a lazy day under the kotatsu. Because of its immense popularity it’s one of the few Japanese fruits that is exported in large quantities.

When it gets really cold, nothing beats lazing around under the kotatsu eating mikan.

Don’t fall asleep-!…too late

Because of the uneven distribution of heat, the kotatsu is unhealthy to sleep under. A nap however is totally ok, but there is a big risk of it turning into an overnight stay. Not only humans, but also animals rever the kotatsu. Cats especially love the heat and darkness the kotatsu offers.

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Getting out from under a kotatsu is nearly impossible. So here are some tips to make your kotatsu life easier!

  • Keep napkins nearby, in case you get the sniffles
  • Store all your food and drinks within reach
  • Find a victim to fetch everything you need when you forgot to put it near the kotatsu
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Enjoy!

Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE

Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.

MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Tobu Treasure Garden in Tatebayashi (Gunma Prefecture)

The Tobu Treasure Garden located in Gunma Prefecture about 55km away from Tokyo, can be reached within only 1hour from Asakusa Station (Tokyo) and is perfect for a day trip during spring, summer or early autumn. It´s especially popular for its beautiful Rose Garden, the moss phlox flower fields and the Blue Garden.

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The entrance buildings are made out of bricks and resemble an English residence covered in rose bushes.

After entering the park you will be welcomed by a fountain and a small canal which leads you to the Sakura-Tunnel, entangled by hundreds of small pastel pink roses.

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After strolling through the tunnel you are inside the Rose Garden and the English Rose Garden.

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Enjoy looking at many different kinds of roses blooming in dozen of shining colors.

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Relax in the shadows of white roses which bloom during May and June.

The main spot of the park features the pink moss phlox flowers fields.

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Beautiful pink and white moss phlox flowers in front of blooming cherry blossoms. (Please refer to the image of the pamphlet ;D)

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The next path leads you to the Brilliant Garden which features many colorful flowers arranged to a nice pattern. The lavender blue is one of the main colors for this theme.

 

 

Take a break in the Victorian House and enjoy some delicious food, buy souvenirs at Koruri’s or purchase original Treasure Garden goods at Mary´s Room.

Besides taking a visit to the park, you can also knot the tie with your beloved one in the chapel next to the park. You can book the full wedding-service and enjoy your special day surrounded by nature in the middle of a beautiful garden ambience.

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The St. Peter & Paul Church was built and based on an original church from England and offers the best and most unique wedding location in this area.

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A big rose window, typical curch stained glass windows, a pipe organ, pews and much more will let you experience a typical proper western wedding ceremony.

Tobu Treasure Garden Info:
Hours & Admission for 2017:
☆Moss phlox Festival: March 25th (Saturday) – May 7th (Sunday); 9am – 5pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Admission: 600yen – 1000yen (adults: junior-highschool students and older); 200yen – 400yen (primary school students)
☆Rose & Garden Festival: May 8th (Monday) – June 30th (Friday); 9am – 5pm (las entry 4:30pm)
Admission: 1000yen – 1800yen (adults: junior-highschool students and older); 400yen – 800yen (primary school students)
☆Autumn Rose & Garden Festival: Early October – Early November; 10am – 4:30pm (last entry 4pm)
Admission: 800yen – 1000yen (adults: junior-highschool students and older); 200yen – 400yen (primary school students)
・July – September & Middle November – March closed due to maintenance
Address: 1050 Horikou-cho, Tatebayashi-shi, 374-0033 Gunma
Access: 15min walk from Morinji-mae Station (Tobu Isesaki Line) – 80min from Asakusa Station (Tokyo) station; 10min taxi ride from Tatebayashi Station (Tobu Isesaki Line) – 60min from Asakusa Station (Tokyo)
Tel: 0276-55-0750
URL: http://treasuregarden.jp/en/

Ninja ID: nene16


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Tabea Greuner
Living and working in Japan since 2015. Always excited about discovering new places. Passion for photography, nature-lover & Japanese fashion expert. MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

New Year Japanese Style in Saitama

New Year is often associated with countdown parties, midnight fireworks and endless drinking. But Saitama offers more than just that. Many valuable traditions passed down for hundreds of years are still being practiced here during the holiday season. For an authentic Japanese New Year experience, head down to Saitama where a full package of celebration and positive energy awaits you!

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Saitama’s New Year event calendar starts as early as December. Tokamachi, an annual open air market held on December 10, is a warm-up event of a month-long festival. At this time of the year, Musashi Ichinomiya Hikwawa Shrine and its neighboring areas are always packed with tourists and locals looking for colorfully decorated bamboo rakes called kumade to “rake in” success, wealth, fortune and happiness.

The tradition of selling and buying kumade in shrines dates back to the Edo Period (1603-1868). Kumade today comes in different sizes, price ranges and quality, but the rule remains the way it was hundreds of years ago: you have to get a kumade larger than the one you bought in the previous year for a bigger success.

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While at Tokamachi, it’s a good idea to let your taste buds explore some mouthwatering dishes. A wide range of traditional Japanese street food ranging from sweet dumpling dango to grilled fish and fried noodles can be found here at reasonable price. With so many food choices, you definitely won’t go hungry.

New Year Japanese Style in Saitama

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On January 3 at Saitama, the Seven Lucky Gods actually come to life in a special costume parade. This is an event you don’t want to miss because it just might be your once-in-a-lifetime chance to have a picture taking with Gods and Goddesses!

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Hatsumode, the first shrine or temple visit for the year, is another great way to start the New Year in Japan. Musashi Ichinomiya Hikwawa Shrine is just a 30 minute walk away from Omiya Station and thus a popular destination for hatsumode. Many people, dressed in traditional kimono, write their wishes on wooden plaques and get their fortune told by getting a scroll of white paper called omikuji.

After making a small offering, you can randomly choose an omikuji from a box. Unroll the paper to see what 2017 has in store for you. If the prediction is bad, don’t worry too much. Fold the strip of paper and tie it to a wall of metal wires to leave your bad luck behind.

The list of things to do in Saitama does not stop here. With its close proximity to Tokyo and rich history and culture, Saitama is the perfect place to spend not only the New Year holiday but weekends all year round!

New Year Japanese Style in Saitama

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Another event that will help you get into the New Year spirit is the Juninichimachi on December 12. The one-day market has been serving the community since the Meiji Period (1868-1915), attracting as many as 1,000 vendors selling amulets and traditional delicacies from the morning till late in the evening.

Juninichimachi extends from Tsuki Shrine to Kyu Nakasendo, one of the five routes connecting Tokyo and Kyoto in the Edo Period. Although the path is quite developed today, you can still follows the footstep of the 17th century haiku master Matsuo Basho and immerse in the nostalgic atmosphere.

For bunny lovers across the world, Tsuki Shrine is a must visit. Since tsuki can mean both textile and moon in Japanese, the shrine is vastly decorated with paintings and sculptures of rabbits, a messenger from the moon. Even the faucet used by worshippers for washing hands as a gesture of purification is in the form of a rabbit!

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Besides getting an amulet from shrines for good luck, you can ask the deities for a year of abundance. Shichifukujin Meguri is an Edo tradition of making a short pilgrimage to seven temples and shrines during the New Year holiday. With each visit to a temple or shrine on the course, you get a red stamp. After collecting all the seven stamps on a decorative cardboard, place the cardboard in your house for happiness and prosperity in the coming year.

The pilgrimage is usually done on foot. But if walking in cold weather is not your thing or if time is not on your side, then cycling might be a good choice. Along the course are a homemade soba noodle shop and a Japanese sweets shop that has been in the business since 1864. The strawberry daifuku—a large size strawberry wrapped with red bean paste inside chewy mochi rice—is really worth dropping in for.

Experience Chichibu Night Festival

The application period for this event has ended. We will email the results by Nov 28. Thank you for all your submissions!

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The Chichibu Night Festival, which has a history of more than 300 years, is Chichibu Shrine’s annual festival, held in December. The Gion Festival in Kyoto, the Takayama Festival in Hida, and the Chichibu Night Festival are regarded as the three greatest parade float festivals in Japan.
The festival is held on December 2 and 3, when the area is crowded with a large number of tourists. Six yatai floats shaped like small houses are paraded through the city streets.

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The festival is listed as UNESCO intangible cultural heritage recently. And to celebrate this memorable moment in the city’s history, participants are allowed to pull elaborately decorated Yatai floats with the locals.

Why not participate in the Chichibu Night Festival?

■ Schedule
Date: Friday Dec 2nd, 2016 (Festival will be held, rain or shine)
Hours: 11:00 at Ikebukuro Station to 15:00 after the festival, participants are free to go.

※The event organizer will provide each participant a limited express train ticket to Seibu Chichibu Station. For going back, a regular train ticket will be provided upon arrival around 13:00. (Not a limited express train ticket)

■ We are looking for…
・Foreign Nationals
・Those who are OK with being photographed at the event. There will be media personnel and a cameraman.
・Those who are responsible and will not chancel at the last minute.

If you fulfill the requirements, sign up by Nov.24 using the form below. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to experience authentic Japanese Matsuri. Pulling the elaborately decorated festival float with the locals will be something you will treasure for a long time.

If you have any questions or technical issues with the form, please contact us via email to [email protected]

Festive Christmas Markets In and Around Tokyo

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Get into the right mood for Christmas as you take in the decorations and have your fill of festive food and drinks as these spots in and around Tokyo are transformed into magical Christmas wonderlands.


1Tokyo Christmas Market – Hibiya Park

The Christmas Market in the Hibiya Park resembles the traditional German one the most. Last year a 14m high Christmas pyramid was imported from Germany to add to the traditional cozy atmosphere. Enjoy typical German dishes, hot wine and chocolate, art crafts as well as live performances with guests from Germany.

Date: December 16th (Friday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 11am – 10pm
Place: Hibiya Park – Water fountain area
Admission: free
Access: 1min walk from Hibiya Station – Exit A14 (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line, Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line); 5min walk from Kasumigaseki Station – Exit B2 (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line); 5min walk from Uchisaiwaicho Station – Exit A7 (Toei Mita Line); 20min walk from JR Tokyo Station – Marinouchi Exit; 10min walk from Yurakucho Station (Hibiya Exit)
Address: Chiyoda-ku, 100-0012 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
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2Christmas Marché – Yebisu Garden Place

This Christmas market leans on the typical Christmas market from France and provides hot mulled wine, typical dishes, seasonal crafts and decorations. As a highlight you can even buy items and Christmas themed clothes for your dog. A giant Christmas tree is set up right next to the stalls and sparkling illuminations provide the right mood.

Date: November 5th (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 12:00 – 8pm
Place: Yebisu Garden Place – clock square
Admission: free
Access: Access: 5min walk from JR Ebisu Station (East Exit) via the “Yebisu Skywalk”
Address: 4-20 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, 150-6018 Tokyo

Ranking: ★★★★★
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Festive Christmas Markets In and Around Tokyo


53rd World Christmas Festival

The 3rd World Christmas Festival in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park provides Christmas food, drinks and music from all around the world. Dance performances are held as well!

Date: December 24th (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 11am – 6pm
Place: Yoyogi Park – Event space
Admission: free
Access: 3min walk from Harajuku Station (JR Yamanote Line) or Yoyogi-Koen Station (Chiyoda Line), a 3min walk from Meiji-Jingu-mae Station (Chiyoda Line or Fukutoshin Line), or a 6min walk from Yoyogi-Hachiman Station (Odakyu Line)
Address: Yoyogi Kamizono-cho 2-1, Shibuya-ku, 151-0052 Tokyo

Ranking: ★★★★☆
yoyogipark.info


6Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Christmas Market

This authentic Christmas market sells traditional German dishes like schnitzel, sausages, gulasch, stolen cakes, mulled wine, beer and much more. Also traditional decorations and wooden dolls directly from the Erzgebirge in Germany are on sale. The highlight of the market will be the huge Christmas tree which provides the perfect atmosphere for a cozy evening.

Date: November 26th (Saturday– December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 11am – 10pm
Place: Red Brick Warehouse
Admission: free
Access: 10min walk from Bashamichi Station (Minatomirai Line)
Address: 1-1 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, 231-0001 Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★★
yokohama-akarenga.jp

Festive Christmas Markets In and Around Tokyo


3Roppongi Hills Christmas Market

This year is the 10th anniversary of Roppongi Hills’ Christmas Market. It´s based on the biggest Christmas market located in Stuttgart, Germany and features a total of 11 stores lining up under the “O-Yane Plaza” and offer a lot of traditional Christmas decorations, like Christmas pyramids, Christmas tree decorations and many more. Mulled wine and sausages add to the typical German Christmas flair.

Date: November 26th (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 11am – 9pm (Friday, Saturday and the day before a public holiday open until 10pm)
Place: O-Yane Plaza
Admission: free
Access:
Roppongi Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line) Exit 1C (direct access)
Roppongi Station (Toei Oedo Line) Exit 3 (4min walk)
Azabu Juban Station (Tokyo Metro Nanboku Line) Exit 4 (8min walk)
Nogizaka Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line) Exit 5 (10min walk)
Address: 6-11-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, 106-6108 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
roppongihills.com


4Tokyo Midtown Marché de Noël

©Tokyo Midtown Management Co., Ltd.

Tokyo Midtown’s Christmas market is located on the first basement floor of the Galleria shopping center. You can purchase tableware, gifts, cards and much more with beautiful Christmas prints and designs. After shopping, go out and enjoy the beautiful illumination show in the starlight garden.

Date: November 15th (Tuesday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 11am – 9pm (December 22nd (Thursday) – December 25th (Sunday) open until 10pm)
Place: Tokyo Midtown – Galleria B1 – In front of DEAN&DELUCA
Admission: free
Access: 5min walk from Roppongi Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line; Toei Oedo Line); 6min walk from Nogizaka Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)
Address: 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, 107-0052 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tokyo-midtown.com

Nengajo 101 : How to write Japanese New Year’s Cards

Every year Japan’s postmen make a New Year’s miracle come true by delivering millions of New Year’s cards right on time. These cards are called “nengajo” and are a Japanese tradition.
During the old days, people would personally visit families and stores that they were grateful to in the past year. When more people moved from the countryside to cities it became more and more difficult to do these visit. This is when postcards became the common way to thank friends, families and business partners.

Nengajo are a fun way to get creative and creating your own design is the best way to stand out in the recipient’s pile of cards. We’ll show you how to create and write your own nengajo.

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Buy or Make your Nengajo

Shops already carry beautiful designs that you can buy in bulk. When you’re pressed for time this is a good alternative. During the weeks leading up to New Year’s Eve you can find them in the post office, stationary shops and kiosks…basically everywhere.
If you do decide to make your own nengajo there are two ways to do it. You can buy blank nengajo at the same shops and decorate each one individually to your liking. Another popular way is to create them digitally and get the printed. This is actually not as expensive as it sounds because many people use this type of service. If you can navigate in Japanese, here are some sites to make your own cards (delivery only in Japan).

Japan Post Nengajo Design Kit(Japanese Only)
Happy Card (Japanese only)
Nenga Netprint (Japanese only)

Of course when you start from a blank design and want to do it manually, stationary and hobby shops sell stamps and stickers to make decorating easier.

プリント

Sending Nengajo

Nengajo need to arrive at the first day of the new year, so post offices put in a lot of effort and hire extra staff to make deliveries. To make this process easier post offices have a temporary separate mailbox for nengajo during December. This way they can sort out the cards earlier. If you get your cards into this box before the specified deadline your card is guaranteed to arrive on the correct day.

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Official nengajo are easy to fill out and all have the same back. Even when you make your own design and onder them the back will have roughly the same layout. There’s a space for the address and your personal message. The pre-stamped area (if your card has it) usually features the new year’s zodiac animal. The animal for 2017 is the rooster.

Win the lottery!

…if you’re lucky!
Official nengajo have a lottery number printed on them and you can win actual prizes such as a television or cooking supplies. The results are announced mid-January on the official “Japan Post” website, in the newspaper and on TV. So don’t throw away your nengajo! Together with the list they will tell you where you can pick up your prize.

Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE

Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.

MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

5 Outdoor Autumn Activities in Karuizawa

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Karuizawa, a small resort town in Nagano Prefecture, is a popular destination thanks to its laid-back atmosphere and luxury resorts. At an elevation of 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) the cooler temperatures result in stunning fall colors. And if that’s not enough, we’ve found five other amazing reasons to explore the town.

5. Shopping

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Cooler weather is great for shopping, particularly when many of Karuizawa’s best shopping districts are outdoors!

An outlet mall is located on the south side of the town, near the Karuizawa Prince Hotel, and is a sprawling shopper’s paradise with more than 200 stores. You can find everything from fashion items, to sports gear and outdoor items here, in addition to multiple restaurants and cafés that are perfect for recharging with a warm beverage.

Kyu-Karuizawa, or Old Karuizawa—about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) to the north—is home to Karuizawa Ginza, an important merchant street that grew during the Edo Period (1603-1868). The shops along the street embrace tourists and is home to traditional cafés, restaurants and souvenir shops selling locally produced jam and honey.

4. Ziplining

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For adrenaline junkies, Karuizawa Prince Hotel offers ziplining through a company called Zipline Adventure on the ski slopes through early autumn.

Tours depart three times a day and run from 90 minutes to two hours (depending on group size and speed). Hiking up the slopes is necessary, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes!

Check out the website for more information, such as height and weight requirements.
www.zipline.jp (Japanese)

3. Hiking

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Nagano is well-known for its natural beauty and there are many paths and trails in the area. The challenging Mount Asama, a 2,568 meter (8,425 ft) active volcano, is one of Japan’s 100 Famous Mountains. It last erupted in 2009; even so, hikers are required to stay out of restricted areas. The sulfur fumes can be hazardous, so heed the warnings you see on the trail. Every hiker has their own pace, but expect a minimum of six hours for the round trip.

If a volcano doesn’t strike your fancy, there’s also the Karuizawa Wild Bird Sanctuary (Yacho no Mori), home to more than 80 different species of birds, as well as the scruffy kamoshika, or Japanese serow. The park is free to enter, but various nature walks are available with a reservation through the Picchio Visitor Center.

www.tozai-trek.com

2. Onsen

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Karuizawa is home to the luxury ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) operator Hoshino Resort. If you want to splurge, the Hoshinoya Karuizawa resort is probably the pinnacle of luxury in this town. However, there’s a smaller onsen, or hot spring, called Tombo no Yu that caters to day-trippers.

The onsen is located at the base of a forested mountain, with indoor and outdoor baths filled with steaming hot water that is said to rejuvenate the skin and cure everything from nerve pain to hypertension.

Regardless of which hot spring locale you choose, soaking in an onsen is a relaxing way to keep warm on a crisp autumn day!

www.hoshino-area.jp

1. Bicycle Rental to Kumoba Pond

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Cycling is a great way to get around the main areas of Karuizawa. The streets are wide and rental shops dot the town, particularly close to the Shinkansen station. In addition, many of the beautifully designed summer homes tucked away in the tree-dappled valley are best viewed while on a leisurely bicycle ride.

One of the most popular autumn destinations in Karuizawa is Kumoba Pond, a small pond with dozens of Japanese maples planted around it. A footpath circles the pond, allowing visitors to take in the surrounding trees and wildlife. On a clear day, the water reflecting the scarlet and gold of the turning leaves is a sight that’ll take your breath away.


Read the original article on All About Japan: 5 Outdoor Autumn Activities in Karuizawa

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All About Bus Tours in Japan
16 Superb Views Found in Kyushu
Halloween Pumpkin Bread

Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo

 

15Yomiuri Land Jewellumination

The whole theme park is covered in beautiful colorful lights and makes a normal visit even more special.

Date: October 14th (Friday) – February 19th (Sunday); Park is closed on January 17th (Tuesday) – 19th (Thursday) and January 24th (Tuesday) – 26th (Thursday)
Hours: 4pm – 8:30pm (December 17th (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday) until 9pm)
Place: Yomiuriland
Admission: 1,800Yen (adults), 1,500Yen (junior-high and high-school students), 1,000Yen (children)
Access: 5-10min ride with the Sky-Shuttle gondola or 5min Odakyu-Bus ride from Keio Yomiuri Land Station (Keio Sagamihara Line)
Address: 4-4015-1 Yanokuchi, Inagi-shi, 206-8725 Tokyo

Ranking: ★★★★☆
yomiuriland.com


WATTENTION WRITER PROFILE

Image_

Tabea Greuner
Living and working in Japan since 2015. Always excited about discovering new places. Passion for photography, nature-lover & Japanese fashion expert. MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo


13Venus Fort Christmas Projection Mapping “FROZEN VENUSFORT”

This year’s projection mapping features the popular Disney movie “Frozen”. Creative company NAKED Inc. created a spectacular show which you can only enjoy at Venus Fort. Music and illumination takes you into another world where you will feel like a character directly popped out of a fairy tale. The Venus Fort is a shopping center designed in the style of an old cityscape of the Middle Ages.

Date: November 3rd (Thursday) – middle of march / The show “Melting Story” around the water fountain takes place on November 3rd, 5th , 12th, 13th , 19th, 20th , 23rd , 26th and 27th ; in December on the 3rd, 4th, 10th , 11th ,17th , 18th , 21st , 22nd , 23rd , 24th and 25th.
Hours: “Melting Story”: 11:30am / 12:30 / 1:30pm / 3:30pm / 5:30pm / 7:30pm
Place: Venus Fort
Admission: free
Access: 3min walk from Aomi Station (Yurikamome Line) or Tokyo Teleport Station (JR Rinkai Line)
Address: 1-3-15 Aomi, Koto-ku, 135-0064 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
venusfort.co


14Showa Memorial Park “Winter Vista Illumination”

The area between the Tachikawa-entrance gate and the Fureai open space is covered in sparkling warm lights. Showa Memorial Park illumination theme changes every year. This year’s highlight will be a champagne glass tower made out of 15,000 glasses and located in the middle of the canal area located in the entrance of the park. You can enjoy a magical world of lights, featuring the light-up of the parks symbol, the big water fountain, and the alley.

Date: December 3rd (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 5pm – 9pm (admission until 8:50pm)
Place: Between the Tachikawa-entrance gate and the Fureai open space area
Admission: 410 yen (adults); 80 yen (primary – and middle – school students); free for children; 210 yen (over 65 years old)
Access: 15min walk from Tachikawa Station
Address: 3173 Midori-cho, Tachikawa-shi, 190-0014 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
sp.jorudan.co.jp

Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo


11Meguro River Minna no Illumination

Gotanda Fureai Waterside Square and the cherry trees along Meguro river will be decorated with light pink LED lights to create the image of blooming Sakura – Cherry blossoms during winter. The electricity used for this event will be extracted from edible oil which comes directly from restaurants and citizens living in this area.
Date: November 18th (Friday) – January 9th (Monday)
Hours: 5pm – 10pm
Place: Gotanda Fureai Mizube Hiroba and along Meguro river
Admission: free
Access: 6min walk from Osaki Station (JR Saikyo Line, JR Yamanote Line, JR Shonen-Shinjuku Line) or Gotanda Station (JR Yamanote Line; Toei Asakusa Line; Tokyu Ikegami Line)
Address: 2-9 Higashi-Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku, 141-0022 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
minna-no-illumi.com


12DECKS Tokyo Beach Illumination “YAKEI” in Odaiba

This all year-around Illumination takes place around Odaiba’s Shopping mall “The Decks” and offers the best view of Tokyo Bay, including the Rainbow Bridge, as well as Tokyo Tower. About 40 trees are decorated with LED lights, one 20m high tree sparkles in all colors and the first 360° Projection-Mapping tunnel, the “Illusion Dome” shows you another world.

Date: all around the year
Hours: sunset – 24:00
Place: Decks Tokyo, Seaside Deck 3F
Admission: free
Access: 2min walk from Odaiba-Kaihinkoen (Yurikamome Line); 8min walk from Tokyo Teleport Station (JR Rinkai Line)
Address: Seaside Deck, Decks Tokyo Beach 3F, 1-6-1 Daiba, Minato-ku, 135-0091 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
odaiba-decks.com

Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo


9Omotesando Hills

The trees of the wide sidewalks of Omotesando are decorated with warm lights to make your shopping adventure even more special and luxurious during Christmas season. Don´t forget to pop into Omotesando Hills’ and enjoy their beautiful Christmas decoration. Due to Omotesando Hills’ 10th anniversary a sparkling 10m high Christmas-star-tree will be set up. The theme “Find your stars – A starry Christmas” features 15,000 LED lights and mirror balls reflecting and producing the twinkling and shooting stars.

Date: November 9th (Wednesday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 11am – 11pm
Place: Omotesando Hills
Admission: free
Access:
Omotesando Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Chiyoda Line, Hanzomon Line) Exit A2 (2min walk)
Meijijingu-mae (Harajuku) Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, Fukutoshin Line) Exit 5 (3min walk)
Harajuku Station (JR Yamanote Line) Omotesando Exit (7min walk)
Address: 4-12-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, 150-0001 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
omotesandohills.com


10Ebisu Garden Place

Ebisu Garden Place features two illumination events, the “Baccarat Eternal Lights” shows a 8,4m tall and 4,6m wide crystal chandelier and the usual illumination event with its huge Christmas tree decorated with French ornaments.
Date: November 5th (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Place: Ebisu Garden Place
Admission: free
Access: 5min walk from JR Ebisu Station (East Exit) via the “Yebisu Skywalk”
Address: 4-20 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, 150-6018 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
gardenplace.jp

Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo


7Tokyo Tower – Winter Fantasy ~ONE PIECE Snow Dome Illumination~

Beside the yearly illumination and the light-up of the tower, this year’s special illumination collaborated with Tokyo Towers One Piece Tower and created a huge Snow Dome which features one of the episodes of the popular anime One Piece called “The miracle Sakura which blooms during winter”.

Date: November 3rd (Thursday) – February 28th (Tuesday)
Hours: Snow Dome Show: every full hour between 1pm – 10pm for 5min; Illumination: 4pm – 11pm
Place: Tokyo Tower (Shiba-Park), in front of the entrance
Admission: free
Access: 5min walk from Akabanebashi Station
Address: 4-2-8 Shiba-Koen, Minato-ku, 105-0011 Tokyo

Ranking: ★★★★☆
onepiecetower.tokyo


8Shinjuku Terrace City Illumination

The 888m long Shinjuku Terrace sparkles in warm Christmas lights, featuring 300 Christmas ball ornaments and 235,000 LED lights.

Date: November 9th (Thursday) – February 14th (Tuesday)
Hours: 5pm – 24:00
Place: Shinjuku Terrace City (Within the HALC building (Shinjuku Station west-exit); Odakyu Ace building; within the Shinjuku – My Lord shopping mall; Odakyu Department Store; My Lord Mosaic Street; Shinjuku Southern Terrace; Flags)
Admission: free
Access: Shinjuku Station (South- and West-Exit)
Address: 1-1-3 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, 160-0023 Tokyo

Ranking: ★★★★☆
odakyu.jp

Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo


5Roppongi Hills – Artelligent Christmas – Keyakizaka Galaxy Illumination

The main illumination takes place along Keyaki slope on the Azabu side of Roppongi Hills. The illumination covers two themes, the “Snow and Blue” one and the “Candle and Amber” one. 1,200,000 LED’s turn that place into a romantic illumination spot including a view of Tokyo Tower. Beside this illuminated street, you can also enjoy the Christmas Market inside of Roppongi Hills, featuring German decorations and traditional food.

Date: November 14th (Monday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 5pm – 11pm
Place: Roppongi Hills
Admission: free
Access:
Roppongi Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line) Exit 1C (direct access)
Roppongi Station (Toei Oedo Line) Exit 3 (4min walk)
Azabu Juban Station (Tokyo Metro Nanboku Line) Exit 4 (8min walk)
Nogizaka Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line) Exit 5 (10min walk)
Address: 6 Roppongi, Minato-ku, 106-0032 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
roppongihills.com


6Tokyo Dome City Winter Illumination

With the 150th year of the diplomatic relations between Japan and Italy, this year’s theme for Tokyo Dome City’s Winter Illumination features the Italian folklore of Befana, an old woman delivering candy and chocolates to children throughout Italy in the night of January 5th, the Epiphany Eve. Besides that, the official title of the event “Fall in love ♡ Italy” describes the different love-powerspots of Italy which attract many customers from all over the world. This theme will take place at the Tokyo Dome Area.

Date: November 10th (Thursday) – February 19th (Sunday)
Hours: 4pm – 1am
Place: Tokyo Dome City
Admission: free
Access: 1min walk from Korakuen Station (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, Tokyo Metro Namboku Line); 5min walk from Suidobashi Station (JR Chuo-Sobu Line; Toei Mita Line)
Address: 1-3-61 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, 112-0004 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
tokyo-dome.co.jp

Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo


3Marunouchi Bright Christmas – The marvelous story of “The Nutcracker”

The main event takes place at the Marunouchi-Building and features a 15m high and 65m wide Christmas theater. The theater begins above the walkway of the 3rd floor along the window wall, which will act as the screen for the Projection Mapping “The Nutcracker”.
On the 1st floor of the Marunouchi-Building, a 7m high Christmas tree with the images of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince will be prepared. Within the Marunouchi area many more attractions featuring this story are set up. Also a Christmas market and illuminated streets transform this area into a magical Christmas world.

Date: November 10th (Thursday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Place: Marunouchi Building, New-Marunouchi Building, Marunouchi Brick Square, etc.
Admission: free
Access: 1min walk from Tokyo Station (Marunouchi South Exit); 4min walk from Tokyo Station (JR Keiyo Line); direct access from Tokyo Station (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line); direct access from Nijubashi-mae Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line); 3min walk from Otemachi Station (Toei Mita Line); 8min walk from Yurakucho Station (JR Yamanote Line; JR Keihin-Tohoku Line; Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line)
Address: Marunouchi Building, 2-4-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, 100-6390 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
marunouchi.com


4Tokyo Midtown Illumination – Starlight Garden, Starlight Road and Tree-Illumination

The Starlight Garden which is located in the Midtown Park Square is the main spot of this event and features up to 180,000 LED lights. With its blue and white sparkling lights it represents the image of the cosmos and attracts a lot of guests every year. This year’s highlight contains four spotlights reaching up to 100m.
As a memento of this romantic event, a special Illumination Photo Service will capture your photograph in front of the Starlight Garden. It´s a limited service between 23rd November (Wednesday) and December 18th (Sunday) only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 6pm to 8pm. (The taken photograph can be purchased online for 1,080 Yen)
Between November 26th (Saturday) and December 18th (Sunday) on Weekends at 1:30pm, 3pm and 4:30pm for 30min each, you can enjoy Christmas classical live performances within the Galleria building.

Date: November 15th (Tuesday) – December 25th (Sunday)
Hours: 5pm – 11pm
Place: Tokyo Midtown
Admission: free
Access: 5min walk from Roppongi Station (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line; Toei Oedo Line); 6min walk from Nogizaka Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)
Address: 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, 107-0052 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
tokyo-midtown.com

Map of Top Winter Illumination Spots in Tokyo

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While many people come to Japan in spring and autumn, winter in Tokyo is made special with the many illumination lights on display throughout the season. WAttention presents you with the top spots in Tokyo to enjoy these romantic and fabulous spectacles.

(Click on the markers on the map below to preview and get the quick jump link to each spot.)


1Caretta Illumination

This is one of the top Illumination spots in Tokyo and attracts thousands of light-up lovers every year. The theme of this year’s show is called “Canyon d’Azur ~Blue mystical forest” and features about 270,000 LED lights. The show takes place in a time interval of 20minutes starting at 5pm.

Date: November 17th – February 14th (closed on January 1st and 2nd)
Hours: 5pm – 11pm (January & February 2017; 6pm – 11pm)
Place: Caretta Shiodome
Admission: free
Access: 2min walk from Shiodome Station (Toei Oedo Line; Yurikamome); 7min walk from Shimbashi Station
Address: 1-8-2 Higashi-Shimbashi, Minato-ku, 105-7090 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★★
dreamchristmas2016.jp


2Tokyo Skytree Town – Dream Christmas

Around the Skytree, a Christmas market will be set up with typical German decoration, food and a big Christmas tree. While strolling around the Christmas market, you can enjoy a special made projection mapping, as well as beautiful illuminated decorations made out of 350,000 LED lights.

Date: Illumination: November 10th (Thursday) – December 25th (Sunday); (Illuminations until March 5th (Sunday) / Projection Mapping: December 10th (Saturday) – December 25th (Sunday); Between 5:30pm and 8pm all 30min / Ice Skating Park: December 10th (Saturday) – March 5th (Sunday); 11am~
Place: Tokyo Skytree
Admission: free
Access: 20min walk from Asakusa Station, Direct access from Tokyo Skytree Station (Tobu Skytree Line); Direct access from Oshiage Station (Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line, Toei Asakusa Line)
Address: 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, 131-0045 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
dreamchristmas2016.jp

Ninja ID: nene16

Tori No Ichi: The Good Luck Charm Fair

If your sign is the Rooster you’re in for a lot of celebrations this year and the next. Tori No Ichi, or bird/rooster day, is celebrated every 12 days of November. This means that depending on the year there can be 2-3 “days of the rooster” in November.

A good luck charm fair

The rooster is a symbol for good luck and successful business, they wake up early and work hard every day. This bird is enshrined at different Otori-jinja in Japan and it is here that you will find all the festivities. You can buy goods such as charms, “rakes” to “rake in” good luck and food with lucky benefits. In actuality, the shrine in Asakusa is dedicated to the Buddhist priest Nichiren who found the Nichiren sect. His statue stands on an eagle and thus received the nickname “Otori-sama” (tori = bird in Japanese).

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Kumade

The wide rake of bamboo to “rake in” good luck is formally called a Kumade. They are heavily decorated ornaments with symbols of good luck and fortune. You can spot maneki neki, sake bottles, five yen coins, cranes and more. It all depends on the merchant and what type of luck you want to bring inside your home. When you buy the Kumade you’re supposed to sing a short phrase together to pray for your family’s safety and success in business; kanai anzen, shobai hanjo. Read more about Kumade here

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Information

Tori No Ichi in Tokyo

Shrine: Ootori Shrine, Asakusa
Dates: Nov. 11, 2016 & Nov. 23, 2016
Address: 3-18-7 Senzoku Taito-ku Tokyo
Access: 20min walk from Asakusa station, 10min walk from Minowa or Hibiya station
torinoichi.jp
Shrine: Hanazono Jinja, Shinjuku
Dates: Nov. 11, 2016 & Nov. 23,2016
Address: 5-17-3 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo
Access: East exit Shinjuku station
Ranking: ★★★★☆
hanazono-jinja.or.jp(Japanese only)

Autumn Foliage Hunting in Hanno, Saitama!

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Wanna go hiking in the golden season of autumn leaves? There is no lack of such hiking routes in suburban Tokyo! To show you what Tokyo has on offer, students from the graduate school of tourism in Rikkyo University took a Seibu Railway train to Hanno in Saitama prefecture (adjacent to Tokyo). Our trip features not only autumn leaves, hiking, and onsen, but also surprises for anime fans!

Anime pilgrimage: Yama no Susume

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Speaking of anime pilgrimages in Saitama, the top destination might be Chichibu, which is the place featured in “Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day”. While in Hanno, the talk of the town is “Yama no Susume”.

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Hanno Ginza shopping street

Departing from Hanno Station, we walked through the main shopping street and arrived at Kannon Temple, one of the locations featured in “Yama no Susume”. Be sure to check out those “Emas” (small wooden plaque on which worshippers write their wishes) and a distinctive statue of a white elephant featured in the anime. Take a group photo and see how it compares with the scene in the anime!

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(C )しろ/アース・スターエンタテイメント/「ヤマノススメ」製作委員会

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Ascending Mt. Tenran for its panoramic views and autumn foliage

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Mt. Tenran (a small mountain at about 200 meters above sea level) and Noninji Temple are famous for their autumn leaves, especially when the leaves are expected to be in full glory from the end of November. Though we were here a bit earlier (first weekend of November), we still had a whole lot of fun taking loads of pictures!

4 (4)

An easy autumn hiking trip to Lake Miyazawa

5 (4)

Departing from Mt. Tenran, we continued our casual hiking trip to Lake Miyazawa. The air was refreshing and the forest a perfect location for taking pictures. It took us about 90 minutes to get to the lakeshore. Shall we rent a boat and fish on the lake, or take a walk along the lakeshore path? Well, taking a soothing hot spring bath maybe the first priority!

5 (3)

5 (1)

Reminder:

  1. Get some food around Hanno Station or refuel halfway in the super market near the Seibu Railway elevated tracks.
  2. Though this hiking route is beginner-friendly, there are some up-hills and down-hills that may become slippery after raining.

Enjoy a lakeside hot spring bath

6 (2)

Our last stop is Lake Miyazawa Onsen “Kirari”, a hot spring facility boasting lake views from both the open-air hot spring bathhouse and the restaurant. After refreshing our mind and body with a soothing hot spring bath and a good meal, we hopped on a bus and returned to Hanno Station. What a perfect day!

6 (3) 6 (4)

How do you like our trip? For those interested in walking and hiking, do check out Seibu’s pamphlet for various hiking trips departing from stations of Seibu Railway. Hope it will be helpful during your next trip to Japan!

6 (5)

Lake Miyazawa Onsen “Kirari”
Hours: 9:00~24:00
Admission: from 1,000 yen (towel included)
Website: click here (Japanese)

Other useful information

Hiking route and map from Hanno Station: click here (Japanese)

Bus Schedule from Lake Miyazawa to Hanno Station (bus departs every an hour or so, takes about 10 minutes and the fare is 180 yen)

Seibu Railway Walking & Hiking Pamphlet (online version)

**For more information about tourist attractions along the Seibu Railway lines, check out Seibu Railway’s English website and facebook page!

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka

Osaka 30~ 38

 

30Katsuo-ji (勝尾寺) in Minoo

First colors: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: Mo – Fr 8am – 5pm; Sat 8am-5:30pm; Sun & holidays 8am – 6pm
Access: 20min bus ride from Minoo Station (Hankyu Minoo Line) until Katsuo-ji; 30min bus ride from Senri-Chuo Station (Kita-Osaka Kyuko Railway Namboku Line, Osaka Monorail Main Line) into Hokusetsu-Reien direction until Katsuo-ji
Address: 2914-1 Aomatani, Minoo-shi, 562-0021 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
minohfalls.com

 

31Minoo Falls (箕面大滝) in Minoo

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November
Recommended Spots: Hitome Senbon
Access: 40min walk from Minoo Station (Hankyu Minoo Line)
Address: Minoo Park, Minoo-shi, 562-0002 Osaka

Ranking: ★★★★☆
minohfalls.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka


32Saiko-ji Temple (西江寺) in Minoo

First colors: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: 5min walk from Minoo Station (Hankyu Minoo Line)
Address: 2-5-27 Minoo, Minoo-shi, 562-0001 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp


33Ryuan-ji Temple (瀧安寺) in Minoo

A photo posted by lemonlime (@lemonlime0828) on

First colors: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Access: 15min walk from Minoo Station (Hankyu Minoo Line)
Address: 2-23 Minoo Koen, Minoo-shi, 562-0002 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
osaka-info.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka


34Sefuku-ji Temple (施福寺) in Izumi

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: March – November 8am – 5pm ; December – February 8am-4pm
Access: Nankai-Bus ride from Izumi-Fuchu Station (JR Hanwa Line) until Makio Chugakko-mae. Change into the Orange bus until Makio-san (35min walk)
Address: 136 Makiosan-cho, Izumi-shi, 594-1131 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com


35Matsuo-ji Temple (松尾寺) in Izumi

A photo posted by uripon_uriuri (@uripon_uriuri) on

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 9am-5pm
Access: Nankai-Bus ride from Izumi-Chuo Station (Semboku Rapid Railway) until Matsuo-dera (10min walk)
Address: 2168 Matsuoji-cho, Izumi-shi, 594-1154 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
osaka-info.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka


36Kyuan-ji Temple (久安寺) in Ikeda

A photo posted by Rina (@rinana.o) on

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Access: Bus from Ikeda Station (Hankyu Takarazuka Main Line) until Kyuan-ji (direct access)
Address: 697 Fushio-cho, Ikeda-shi, 563-0011 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
osaka-info.jp


37Mount Ushitaki (牛滝山) in Kishiwada

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Recommended Spots: Daiitoku-ji Temple
Event: Ushitakiyama Autumn Color Festival
Date: November 23rd (Wednesday)
Details: Tempura and local alcoholic beverages are on sale, lottery with exclusive prizes
Access: 50min Nankai-Bus ride from Kishiwada Station (Nankai Main Line) until Ushitakiyama (direct access); 40min Nankai-Bus ride from Kumeda Station (JR Hanwa Line) until Ushitakiyama (direct access)
Address: 1178-1 Osawa-cho, Kishiwada-shi, 596-0114 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Osaka


38Osaka Castle Park (大阪城公園) in Osaka

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the Beginning of December
Access: Direct Access from JR Osaka-jo Koen Station and JR Morinomiya Station, as well as Subway Station Morinomiya Station and Tanimachi Yonchome Station
Address: 3-11 Osaka-jo, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, 540-0002 Osaka
Ranking: ★★★★☆
osakacastle.net

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kansai

Kansai is located in the southern central part of Japan’s Honshu island and consists of six prefectures: Mie, Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, and Wakayama. Often cited as the true cultural and historical heart of Japan, Kansai boasts a variety of cultural, historical, and gastronomical wonders that will leave you hungry for more.

Kyoto : Spots 1 ~ 29

Quick jump links:

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6Bishamon-do
Mid to end of November
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13Arashiyama
Mid November
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17Daigo-ji Temple
Mid November
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20Kiyomizu-dera
Mid November

Go to Kyoto list top

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto

Kyoto 1~ 29


1Zenporitsu-ji Temple (善法律寺) in Yawata

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the Beginning of December
Hours: 9am – 3pm
Access: 15min walk from Yawatashi Station (Keihan Main Line)
Address: 88-1 Yawatababa, Yawata-shi, 614-8085 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


2Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu (石清水八幡宮) in Yawata

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November
Hours: January-March 6:30am-6pm; April – September 5:30am -6:30pm; October 6am-6pm, November-December 6:30-6pm
Access: 3min ride with the Otokoyama Cable Car from Yawatashi Station (Keihan Main Line) until Otokoyama-sanjo Station (5min walk)
Address: 30 Yawatatakabo, Yawata-shi, 614-8005 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


3Yokoku-ji (楊谷寺) in Nagaokakyo

みーさん(@yakimachiri)が投稿した写真

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 9am-5pm
Access: 20min taxi ride from Nagaokakyo Station (JR Kyoto Line); 15min taxi ride from Nishiyama Tennozan Station (Hankyu Kyoto Line)
Address: 2 Donotani, Jododani, Nagaokakyo-shi, 617-0855 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nagaokakyo-kankou.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


4Komyo-ji (光明寺) in Nagaokakyo

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Access: 10min Hankyu-Bus ride from Nagaoka-Tenjin Station (Hankyu Kyoto Line) until Asahigaoka Homu Mae (3min walk); 20min Hankyu-Bus ride from Nagaokakyo Station (JR Kyoto Line) until Asahigaoka Homu Mae (3min walk)
Address: 26-1 Saijonai, Ao, Nagaokakyo-shi, 617-0811 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


5Kuwayama Shrine (鍬山神社) in Kameoka

A photo posted by Lieb*Eva | Eva Lee (@liebeeva) on

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Event: Autumn Color Light-up!
Date: November 10th (Thursday) – November 16th (Wednesday), 5pm-6pm
Admission: 300yen (adults), free for children
Access: 10min Community-Bus ride from Kameoka Station (JR Sagano Line) until Kuwayama Jinja-mae (direct access); 40min walk from Kameoka Station
Address: 22-2 Kamigaichi, Kamiyada-cho, Kameoka-shi, 621-0856 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com


6Bishamon-do (毘沙門堂) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: 8:30am – 5pm
Access: 20min walk from Yamashina Station
Address: 18 Anshuinariyama-cho, Yamashina-ku, Kyoto-shi, 607-8003 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


7Shouji-ji Temple (勝持寺) in Kyoto

京都 長岡京 勝持寺の紅葉その9🍁 勝持寺の境内、不動堂へ #京都紅葉 #勝持寺 #kyoto

A photo posted by Hiroshi Noguchi (@noguchibiyousitu) on

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: 9am-5pm
Admission: 400yen (adults), 300yen (Junior-high-school students), 200yen (Elementary-school students)
Access: 25min Hankyu-Bus ride from Higashi-Muko Station (Hankyu Kyoto Main Line) until Minamikasuga-cho (20min walk)
Address: 1194 Minamikasuga-cho, Oharano, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 610-1153 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


8Yoshimine-dera (善峯寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 8am-5pm
Admission: 500yen (adults), 300yen (High-school students), 200yen (junior-high-school & elementary-school students)
Access: 30min Hankyu-Bus ride from Mukomachi Station (JR Kyoto Line)or Higashi-Muko Station (Hankyu Kyoto Main Line) until Yoshimine-dera (8min walk)
Address: 1372 Oshio-cho, Oharano, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 610-1133 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
kyoto.travel/en


9Oharano Shrine (大原野神社) in Kyoto

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: 25min Hankyu-Bus ride from Higashi-Muko Station (Hankyu Kyoto Main Line) until Minamikasuga-cho (8min walk)
Address: 1152 Minamikasuga-cho, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 610-1153 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


10Kosho-ji Temple (興聖寺) in Uji

A photo posted by 拓🍃風 (@sohkai_works) on

First colors: End of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Access: 20min walk from Uji Station (JR Nara Line); 10min walk from Uji Station (Keihan Uji Line)
Address: 27-1 Yamada, Uji, Uji-shi, 611-0021 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


11Mimuroto-ji Temple (三室戸寺) in Uji

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Hours: April-October 8:30am – 4:30pm; November – March 8:30am-4pm
Admission: 500yen (adults), 300yen (children)
Access: 15min walk from Mimurodo Station (Keihan Uji Line)
Address: Shigatani 21, Todo, Uji-shi, 611-0013 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


12Izumo Dai-jingu Shrine (出雲大神宮) in Kameoka

A photo posted by @mina08128 on

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: 15min Furusato-Bus ride from Kameoka Station (JR Sagano Line) North Exit until Izumo Jinja Mae (direct access)
Address: Izumo, Chitose-cho, Kameoka-shi, 621-0002 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
kyoto-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


13Arashi Yama (嵐山) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Togetsukyo Bridge
Access: 10min walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station (JR Sagano Line)
Address: Arashiyama, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 616-8383 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
jnto.go.jp


14Rokuo-in Temple (鹿王院) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 9am-5pm
Admission: 400yen (adults), 200yen (junior-high-school & elementary-school students)
Access: 5min walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station (JR Sagano Line)
Address: 24 Sagakitaboricho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 616-8367 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
pref.kyoto.jp


15Joujakkou-ji Temple (常寂光寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: 9am – 5pm
Admission: 400yen
Access: 15min walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station (JR Sagano Line)
Address: 3 Ogura-cho, Sagaogurayama, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 616-8397 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
jojakko-ji.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


16Nison-in Temple (二尊院) in Kyoto

A photo posted by LOVE❤KYOTO (@kyoto_mkssk) on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: 9am – 4:30pm
Admission: 500yen; free for children
Access: 15min walk from Saga-Arashiyama Station (JR Sagano Line); 45min Kyoto Bus ride from JR Kyoto Station until Saga Shakado-mae (10min walk)
Address: 27 Chojin-cho, Saganison-in Monzen, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 616-8425 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


17Daigo-ji Temple (醍醐寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: 9am – 5pm
Admission: 800yen (adults), 600yen (high-school & junior-high-school students)
Access: 10min walk from Daigo Station (Subway Tozai Line)
Address: 22 Daigohigashioji-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi, 601-1325 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
daigoji.or.jp


18Kurama-dera (鞍馬寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: 5min walk from Kurama Station (Eizan Kurama Line)
Address: 1074 Kuramahonmachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 601-1111 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
insidekyoto.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


19Kyoto Botanical Garden (京都府立植物園) in Kyoto

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Admission: 200 yen (adults), 150 yen (high-school students), children (free)
Hours: 9am – 4pm
Access: Direct access from Kitayama Station (Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line)
Address: Shimogamo Hangicho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 606-0823 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pref.kyoto.jp


20Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 6am-5:30/6:30pm
Access: Bus ride from Kawaramachi Station (Hankyu Kyoto Main Line) or Gion-Shijō Station (Keihan Main Line) until Kyomizu-michi (10min walk)
Address: 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, 605-0862 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
kiyomizudera.or.jp


21Choraku-ji Temple (長楽寺) in Kyoto

#fujifilm#fujifilmxt10#fujinon#紅葉#姨捨#長楽寺

A photo posted by かず (@zutemasquerade) on

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Admission: 500 yen (adults), 200 yen (children)
Hours: 9am – 5pm (Closed on Thursday)
Access: 20min bus ride from JR Kyoto Station
Address: 626 Maruyama-cho, Yasaka Toriimae Higashi-iru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, 605-0071 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


22Tofuku-ji Temple (東福寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 9am – 4pm
Access: 10min walk from Tofuku-ji Station (Keihan Main Line, JR Nara Line)
Address: 15-778 Honmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, 605-0981 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tofukuji.jp


23Kodai-ji Temple (高台寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Admission: 600yen (adults), 250yen (junior-high- school & high-school students), children are free
Hours: 9am – 5:30pm
Access: 5min bus ride from Gion-Shijo Station (Keihan Main Line) into Kujoshakomae direction until Higashiyama Yasui (5min walk)
Address: 526 Shimokawara-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, 605-0825 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
kodaiji.com


24To-ji Temple (東寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 8:30am – 4pm
Access: 15min walk from JR Kyoto Station; 10min walk from Toji Station (Kintetsu Kyoto Line)
Address: 1 Kujo-cho, Minami-ku, Kyoto-shi, 601-8473 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
toji.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


25Genko-an Temple (源光庵) in Kyoto

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November
Hours: 9am – 5pm
Admission: 400 yen (adults) [during November 500 yen], 200 yen (Children)
Access: 15min bus ride with Busline Kita 1 from Kitaoji Station (Subway Karasuma Line) until Takagaminegenkouan-mae (1min walk)
Address: 47 Kita-Takagamine-cho, Takagamine, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, 603-8468 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
jnto.go.jp


26Eikando Zenrin-ji Temple (永観堂 禅林寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Event: Autumn Night Time Visit
Date: November 8th (Tuesday) – December 4th (Sunday), 5:30pm – 8:30pm (closed 9pm)
Admission: 600yen (adults)
Access: 15min walk from Keage Station (Subway Tozai Line); 25min bus ride from JR Kyoto Station until Nanzen-ji ・Eikando-michi (3min walk)
Address: 48 Eikando-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 606-8445 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★★☆
eikando.or.jp


27Nanzen-ji Temple (南禅寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: December – February; 8:40am – 4:30pm / March – November 8:40am – 5pm
Admission: No admission fee for the temple precincts.
Hojo Garden: 500yen (adults), 400yen (high-school students), 300yen (children)
Sanmon Gate: 500yen (adults), 400yen (high-school students), 300yen (children)
Nanzen-in: 300yen (adults), 250yen (high-school dtudnts), 150yen (children)
Access: 10min walk from Keage Station (Subway Tozai Line); 25min bus ride from JR Kyoto Station until Nanzen-ji・Eikando-michi (8min walk)
Address: Nanzenji Fukuchi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 606-8435 Kyoto

Ranking: ★★★★☆
jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kyoto


28Enko-ji Temple (圓光寺) in Kyoto

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Hours: 9am-5pm
Admission: 500yen (adults), 400 yen (Junior-high-school & high-school students), 300 yen (children)
Access: 15min walk from Ichijoji Station (Eizan Main Line), 35min bus ride from JR Kyoto Station until Ichijo-ji Sagarimatsu-cho (7min walk)
Address: 13, Ichijojikotani-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 606-8147 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
enkouji.jp


29Sanzen-in Temple (三千院) in Kyoto

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Hours: March – December 7th, 8:30am-5pm / December 8th – February, 9am-4:30pm
Admission: 700yen (adults), 400 yen (Junior-high-school & high-school students), 150yen (children)
Access: 1hour bus ride from JR Kyoto Station until Ohara (10min walk),
Address: 540 Ohara-Raigoin-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 601-1242 Kyoto
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Niigata Prefecture

Niigata 1~ 6


1Dragondola (ドラゴンドラ) in Yuzawa

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: End of October
Details: Long gondola that gives you a panoramic view of the mountains in full fall beauty. The ropeway connects Naeba ski resort and Tashiro ski resort, so even in the winter this is a good visit. The gondola is the longest and fastest in Japan (5,5 km, 6m/s). Also visit the nearby Prince Hotel for the 1,800 yen all-you-can-eat buffet.
Festival: October 31st (Monday) – November 1st (Tuesday). Autumn appreciation day.
Access: 35min bus ride from Echigo-Yuzawa Station (JR Joetsu Line; Hokuetsu Express – Hokuhoku Line)
Admission: 2,400 yen (adults) / 1,200 yen (children) for a return ticket
Address: 202-4 Mikuni, Yuzawa-machi, Minamiuonuma-gun, Niigata 949-6212
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com


2Okutainai (奥胎内) in Tainai

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October
Details: This valley in the Bandai Asahi National Park is virtually untouched by human hands.
Special sight: One of Japan’s best photo spots for crystal clear water. Nearby hut to enjoy nature.
Access: By car: 50min from Nihon-kai Tohoku Expressway Nakajo IC
90min from JR Uetsu Matin Line “Nakajo Station”
Address: Okutainai-san, Shimoarasawa, Tainai-shi, 959-2816 Niigata
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or

Saitama Triennale 2016

To the north of Tokyo lies Saitama City. It’s not so well known amongst tourists but there are many fun activities and green areas. It’s a fun place for a daytrip. Currently Saitama is hosting the 2016 Saitama Triennale of which one exhibition area is in Saitama City.

The Saitama Triennale 2016 has participating artists from all around the world, famous in their own country and abroad. The Saitama Triennale has become a festival to be enjoyed by all five senses. This year’s theme is “Discover the Future!”. Discover Saitama’s charm and daily life through the art’s stories. There’s an indoor and an outdoor zone so you can enjoy the artwork in many different ways.

Wattention interviewed Thai artist Wisut Ponnimit who designed the event’s mascot character “Mamuang-chan”. We talked about his work and the Saitama Triennale.

saitama-01
saitama-02

Tam’s interview

งาน Saitama Triennale 2016

Profile

Wisut PONNIMIT (Thailand)
Born in 1976, Bangkok Thailand. Nicknamed Tam. Debuted in 1998 in Bangkok as a manga artist. He lived in Kobe from 2003 until 2006 and currently works in Bangkok. His works include the “Mamuang” series, “Blanco” (Shogakukan), “Hesheit” (Nanaroku inc.) and various manga art. He also participated in the Yokohama Triennale 2005. In 2009 “Hesheit Aqua” received an honourable mention at the Cultural Affairs Media Arts festival in the manga division. In 2015 he had a solo exhibition “MELO HOUSE” in Bangkok. Besides having done animation work, Tam also collaborated with musical artists such as “Baan” (2013) and Harada Ikuko.

About the Saitama Triennale 2016
Q: Why did you participate in the Saitama Triennale 2016?
A: It’s a big event, so I think I participated to test my own strength.

Q: How do you feel about participating in an international event like this?
A: As I thought, I’m a bit nervous to work together with the other artists. I will have to work hard on my own art as well.

About his work
Q: What’s the style of your work? / What kind of work did you make?
A: Because the theme of this exhibition is “Discover the Future!”, I created work in that image.

Q: You also designed the event’s mascot character. Could you briefly introduce her?
A: The exhibition area is very big, the event is held at various places in Saitama. There are people who come only for the Saitama Triennale 2016 so I think most of them might not be familiar with Saitama City or its station. This is why we decided to place a guide sign with Mamuang chan near the station that guides visitors to the event. Because Mamuang chan is there, I hope people won’t get lost and will feel safe.。

Q: What kind of character is Mamuang chan?
A: I think she’s a child who doesn’t overthink things too much.

Regarding his studies and living in Japan
Q: Why did you study abroad in Japan? What sparked your interest in Japan?
A: When I was a child I loved Japanese manga and this made me start working on manga. I wanted to learn more about the origin of manga and came to Japan to better understand Japanese culture.

Q: Why do you think your work is also popular in Japan?
A: I think my art pieces has something that Japanese people cannot get from their normal life. Maybe, when they see my work they feel a sense of security.

Q: For foreigners in Japan and tourists from overseas who come to see the 2016 Saitama Triennale, please share your recommendations.
A: I think it’s an interesting event because there are many artists. The entrance is free and the weather is getting cooler so I think it’s a good chance to visit Saitama. Please come and see the event.

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Like Tam said in the interview, the Saitama Triennale 2016 is a great opportunity to visit various spots in Saitama. The event’s scenery and artwork is different in every area so photography enthusiasts can also enjoy themselves as well. There are events you can enjoy together as a family, events where you can experience culture and hands-on exhibitions so please come and see them in a leisurely mood.

Near Omiya Station, one of the venues for the Saitama Triennale 2016, is a railway museum with about 36 train cars on display from the late 19th century until the latest modern bullet train. There are 5 different driving simulators such as the steam locomotive D51 (Japanese built steam locomotive) and the Shinkansen 200 series (bullet train). It’s an interactive museum where you can see, listen and touch.

Iwatsuki, another exhibition area, is the lead producer of dolls in Japan with more than 80 doll ateliers. Dolls for Hinamatsuri (girl’s festival), boy’s festival and a variety of traditional dolls have been shipped to both domestic and foreign customers. How about experiencing a doll workshop after visiting the art exhibition?

In Saitama City you can enjoy the bonsai gardens and the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, Japan’s leading bonsai museum and the host for the 8th World Bonsai Congress in 2017 (Apr. 27 -30, 2017). There are many other interesting spots in Saitama City.

The Saitama Triennale 2016 is held until December 11th. Why not make an art journey to Saitama City?

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Event Information

Dates: Sept. 9, 2016 – Dec. 11, 2016
Locations: 1) Yohonmachi Station ~ Omiya Station 2) Musashi Urawa Station ~ Naka Urawa area 3) Iwatsuki Station area
Link to the area map and access information (Japanese – English)PDF
Official website URL: https://saitamatriennale.jp/(Japanese – English)(Japanese – English)

Shichigosan, 7-5-3

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Every year on November 15th parents celebrate the growth of their children during Shichigosan. The name of this event literally means “seven, five, three” and corresponds with the age of your child. At the age of seven a girl is allowed to wear her first obi, when five a boy wears hakama pants in public for the first time and at the age of three both boys and girls are allowed to grow their hair out. Of course the tradition isn’t as strict anymore, but Shichigosan is still an event that many people love to celebrate.

History

During the Heian period (794 – 1185) parents already celebrated their children’s growth on a lucky day in November. The festival only got a set date as the 15th of November during the Kamakura period (1185 – 1333). During the Edo period (1603 – 1868) commoners joined in on the practice combining it with a shrine visit and offering. Thus Schichigosan as we know it today was born. Boys celebrate it at the age of three and five and girls celebrate it when they turn three and seven. Birthdays weren’t traditionally celebrated in old Japan, everyone was one year old when they were born and aged one year on New Year’s Day. Events like Shichigosan were used as celebratory occasions. Parents buy or rent traditional clothing and dedicate a whole day to celebrate.

After the shrine visit parents buy chitose ame, thousand years candy. It’s shaped like a stick and has the image of a turtle and a crane on the package. These animals are traditional symbols for longevity.

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Clothing

Three year old girls wear a kimono that is tucked in at the shoulders and has no obi sash. When they turn seven girls wear a proper kimono with long sleeves. Five year old boys wear a full formal Japanese outfit with hakama and haori for the first time. Nowadays Shichigosan is more of a photo opportunity for the parents, but the wish for healthy children remains the same.

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5 New Halloween Desserts

With the end of October coming up, department stores and sweets shops are preparing their new special Halloween treats.
Here’s Wattention’s pick from this season’s lineup.

Halloween Bunny Parfait (1,810 yen)

bunny parfait
Image Credit: PR Times
This parfait brings you all the best Autumn has to offer! Nicolas House in Harajuku is known for the best bunny themed sweets in Japan such as bunny cream puffs and cakes. The Halloween parfait is a combination of choux cream, maple jelly, kabocha(Japanese pumpkin) cream, ginger jelly, marron cream, purple pumpkin ice cream, chocolate sauce and a bunch of other ingredients. If a cute Halloween is your thing, head on over to Nicolas House!

Dates: Sept. 20, 2016 – Oct. 31, 2016
Hours: 10am – 8pm (last order at 7pm)
Location: Harajuku
Address: 4 Chome-26-5 Jingumae 426 building 1F-2F, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo-to 150-0001

“Matthew the ghost” cake (2,800 yen)

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Image Credit: PR Times
The Osaka Bay Tower Hotel is bringing Halloween to their restaurant with this specially made ghost cake. The cake features plenty of fruit toppings and a white marshmallowy ghost filled with cake and strawberries. Who says Halloween can’t be sweet. You need to make a reservation 3 days beforehand, pickup available.

Dates: Oct. 1, 2016 – Oct. 28, 2016
Hours: you can decide a pickup time yourself
Location: Hotel Osaka Bay Tower lobby
Address: 552-0007 Osaka-shi, Minato-ku Benten 1-2-1

Halloween Gateau Nantes (389 yen)

Image Credit: PR Times
Image Credit: PR Times
Introducing a Halloween cake made in the traditional Fench way. The main features of a cake made in the “Nantais” way are plenty of sugar and almonds. Bretonne added plenty of pumpkin paste, pumpkin seeds and white chocolate. Now this French style cake got Halloween’d.

Dates: Oct. 1, 2016 – Oct. 31, 2016
Hours: 10am – 8pm (Sun – Thurs) / 10am – 9pm (Fri – Sat)
Location: Bretonne shop, Osaka Hankyu Umeda department store
Address: 30-8350, Osaka-shi, Osaka, Kita-ku, Kakuda-cho 8-7 Hankyu Umeda head office underground first floor

Purple Pancakes (1,400 yen)

Image Credit: PR Times
Image Credit: PR Times
Don’t let the purple scare you. The color comes from plenty of sweet purple potatoes combined with a delicious custard cream. Raspberry sauce and blueberries complete the overall spooky look of this dessert. Be sure to add Eggs’n Things to your Halloween must-do list.

Dates: Oct. 1, 2016 – Oct. 31, 2016
Hours: Depends on the location
Location: Check all Eggs’n Things locations here: http://bit.ly/1hqLxKi(Japanese only)

Shiseido Halloween Chocolate Parfait (1,620 yen)

Image Credit: PR Times
Image Credit: PR Times
The Shiseido Parlour has been offering quality food since 1905 and continue to do so. This year’s featured Halloween item is a chocolate parfait topped with candy. The parfait’s base consists of chocolate and pumpkin cream. This parfait is only available at the stores in Nihonbashi, Yokohama and Nagoya.

Dates: Oct. 1, 2016 – Oct. 31, 2016
Hours: Depends on the location
Location: Nihonbashi Takashimaya, Yokohama Takashimaya, Yokohama Sogo, Nagoya Central Towers 12F
Address: Check all locations here: http://bit.ly/2dnqeNr

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Kanagawa Prefecture


51Lake Tanzawa (丹沢湖) in Ashigarashimo – Yamakita

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November
Access: 50min Fujikyu Shonan Bus ride from Shinmatsuda Station (Odakyu Odawara Line) into Nishi-Tanzawa Station direction until Tanzawa-Ko (direct access)
Address: Kamioda, Yamakita-mura, Ashigarakami-gun, 258-0203 Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com


52Oyama Temple & Oyama-Afuri Shrine (大山寺・大山阿夫利神社) in Isehara

A photo posted by てり~ (@telliart) on

First colors: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: Oyama Temple – 30min bus ride from Isehara Station (Odakyu Odawara Line) until the terminal stop “Oyama Cable”. From there it is a 15min walk to Oyama Cable Car Station. Take the cable car for a 2min ride to “Oyamadera Station”, get off and walk 2 min to the temple grounds.
Oyama-Afuri Shrine – 6min ride from Oyama Cable Car Station to Afuri Jinja Station (2min walk)
Address: Oyama Temple, Oyama 724 / Oyama-Afuri Shrine, 355 Oyama, Isehara-shi, Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Kanagawa Prefecture


49Lake Ashi (箱根・芦ノ湖) in Ashigarashimo – Hakone

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Access: 1hour bus ride from Odawara Station (JR Tokaido Line, JR Shonan Shinjuku Line, JR Tokaido Shinkansen, Odakyu Odawara Line, Hakone Tozan Line, Daiyuzan Line)
Address: Moto-Hakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, 250-0522 Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
hakone.or.jp


50Yumoto (箱根・湯本) in Ashigarashimo – Hakone

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Access: Hakone-Yumoto Station (Hakone Tozan Line) (direct access)
Address: Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, 250-0311 Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
hakone.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Kanagawa Prefecture

Kanagawa Prefecture 47~ 54


47Miyagase Dam (宮ヶ瀬ダム) in Aiko – Kiyokawa

A photo posted by かえる (@rhacophorus101) on

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: 40min bus ride from Hon-Atsugi Station (Odakyu Odawara Line) via the Center into Hanbara direction until Aikawa-Ohashi (15min walk); Bus from Fuchinobe Station (JR Yokohama Line) until the Tana Bus Center, from there it´s another 40min bus ride until Hanbara (30min walk)
Address: 940-4 Miyagase, Kiyokawa-mura, Aiko-gun 243-0111 Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tripadvisor.com


48Sengokuhara (箱根・仙石原) in Ashigarashimo – Hakone

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the end of November
Access: 25min Hakone Tozan Bus ride from Hakone-Yumoto Station (Hakone Tozan Line)
Address: Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, 250-0631 Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
hakone.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Kanagawa Prefecture


53Zuisenji Temple (瑞泉寺) in Kamakura

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the middle of December
Admission: 200yen (adults), 100yen(children)
Access: 15min bus ride from Kamakura Station (JR Yokosuka Line, JR Shonan Shinjuku Line, Enoshima Electric Railway) into Otonomiya direction until the terminal stop “Otonomiya” (15min walk)
Address: Nikaido 710, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
city.kamakura.kanagawa.jp


54Sankeien Garden (三溪園) in Yokohama

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Admission: 500yen (adults), 200yen(children)
Access: Bus from Negishi Station (JR Keihin Tohoku Line/Negishi Line, JR Yokohama Line) until Honmoku (7min walk)
Address: Honmoku Sannotani 58-1, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
sankeien.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan: Tokyo

Tokyo 33~ 46


33Yoyogi Park (代々木公園) in Shibuya

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Access: 3min walk from Harajuku Station (JR Yamanote Line); 3min walk from Yoyogi-Koen Station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)
Address: Yoyogi Kamizono-cho 2-1, Shibuya-ku, 151-0052 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tokyometro.jp


34Meijijingu Gaien (明治神宮外苑) in Shinjuku

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Ginkgo tree row
Event: 20th Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Festival
Date: November 18th (Friday) – December 5th (Monday), Weekday 10am – 6pm, Weekend & Public Holiday 9:30am – 6pm (Last day until 2pm)
Access: 5-13min walk from Shinanomachi Station (JR Chuo Sobu Line), Sendagaya Station (JR Chuo Sobu Line), Aoyama-itchome Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line, Toei Oedo Line)
Address: Kita-Aoyama 2-chome, Minato-ku, 107-0061 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
meijijingugaien.jp

Special Edition Halloween Snacks

Not only people like to transform during Halloween, food does too! Japanese like to be in touch with the seasons and want their food to reflect that. Resulting in some amazing special edition snacks you can only get during Halloween!

Lipton Tea – Halloween version

Colder times mean warm drinks. Lipton knows this and treats us to some very delicious looking limited edition teas. The new crème brûlée tea got a Halloween makeover and is ready to parade with the blueberry muffin and apple pie tea. Even the tea bags are into trick-or-treating.

Lipton Tea
[Edited] Image Credit: PR Times

Sapporo Otoko Ume Sour

Popular beer brewer Sapporo brings us this “manly” plum drink for Halloween called “Otoko Ume Sour”. During ancient times eating a plum was believed to ward off evil. If you prefer to be one of the monsters instead, Sapporo has made a fun application to turn your photo into a traditional Japanese demon here.

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Image Credit: PR Times

Pie no Mi

This popular puff pastry is all dressed up and ready for Halloween. The inside is still the traditional chocolate filling, but here’s an editor’s tip to make this snack more appropriate for the season. Heat the individual pastries in the microwave for a few seconds and you have yourself a snack with a warm chocolate filling that is sure to keep the chills away.

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Image Credit: PR Times

Pumpkin Bran Flakes

Jack the Pumpkin King, Jack-o’-Lantern,… Everyone has heard of the famous pumpkins from Halloween. No wonder this orange vegetable is a crucial ingredient in any October-themed snack, or in this case, breakfast. Kellogg’s keeps it traditional with their Pumpkin Bran Flakes.

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Image Credit: PR Times

 

Koala’s March

A staple in Asian supermarkets overseas, these koalas never disappoint in deliciousness. Every individual cookie has a special chocolate imprint with a funny character. This special Halloween edition features new designs, so be sure not to get spooked when you open your package. This snack is also seen as a lucky item.

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Image Credit: PR Times

Choco Pie & Custard Cake

These classic Japanese snacks still taste the same during Halloween but their covers are definitely different. Both choco pies and custard cakes are individually wrapped and ready to surprise you with their special October design. Can you discover how many different types of wrapper designs there are?

 

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[Edited] Image Credit: PR Times

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


35Mukojima-Hyakkaen Garden (向島百花園) in Sumida

A photo posted by こーさん (@kotyatora) on

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the middle of December
Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Admission: 150yen (adults), 70yen (people over 65years old), free entry for children and middle school students with residence in Tokyo
Access: 8min walk from Higashi-Mukojima Station (Tobu Skytree Line); 13min walk from Keisei-Hikifune Station (Keisei Oshiage Line)
Address: 3-18-3 Higashi-Mukojima, Sumida-ku, 131-0032 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
teien.tokyo-park.or.jp


36Rikugien Garden (六義園) in Bunkyo

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Suikonoue, Tsutsuji tea house
Event: Daimyo Garden & Autumn Color Light-up
Date: November 19th (Saturday) – December 7th (Wednesday), sunset – 9pm
Opening Hours during the Light-up period: 9am – 9pm (last entry 8:30pm)
Admission: 300yen (adults), 150yen (people over 65years old), free entry for children and middle school students with residence in Tokyo
Access: 7min walk from Komagome Station (JR Yamanote Line, Tokyo Metro Namboku Line)
Address: 6-chome Hon-Komagome, Bunkyo-ku, 113-0021 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
teien.tokyo-park.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


37Koishikawa Korakuen Garden (小石川後楽園) in Bunkyo

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Oigawa, Tsuten Bridge, Momiji Forest
Opening Hours: 9am-5pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Admission: 300yen (adults), 150yen (people over 65years old), free entry for children and middle school with residence in Tokyo
Access: 8min walk from Iidabashi Station (Tokyo Metro Namboku Line, Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line, Tokyo Metro Tozai Line, JR Chuo-Sobu Line, Toei Oedo Line), 8min walk from Korakuen Station (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, Tokyo Metro Namboku Line), 8min walk from Suidobashi Station (JR Chuo-Sobu Line)
Address: 1-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, 112-0004 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
teien.tokyo-park.or.jp


38Showa Memorial Park (国営昭和記念公園) in Tachikawa

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Canal, Katarai Ginkgo Tree row, colored maple leaves in the Japanese garden
Opening Hours: 9:30am-5pm
Admission: 410yen (adults), 80yen (children), 210yen (pensioner)
Access: 2min walk from Nishi-Tachikawa Station (JR Ome Line), 10min walk from Tachikawa Station (JR Ome Line, JR Chuo Line, JR Nambu Line)
Address: 3173 Midori-cho, Tachikawa-shi, 190-0014 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆

showakinen-koen.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


39Tonogayato Garden (殿ヶ谷戸庭園) in Kokubunji

First colors: Middle of November until the end of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Koyo Pavilion
Opening Hours: 9am-5pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Admission: 150yen (adults), 70yen (people over 65years old), free entry for children and middle school students with residence in Tokyo
Access: 2min walk from Kokubunji Station (JR Chuo Rapid Line, Seibu Kokubunji Line, Seibu Tamako Line)
Address: 2-16 Minami-cho, Kokubunji-shi, 185-0021 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
teien.tokyo-park.or.jp


40Road Koshu’s Ginkgo Row (甲州街道いちょう並木) in Hachioji

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November
Recommended Spots: Musashi Imperial Mausoleum, Ryoho-Temple
Event: 37th Hachioji Ginkgo Festival
Date: November 19th (Saturday), 9am – 5pm; November 20th (Sunday), 9am – 4:30pm
Access: 3min walk from Nishi-Hachioji Station (JR Chuo Main Line); 15min walk from Takao Station (JR Chuo Main Line, JR Chuo Rapid Line, Keio Takao Line)
Address: Higashi-Sakawa-machi 120, Hachioji-shi, 193-0834 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


42Mount Takao (高尾山) in Hachioji

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November
Recommended Spots: Cable car, mountain summit
Event: Mount Takao Maple Leaf Festival
Date: November 1st (Tuesday) – November 30th (Wednesday)
Place: The Mount Takao “Takao Shinrin Center”, in front of the mountain foot`s cable car station “Kiyotaki”, in front of the mountainside teahouse “Juitchome Chaya”
Access: Takaosan-guchi Station (Keio Takao Line)
Address: Takao-machi, Hachioji-shi, 193-0844 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
jnto.go.jp


43Mitake Ravine (御岳渓谷) in Ome

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Recommended Spots: Around the Gyokudo Museum
Access: Mitake Station (JR Ome Line)
Address: 310 Mitake–honcho, Ome-shi, 198-0173 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
pregamestraining.tokyo2020.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


44Akigawa Ravine (秋川渓谷) in Akiruno

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Recommended Spots: Around Ishibune Bridge, around Aokidaira Bridge, Kamiyozawa
Access: 15min bus ride from Musashi Itsukaichi Station (JR Itsukaichi Line) until Jurigi
Address: Akiruno-shi, 190‐0174 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
gotokyo.org


45Okutama & Okutama shore (奥多摩・奥多摩湖畔) in Nishitama – Okutama

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Recommended Spots: Mukashi Michi, Yama no Furusato Mura, Ikoi no Michi, Miharashi no Oka
Access: 20min bus ride from Okutama Station (JR Ome Line)
Address: 1740 Kawano, Okutama-machi, Nishitama-gun, 198-0225 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan Tokyo


46Okutama & Hikawa Ravine (奥多摩・氷川渓谷) in Nishitama – Okutama

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Recommended Spots: Nippara Ravine, Hato no Su Ravine, Sogaku Ravine, Otaba River upper stream, Mukashi Michi
Access: 3min walk from Okutama Station (JR Ome Line)
Address: Okutama Visitor Center, 171-1 Hikawa, Okutama-machi, Nishitama-gun, 198-0212 Tokyo
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Chiba Prefecture


32Yomogi Fudo Falls (四方木不動滝) in Kamogawa

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First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the beginning of December
Access: Bus ride from Awa-Amatsu Station (JR Sotobo Line) until Yomogi (15min walk)
Address: Yomogi, Kamogawa-shi, 299-5506 Chiba
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
city.kamogawa.lg.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Chiba Prefecture

Chiba Prefecture 28~ 32


28Hondo-ji temple (本土寺) in Matsudo

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November
Access: 10min walk from Kita-Kogane Station (JR Joban Line)
Address: Hiraga 63, Matsudo-shi, 270-0002 Chiba
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor


29Narita-san Shinshoji (成田山新勝寺) in Narita

First colors: Mid November
Color Peak: Mid November to early December
Access: 15min walk from JR Narita Station or Keisei Narita Station
Address: Narita 1, Narita-shi, Chiba
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Chiba Prefecture


30Lake Kameyama (亀山湖) in Kimitsu

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Access: 5min walk from Kazusa-Kameyama Station (JR Kururi Line)
Address: 8 Kawamata Kyukawamata, Kimitsu-shi, Chiba-ken 292-0524
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor


31Komatsu-ji Temple (小松寺) in Minamiboso

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November until the beginning of December
Access: 8min taxi ride from Chikura Station (JR Uchibo Line)
Address: 1057 Chikura-cho Onuki, Minamiboso-shi, 295-0013 Chiba
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Saitama Prefecture

Saitama Prefecture 21~ 27


21Nagatoro (長瀞) in Chichibu – Nagatoro

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Recommended Spot: Around Iwadatami
Access: 5min walk from Nagatoro Station (Chichibu Railway)
Address: Nagatoro-machi, Chichibu-gun, 369-1300 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com


22Mount Hodo (宝登山) in Chichibu – Nagatoro

A photo posted by Kzm Iwt (@kzmkzmmzkmzk) on

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Recommended Spot: Hodosan Small Animal Park
Access: 15min walk from Nagatoro Station (Chichibu Railway) until the ropeway Station
Address: Nagatoro-machi, Chichibu-gun, 369-1305 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.chichibu-railway.co.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Saitama Prefecture


23Nakatsu Ravine (中津峡) in Chichibu

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Access: 50min Seibu Kanko Bus ride from Mitsumineguchi Station (Chichibu Railway) until  Aiharabashi
Address: Nakatsugawa, Chichibu-shi, 369-1903 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
jnto.go.jp


24Park Togo (東郷公園) in Hanno

A photo posted by Misato Kitagawa (@misato_1966) on

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Recommended Spots: The grounds of Chichibu Ontake Shrine
Event: Maple Leaf Festival
Date: November 19th (Saturday) – 3pm~; November 20th (Sunday) – 10am~
Details: Saturday – Jazz music beneath the maple trees, Sunday – music and dance performances; as well as food stands
Admission: 100 yen (adults)
Access: 20min walk from Agano Station (Seibu Chichibu Line)
Address: 580 Sakaishi, Hanno-shi, 357-0215 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★★☆
city.hanno.saitama.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Saitama Prefecture


25Lake Kamakita (鎌北湖) in Iruma – Moroyama

First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: Middle of November until the end of November
Access: 60min walk from Moro Station (JR Hachiko Line); 70min walk from Higashi-Moro Station (Tobu – Ogose Line)
Address: Oyagi, Moroyama-machi, Iruma-gun, 350-0452 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor


26Torii Kannon (鳥居観音) in Hanno

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Access: 40min bus ride from Hanno Station (Seibu Ikebukuro Line) until Renkeibashi (5min walk)
Address: 3198 Kaminaguri, Hanno-shi, 357-0111 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★★☆
city.hanno.saitama.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Saitama Prefecture


27Mount Tenran (天覧山) in Hanno

First colors: Middle of November
Color Peak: End of November
Recommended Spots: Mountaintop, Juroku Rakan
Access: 40min walk from Hanno Station (Seibu Ikebukuro Line) ; 45min walk from Higashi-Hanno Station (Seibu Ikebukuro Line, JR Hachiko Line)
Address: Hanno, Hanno-shi, 357-0063 Saitama
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tripadvisor

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Gunma Prefecture


15Suwakyo Gorge (諏訪峡) in Tone-Minakami

sightseeing_71

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Access: 20min walk from Minakami Station (JR Joetsu Line)
Address: Minakami-machi, Tone-gun 379-1616 Gunma
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.visitgunma.jp


16Sarugakyo (猿ヶ京) in Tone-Minakami

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Recommended Spots: Around lake Akaya
Access: 25min bus ride from Jomo-Kogen Station (JR Joetsu-Shinkansen) until Sarugakyo Onsen;
40min bus ride from Gokan Station (JR Joetsu Line) until Sarugakyo Onsen
Address: Sarugakyo Onsen, Minakami, Tone-gun, 379-1403 Gunma
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.visitgunma.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Gunma Prefecture


17Agatsuma Ravine (吾妻渓谷) in Higashi-Agatsuma

First colors: end of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Access: 1hour walk from IwashimaStation (JR Agatsuma Line)
Address: Matsutani, Higashi Agatsuma-machi, Agatsuma-gun, 377-0814 Gunma
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.visitgunma.jp


18Kajika Bridge (河鹿橋) Illumination in Shibukawa

河鹿橋紅葉(2)(渋川市)_TN

First colors: End of October
Event: Oct 25 – Nov 13
Access: About 25 minutes by car from Shibukawa-Ikaho IC of Kan-Etsu Expressway
Address: Ikaho, Ikaho-machi, Shibukawa-shi, Gunma
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.visitgunma.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Gunma Prefecture


19Mount Haruna & Lake Haruna (榛名山・榛名湖) in Takasaki

榛名湖 (5)(高崎市,東吾妻町)_TN

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Recommended Spot: The view from Kohan no Yado Memorial Park
Access: 1,5h bus ride from JR Takasaki Station until Harunako
Address: Harunasan-machi & Harunako-machi, Takasaki-shi, 370-3348 Gunma
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.visitgunma.jp


20Usui 3rd Bridge / Megane Bashi (めがね橋) in Annaka

めがね橋(3)(安中市)_TN

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Early to mid November
Access: About 15 minutes by bus from Yokokawa Station on JR Shin-Etsu Line
Address: Sakamoto, Matsuida-machi, Annaka-shi, Gunma
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.visitgunma.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Gunma Prefecture

Gunma Prefecture 13~ 20


13Fukiware-no-taki Falls (吹割の滝) in Numata

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Late October to early November
Access: About 40 minutes by bus from Numata Station on JR Joetsu Line
Address: Okkai, Tone-machi, Numata-shi, Gunma
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com


14Tanigawa-dake Tenjindaira (谷川岳天神平) in Tone-Minakami

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Access: 25min bus ride from Minakami Station (JR Joetsu Line) to Tanigawa-dake ropeway , 45min bus ride from Jomo-Kogen Station to Tanigawa-dake ropeway (Ropeway round-trip 2060 yen)
Address: Yubiso, Minakami-machi,Tone-gun, 379-1728 Gunma
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.visitgunma.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tochigi Prefecture


9Setoai Ravine (瀬戸合峡) in Nikko

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First colors: Beginning of October until the middle of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Access: 1h10min Nikko-Shiei Bus ride from Kinugawa-Onsen Station (Tobu Kinugawa Line ) into Meotobuchi-Onsen until Kawamata-Heikezuka (10min walk)
Address: Kawamata, Nikko-shi, 321-2717 Tochigi
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nikko-travel.jp


10Mount Futara Shrine, Rinno-ji Temple, Tosho-gu Shrine (二荒山神社・輪王寺・東照宮) in Nikko

toshogu

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Event: Light-Up Nikko
Date: November 11th (Friday) until November 13th (Sunday), 6pm – 9pm  
Access: 8min Tobu Bus ride from Nikko Station (JR Nikko Line) or Tobu-Nikko Station (Tobu-Nikko Line) until Nishisando (10min walk); 20min walk from Nikko Station (JR Nikko Line) or Tobu-Nikko Station
Address: Kawamata, Nikko-shi, 321-2717 Tochigi
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tochigi Prefecture


11Lake Chuzenji (中禅寺湖湖畔) in Nikko

R_Chuzenjiko-photo-AC-3_R

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Beginning of October until the middle of October
Access: 50min Tobu Bus ride from Nikko Station (JR Nikko Line) or Tobu-Nikko Station (Tobu-Nikko Line) into Chuzenji-Onsen or Yumoto-Onsen direction until Chuzenji-Onsen (direct access)
Address: Chugushi, Nikko-shi, 321-1661 Tochigi
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com


12Ryuzu Falls (竜頭ノ滝) in Nikko

800px-Ryuzu_Falls_01_R

First colors: End of September
Color Peak: End of September until the beginning of October
Access: 1hour Tobu Bus ride from Nikko Station (JR Nikko Line) or Tobu-Nikko Station (Tobu-Nikko Line) into Yumoto-Onsen direction until Ryuzu no Taki (2min walk)
Address: Chugushi, Nikko-shi, 321-1661 Tochigi
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tochigi Prefecture

Tochigi Prefecture 7~ 12


7Nasukogen (那須高原) in Nasu

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spot: Nasu Onsen Shrine, Sessho-seki
Access: 35min bus ride from Kuroiso Station (JR Utsunomiya Line, JR Tohoku Main Line)
Address: Nasu-machi, Nasu-gun, 325-0301 Tochigi
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
nikko-travel.jp


8Kawaji Onsen (川治温泉) in Nikko

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the middle of November
Event: Kawaji Onsen Autumn Color Festival
Date: November 6th (Sunday); 10am – 3 pm
Details: 8 pm – 8:30pm Firework Show
Access: Direct access from Kawaji-Yumoto Station (Yagan Railway Aizu Kinugawa Line)
Address: Kawaji Onsen, Nikko-shi, 321-2521 Tochigi
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
travel.tochigiji.or.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Ibaraki Prefecture

Ibaraki Prefecture 1~ 6


1Hanazono Gorge (花園渓谷) in Kita- Ibaraki

盛紅葉

First colors: Late October
Color Peak: Early to late November
Access: 30min taxi ride from Isohara Station (JR Joban Line)
Address: Hanakawacho Hanazono, Kitaibaraki, Ibaraki
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.ibarakiguide.jp (Japanese only)


2Eigen-ji (永源寺) in Kuji – Daigo

永源寺(もみじ寺)

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November
Access: 10min walk from Hitachi-Daigo Station (JR Suigun Line)
Address: 1571 Daigo, Daigo-machi, Kuji-gun, 319-3526 Ibaraki
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.co.uk

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Ibaraki Prefecture


3Hananuki Gorge & Hananuki Dam (花貫渓谷・花貫ダム) in Takahagi

紅葉の花貫渓谷

First colors: Early November
Color Peak: Mid to late November
Event: Hananuki Gorge Autumn Foliage Festival October 29 – November 27
Access: 25min taxi ride from JR Takahagi Station
Address: Takahagi, 318-0104 Ibaraki
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.takahagi-kanko.jp (Japanese only)


4Ryujin Great Suspension Bridge (竜神大吊橋) in Hitachi-Ota

©常陸太田市観光物産協会
©常陸太田市観光物産協会
First colors: Early November
Color Peak: Mid to end of November
Access: 45min bus ride from JR Hitachota Station to Ryujin Otsuribashi, then a 20 min walk to the bridge.
Address: Kegano 2133-6, Hitachiota, 313-0351 Ibaraki
Ranking: ★★★★☆
ohtsuribashi.ryujinkyo.jp (Japanese only)

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Ibaraki Prefecture


5Hitachi Seaside Park (国営ひたち海浜公園) Kochia plants

紅葉のコキア(写真使用の際は制限有 *下記参照)

First colors: Early October
Color Peak: Middle of October
Access: 15min taxi or bus ride from Katsuta Station (JR Joban Line)
Address: 605-4 Onuma-aza, Mawatari, Hitachinaka, Ibaraki 312-0012
Ranking: ★★★★☆
en.hitachikaihin.jp


6Mount Tsukuba (筑波山)

筑波山夕景

First colors: Mid October
Color Peak: Mid of November
Access: 40min shuttle bus ride from Tsukuba Station (Tsukuba Express Line)
Address: Tsukuba, 300-4352 Ibaraki
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Kanto

Kanto is located on Japan’s Honshu island and consists of seven prefectures: Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa. As the most densely populated area in Japan, Kanto, especially Tokyo, is the hub of culture and home to striking contrasts of modern urban advances, historical traditions and natural landscapes big and small.

Ibaraki Prefecture : Spots 1 ~ 6

Quick jump links:

ibaraki01_R
4Ryujin Great Suspension Bridge
Mid to late November

Go to Ibaraki list top

Tochigi Prefecture : Spots 7 ~ 12

Quick jump links:

AEDCAF576C14DE337E5614772D37B56F_R_TN-2
8Kawaji Onsen
Mid October to mid November
R_Chuzenjiko-photo-AC-3_R_TN
11Lake Chuzenji
Early to mid October

Go to Tochigi list top

Gunma Prefecture : Spots 13 ~ 20

Quick jump links:

13Fukiware-no-taki Falls
Late October to early November
河鹿橋紅葉(2)(渋川市)_TN_TN
18Kajika Bridge Illumination
Oct 25 – Nov 13
めがね橋(3)(安中市)_TN_TN
20Megane Bashi
Early to mid November

Go to Gunma list top

Saitama Prefecture : Spots 21 ~ 27

Quick jump links:

nagatoro
21Nagatoro
Mid to late November
nakatsu_TN
23Nakatsu Ravine
End of October to early November
torii1_TN
26Torii Kannon
Early to mid November

Go to Saitama list top

Chiba Prefecture : Spots 28 ~ 32

Quick jump links:

kameyama
30Lake Kameyama
End of November to early December
454TN
32Yomogi Fudo Falls
Mid November to early December

Go to Chiba list top

Tokyo : Spots 33 ~ 46

Quick jump links:

tokyo
38Showa Memorial Park
Early November to early December
42Mount Takao
Middle of November
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45Okutama
Early to mid November

Go to Tokyo list top

Kanagawa Prefecture : Spots 47 ~ 54

Quick jump links:

kanagawaTN
49Lake Ashi
Early November
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54Sankeien Garden
Mid November to early December

Go to Kanagawa list top

Autumn guide for Japanese trees

Study up before your autumn walk with this handy guide! Japan has many trees native to its soil that you won’t find anywhere else. The peak for the changing of colors is different for every region, so be sure to check one of our “Ultimate maps of foliage destinations” before planning your trip?

Trees that turn RED

Maple
Maple2_s
The maple tree has inspired Japanese art, gardening and even poetry for hundreds of years. Possibly the most iconic tree for autumn, it can turn beautiful shades of red, yellow and even purple. More than being a tree, it represents peace and serenity. The maple can be so important that a whole garden is centered around it.

Japanese Sumac
Japanese Sumac_s
Also knows as the Chinese lacquer tree because their sap is used to make lacquerware. The trees can grow up to 20 meters tall and the fruits can be used to make dye. Be careful of this tree, its sap may cause rash and other allergic reactions

Wax Tree
Wax Tree_s
Can alse be called the Japanese Wax Tree. It’s a flowering plant species with long leaves and it can grow up to 8 meters tall. Their sap is also used to make lacquer but its not as toxic as the Japanese Sumac. In moderation its fruits are edible but they still contain an amount of toxic.

Japanese Rowan
Japanese Rowan_s
These are mountain bushes of the flowering plant species native to Japan. They produce small fruits that are perfect for birds but are more of an accessory fruit for humans. In Japanese this tree is called nana-kamado, “seven (times in the) stove” because it never burns up completely and can be reused up to seven times as firewood.

Burning Bush
Burning Bush_s
In actuality, this plant is more of a herb than a bush. The Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki mass planted the Burning Bush for decorative purposes. The seeds are used in the Japanese kitchen as food garnish called tonburi. The texture is similar to caviar and it’s a delicacy in Akita prefecture.

Rhododendron
Rhododendron
The colors of the Rhododendron continuously change during the year, making it a favorite for the season-loving Japanese. This flower was originally imported from China hundreds of years ago but slowly made its way into the Japanese garden. Depending on the type of plant they can shed their leaves in autumn.

Trees that turn YELLOW

Maple
Maple_s
The iconic Japanese Maple not only has the ability to turn red, but also yellow and purple. See “Maple” under “Trees that turn RED” for more information.

Ginkgo
Ginkgo_s
The Ginkgo is considered the second most popular autumn tree right after the Maple. Possibly the earth’s oldest tree as fossils of its leaves, dating back 270 million years, have been found. They turn the brightest yellow out of all the trees. Tokyo has even declared it their symbol tree.

Japanese Larch
Japanese Larch
The second most yellow tree on the Japanese landscape is the Japanese Larch. It can grow at altitudes of up to 2,900m and is the only conifer that changes color and loses its needles. Besides being planted in parks, it is also an excellent tree for bonsai.

Poplar
Poplar_s
There are many different types of Poplars but they’re mainly grown as decorative trees. They can grow tall very fast and multiply at an amazing speed. Besides its beautiful yellow leaves during autumn, Poplar wood was a common used material for painting blocks and musical instruments.

Japanese Elm
Japanese Elm
Japanese elm is commonly planted as a street tree do decorate the roads. There are many variations of the Elm inside Japan but it always has a thick, lush top with a thin trunk. They are green to dark green in spring and start changing colors as early as summer. It is one of the strongest trees against any sickness.

Trees that turn BROWN

Japanese Beech
Japanese Beech_s
Native to Japan and one of the country’s most dominant trees in forests, the Japanese Beech can be seen everywhere. It can grow very large, up to 35m in height. The bark is very smooth with a greyish color and the top of the tree grows in a nice, large round bush. Young Japanese Beech leaves and seeds are edible.

Oak
Oak_s
A common tree all over the world, the Oak also makes an appearance in Japan. More than for the aesthetics of the leaves, the Oak was used for its wood. Nonetheless, the shape of the leaves give a beautiful accent to the autumn scenery.

Chestnut
Chestnut_s
Most easily recognizable by the nuts, the Chestnut tree is probably the first tree that pops into your mind when thinking about autumn. A popular activity in Japan, and probably all around the world, is to collect the delicious chestnuts and roast them on an open fire.

Japanese Zelkova
Japanese Zelkova
The Zelkova is a species of flowering plant native to Japan, Korea, Eastern China and Taiwan. Mostly used as a decorative plant it is an excellent tree to use for bonsai. To identify a Japanese Zelkova, look for a short main trunk, low branching and an overall vase-shape. This tree is quite sensitive to colder temperatures.

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture

Fukushima Prefecture 36~ 45


36Bandai Azuma Skyline (磐梯吾妻スカイライン) in Fukushima

10_MG_5664

First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Beginning of October until the middle of October
Recommended Spots: Tengu no Niwa, Fudosawa Bridge
Access: 1h10min bus ride from JR Fukushima Station
Address: Between Niwasaka and Tsuchiyu Onsen-machi, Fukushima-shi, 960-2157 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tif.ne.jp


37Ura-Bandai & Nakatsu River Ravine (裏磐梯高原・中津川渓谷) in Yama-Inawashiro

2-2

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Access: 45min taxi ride from JR Inawashiro Station (JR Ban’etsu West Line)
Address: Kita-Shiobara-mura, Inawashiro-machi, Yama-gun, Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture


38Tatsuzawafudo Falls (達沢不動滝) in Yama-Inawashiro

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the beginning of November
Access: 40min bus ride into Tatsuzawa direction from JR Inawashiro Station (JR Ban’etsu West Line) until the last stop (40min walk)
Address: Kogai Kotatsusawa, Inawashiro-machi, Yama-gun, 969-2752 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
bandaisan.or.jp


39Shingukumano Shrine’s large ginkgo tree (新宮熊野神社の大イチョウ) in Kitakata

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First colors: Beginning of November
Color Peak: November 15th(Tuesday) – November 20th (Sunday)
Access: 10min taxi ride from Kitakata Station (JR Ban’etsu West Line); 10min taxi ride from JR Shiokawa Station (JR Ban’etsu West Line)
Address: Shingu Kumano 2258, Keitoku-machi, Kitakata-shi, 966-0923 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tif.ne.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture


40Tsuruga Castle Park (鶴ヶ城公園) in Aizu-Wakamatsu

005287037

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Event: Autumn Color Light-up
Date: October 21st (Friday) – November 13th (Sunday); sunset – 9pm
Access: 13min bus ride from JR Aizu-Wakamatsu Station (JR Ban’etsu West Line, JR Tadami Line, Aizu Line) ; 15min taxi ride from Minami-Wakamatsu Station (Aizu Line)
Address: 1-1 Otemachi, Aizu-Wakamatsu-shi, 965-0873 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tsurugajo.com


41Midorigaoka Park (翠ヶ丘公園) in Sukagawa

0611-000

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Beginning of October until the beginning of November
Access: 15min walk from Sukagawa Station (JR Tohoku Main Line)
Address: Atagoyama, Sukagawa-shi, 962-0867 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tripadvisor.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture


42Natsui River Ravine (夏井川渓谷) in Iwaki

11_MG_8988

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November until the middle of November
Recommended Spots: Around the Kagoba Falls, View from the Natsui River Ravine observation deck
Access: (Kagoba Falls) 30min walk from Eda Station (JR Ban’etsu East Line)
Address: Within Ogawa-machi Kamiogawa and Kawamae-machi, Iwaki-shi, 979-3124 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tif.ne.jp


43Tonohetsuri Cliff (塔のへつり) in Minamiaizu

First colors: Mid October
Color Peak: Late October to early November
Access: 3-min walk from Tonohetsuri Station on the Aizu Railway
Address: Minamiaizu District, Shitabayashi Yagoshima, Shimogō-machi 5316, Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Fukushima Prefecture


44Yukiwari Bridge & Yukiwari Ravine (雪割橋・雪割渓谷) in Nishishirakawa-Nishigo

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Access: 30min bus ride from Shin-Shirakawa Station (JR Tohoku Main Line, JR Tohoku-Shinkansen) until Hatsudensho Mae (5min walk)
Address: Tsuryu, Nishigo-mura, Nishishirakawa-gun, 961-8081 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.welcome-fukushima.com


45Nanko Park (南湖公園) in Shirakawa

0053904749

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: End of October until the middle of November
Access: Bus ride from Shirakawa Station (JR Tohoku Main Line) or JR Shin-Shirakawa Station (JR Tohoku Shinkansen, JR Tohoku Main Line) until Nanko Koen (5min walk)
Address: Nanko, Shirakawa-shi, 961-0812 Fukushima
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
shirakawa315.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Yamagata Prefecture

Yamagata Prefecture 30~ 35


30Sankyo Warehouse (山居倉庫) in Sakata

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Recommended Spots: Around the warehouse
Access: 10min ride with the free sightseeing bicycles from JR Sakata Station (JR Rikuu West Line, JR Uetsu Main Line); 8min ride with the Runrun Bus – Sakita Station University line to Sankyo Soko Mae
Address: 1-1-20 Sankyo-machi, Sakata-shi, 998-0838 Yamagata
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp


31Chokai Forest (眺海の森) in Sakata

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Recommended Spots: Chokai Forest accommodation “Chokai no Mori Sansan”, temple on the top of the mountain “Mine no Yakushi”
Access: 25min taxi ride from JR Sagoshi Station (JR Rikuu West Line, JR Uetsu Main Line) or JR Amarume Station (JR Rikuu West Line, JR Uetsu Main Line)
Address: Ohira Tsuchibuchi, Sakata-shi, 999-6839 Yamagata
Ranking: ★★★★☆
yamagatakanko.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Yamagata Prefecture


32Mogami Gorge (最上峡) in Mogami – Tozawa

nat212

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Recommended Spots: Around Shiraito Falls
Access: 10min taxi ride from Furukuchi Station (JR Rikuu West Line)
Address: Furukuchi, Tozawa-mura, Mogami-gun, 999-6401 Yamagata
Ranking: ★★★★☆
yamagatakanko.com


33Ravine of Bonji river & around Mount Yudono (梵字川渓谷・湯殿山周辺) in Tsuruoka

nanatsuwaterfall

First colors: Ravine of Bonji river – Middle of October; around Mountain Yudono – End of September
Color Peak: Beginning of October until the end of October
Access: 45min bus ride from JR Tsuruoka Station until Gassan Asahi Hakubutsu-mura
Address: Bonji River Ravine, Etchuyama Nabira, Tsuruoka-shi, 997-0403 Yamagata; Mt. Yudono, Rokuju Riyama Tamugimata, Tsuruoka-shi, 997-0532 Yamagata
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
yamagatakanko.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Yamagata Prefecture


34Yama-dera (山寺) in Yamagata

2-1

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Access: 5min walk from Yamadera Station (JR Senzan Line)
Address: 4495-15 Yamadera, Yamagata-shi, 999-3301 Yamagata
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com


35Tengendai (天元台) in Yonezawa

A photo posted by natsunori (@summer8forest) on

A photo posted by natsunori (@summer8forest) on

First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Middle of October
Recommended Spots: View out of the car of the Tengendai Ropeway in the morning.
Access: 40min bus ride from JR Yonezawa Station (JR Yamagata Shinkansen, JR Ou Main Line, JR Yonesaka Line) until Shirabu-Onsen; 5min ride from Ropeway-Yumoto Station until Kogen Station
Address: Tengendai Kogen, Sumomoyama 12118-6, Yonezawa-shi, 992-1461 Yamagata
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Miyagi Prefecture

Miyagi Prefecture 25~ 29


25Naruko-kyo (鳴子峡) in Osaki

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Recommended Spots: around the Narukokyo Resthouse near the western end of the gorge
Access: 30min walk from Nakayamadaira Onsen Station (JR Rikuu-to Line); buses are available from early October to mid November.
Address: Shitomae-87 Narukoonsen, Ōsaki-shi, 989-6100 Miyagi
Ranking: ★★★★☆ 
www.jnto.go.jp


26Entsu-in & Matsushima-chiku (円通院・松島地区) in Miyagi-Matsushima

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Event: Autumn Color Light-up, October 22nd (Saturday) – November 23rd (Wednesday)
Access: 8min walk from Matsushima Kaigan Station (JR Senseki Line); 20min walk from Matsushima Station (JR Tohoku Main Line)
Address: Chonai-67 Matsushima, Matsushima-machi, Miyagi-gun,981-0213 Miyagi
Ranking: ★★★☆☆ 
sendai-travel.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Miyagi Prefecture


27Shiwahiko Shrine & Shiogama Shrine (志波彦神社・鹽竈神社) in Shiogama

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First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Middle of November
Access: 15min walk from Hon-Shiogama Station (JR Senseki Line)
Address: Shiwahiko Shrine & Shiogama Shrine, 1-1 Ichimoriyama, Shiogama-shi, 985-0074 Miyagi
Ranking: ★★☆☆☆ 
www.thm.pref.miyagi.jp


28Okunikkawa Valley (奥新川渓谷) in Sendai – Aoba

A photo posted by kan (@kiku_shin) on

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October
Access: 30min walk from Okunikkawa Station (JR Senzan Line)
Address: Nikkawa, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, 989-3434 Miyagi
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tripadvisor.com


29Yamanaka Shichikashuku Highway (山中七ヶ宿街道) in Katta – Shichikashuku

First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Middle of October until the beginning of November
Recommended Spots: Lake Choro, Nametsu Otaki Fall, Lake Shichikashuku
Access: For Lake Choro -> a 50min taxi ride from Shiroishi-Zao Station (JR Tohoku Shinkansen) , For Shichikashuku dam-> 30min taxi ride from from Shiroishi-Zao Station (JR Tohoku Shinkansen)
Address: Shichikashuku Dam, Kiritoshi 52-40, Shichikashuku-machi, Katta-gun, 989-0536 Miyagi
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tripadvisor.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Akita Prefecture

Akita Prefecture 19~ 24


19Mount Moriyoshi (森吉山) in Kita-Akita

A photo posted by @mado.ca on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October
Access: 20min taxi ride from Aniai Station (Akita Nairiku Line)
Address: Ani Kagi no Daki 79-5, Kita-Akita-shi, 018-4624 Akita
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.aniski.jp (Japanese only)


20Nyuto Onsen Village (乳頭温泉郷) in Semboku

A photo posted by ayuko! (@a1oxo5) on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spots: The view from the Rotenburo (open air bath).
Access: 45min ride with the Ugo Transportation bus into Nyuto Onsen direction from Tazawako Station (JR Tazawako Line, JR Akita Shinkansen)
Address: Tazawako, Semboku-shi, 014-1204 Akita
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Akita Prefecture


23Dakigaeri Valley (抱返り渓谷) in Semboku

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Access: 30min taxi ride from JR Tazawako Station (JR Tazawako Line, JR Akita Shinkansen); 15min taxi ride from JR Kakunodate Station (JR Tazawako Line, JR Akita Shinkansen, Akita Nairiku Line)
Address: Tazawako Dakikaeri Prefectural Natural Park, Tazawako, Semboku-shi, Akita
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.city.semboku.akita.jp


24Oyasu Gorge (小安峡) in Yuzawa

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First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: End of October
Event: Autumn Color Festival
Date: October 16th (Sunday)
Access: 1h10min bus ride from Yuzawa Station (JR Ou Main Line)
Address: Minaseyumoto, Yuzawa-shi, 012-0183 Akita
URL: http://www.jalan.net/kankou/spt_05465ab2040005443/ (Japanese only)
Ranking: ★★★★☆

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Akita Prefecture


21Senshu Park (千秋公園) in Akita

A photo posted by @syuu_01 on

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Access: 10min walk from JR Akita Station
Address: Senshu Park, Akita-shi, 010-0876 Akita
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp


22Kakunodate (角館) in Semboku

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Recommended Spots: The street of the samurai’s residence.
Access: 5min taxi ride or 20min walk from Kakunodate Station (JR Tazawako Line, JR Akita Shinkansen, Akita Nairiku Line)
Address: Kakunodate-machi, Semboku-shi, 014-0300 Akita
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Iwate Prefecture

Iwate Prefecture 11~ 18


11Hachimantai (八幡平) in Hachimantai

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First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Beginning of October
Event: Hachimantai Sanzoku Festival
Date: October 15th (Saturday) – October 16th (Sunday)
Access: 1,5hour Iwate Kenpoku Bus ride from JR Morioka Station; 1hour bus ride from Obuke Station (JR Hanawa Line)
Address: Sakura Park Event Hall, Kashiwadai, Hachimantai-shi, 028-7303 Iwate
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.japan-iwate.info


12Park of Morioka castle – Iwate Park (盛岡城跡公園・岩手公園) in Morioka

First colors: End of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Recommended Spots: The bridge which connects the outer citadel and the inner citadel.
Access: 6min bus ride from JR Morioka Station; 25min walk from JR Morioka Station
Address: Uchimaru 1-37, Morioka-shi, 020-0023 Iwate
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.japan-iwate.info

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Iwate Prefecture


13Geto Plateau Onsen Village (夏油 高原 温泉郷) in Kitakami

A photo posted by true (@tellus_jp) on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spots: Trekking route between Geto Plateau Ski Area and Geto Onsen
Access: 1hour bus ride from Kitakami Station (JR Kitakami Line, JR Tohoku Main Line, JR Tohoku Shinkansen)
Address: Iwasakai Shinden, Waga-cho, Kitakami-shi, 024-0322 Iwate
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.geto8.com


14Sennin Pass (仙人峠) in Kamaishi

A photo posted by mai .. yamanaka (@moco__3) on

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Recommended Spots: Sennin tunnel
Access: 3min taxi ride from Rikuchu-Ohashi Station (JR Kamaishi Line)
Address: Ohashi, Kasshi-cho, Kamaishi-shi, 026-0055 Iwate
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.city.kamaishi.iwate.jp (Japanese only)


15Mount Kurikoma (栗駒山) in Ichinoseki

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First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Beginning of October
Access: 1,5hour bus ride from Ichinoseki Station (JR Tohoku Main Line, JR Ofunato Line, JR Tohoku Shinkansen)
Address: Genbi-cho, Ichinoseki-shi, 021-0101 Iwate
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.tripadvisor.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Iwate Prefecture


16Chuson Temple (中尊寺) in Nishiiwai – Hiraizumi

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October until the beginning of November
Recommended Spots: Around the golden temple hall, the scripture hall and the main hall
Event: The Autumn Festival of Fujiwara
Date: November 1st (Tuesday) – November 3rd (Thursday)
Access: 5min taxi ride from Hiraizumi Station (JR Tohoku Main Line); 30min taxi ride from Ichinoseki Station (JR Tohoku Shinkansen, JR Tohoku Line, JR Ofunato Line)
Address: 202 Koromonoseki, Hiraizumi, Hiraizumi-cho, Nichiiwai-gun, 029-4102 Iwate
Ranking: ★★★★☆
wattention.com


17Geibikei (猊鼻渓) in Ichinoseki

A photo posted by もす (@mozuyamaaa) on

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October
Access: 5min walk from Geibikei Station (JR Ofunato Line); 35min bus ride from Hiraizumi Station (JR Tohoku Main Line); 42min bus ride from Ichinoseki Station (JR Tohoku Main Line, JR Ofunato Line, JR Tohoku Shinkansen)
Address: 467 Machiaza, Higashiyamachonagasaka, Ichinoseki-shi, 029-0302 Iwate
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.japan-iwate.info


18Genbikei (厳美渓) in Ichinoseki

First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October
Access: 20min bus ride until the terminal stop into Genbikei direction from JR Ichinoseki Station (JR Tohoku Main Line, JR Ofunato Line, JR Tohoku Shinkansen)
Address: Taki no ue, Genbi-cho, Ichinoseki-shi, 021-0101 Iwate
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.japan-iwate.info

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tohoku

Tohoku is located in the northeastern part of Japan’s Honshu island and consists of six prefectures — Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata and Fukushima. The region is famous for its jaw-dropping scenery, magnificent temples, unique culture, delicious food and friendly people.

Aomori Prefecture : Spots 1 ~ 10

Quick jump links:

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6Hakkoda Mountains
Mid October
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7Hirosaki Park
Early November

Go to Aomori list top

Iwate Prefecture : Spots 11 ~ 18

Quick jump links:

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11Hachimantai
Beginning of October
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15Mount Kurikoma
Beginning of October

Go to Iwate list top

Yamagata Prefecture : Spots 30 ~ 35

Quick jump links:

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33Bonji River
October
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34Yamadera
Beginning of November

Go to Yamagata list top

Fukushima Prefecture : Spots 36 ~ 45

Quick jump links:

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36Bandai Azuma Skyline
Early to mid October
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40Tsuruga Castle Park
End of October to early November
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45Yukiwari Bridge
End of October to early November

Go to Fukushima list top

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tohoku – Aomori Prefecture Part 1

Aomori Prefecture 1~ 10


1Yagen Mountain Stream (薬研渓流) in Mutsu

A photo posted by kaorist (@kaorist) on

A photo posted by キソキソ (@kuwakeen) on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spots: Yagen Bridge, Koyo Bridge, Otome Bridge (Suspension Bridge), Rotenburo (open air bath)
Access: Take the bus from Shimokita Station (JR Omita Line) and get off at Ohata. From there it´s a 20min taxi ride (reservation before is necessary).
Address: Yagen, Ohata-machi, Mutsu-shi, 039-4401 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
www.en-aomori.com


2Mount Osore (恐山) in Mutsu

A photo posted by Hisaya Wada (@komanosuke678) on

A photo posted by Sachi Wakasa (@sachiwakasa) on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the beginning of November
Event: Autumn visit at Mount Osore!
Date: October 8th (Saturday) – October 10th (Monday), 6am – 6pm
Admission: 500 yen (adults), 200 yen (children)
Details: Different guided walks through the nature, Yosakoi performance, food stands, Segway, etc.
Access: 43 bus ride from Shimokita Station (JR Omita Line) until Osore-zan
Address: 3-2 Usoriyama, Tanabu, Mutsu-shi, 035-0021 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp


3Kawauchi River Valley (川内川渓谷) in Mutsu

A photo posted by meg* (@me9mi3to) on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spots: Sekirei Bridge, Ajisai Bridge, Asunaro Bridge
Access: 15min Taxi ride from Kawauchimachi Station; 40min JR Bus ride from Ominato Station (JR Ominato Line) into Wakinosawa direction until Kawauchi
Address: Kawauchimachi, Mutsu-shi, 039-5201 Aomori
aomorishokoren.or.jp (Japanese only)
Ranking: ★★★★☆

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tohoku – Aomori Prefecture Part 2


4Jogakura Onsen & Jogakura Bridge (城ヶ倉温泉・城ヶ倉大橋) in Aomori

A photo posted by Qoo (@qoo_aomori) on

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October
Recommended Spots: view from Jogakura Bridge
Access: 1,5hour JR Bus ride from JR Aomori Station or JR Shin-Aomori Station into Towada-ko direction until Jogakura Onsen (30min walk)
Address: Minami-Arakawayama, Arakawa, Aomori-shi, 030-0111 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.en-aomori.com


5Lake Towada (十和田湖) in Towada

First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Event: Oirase Mountain Stream Eco Road Festival 2016
Date: October 29th (Saturday) – October 30th (Sunday), 9am – 3pm
Details: Different guided walks through the nature, Yosakoi performance, food stands, Segway, etc.
Access: 2h15min bus ride from Hachinohe Station (JR Hachinohe Line, JR Tohoku Shinkansen, Aomori Railway Line); 2h45min bus ride from Shin-Aomori Station (JR Ou Main Line, JR Tohoku Shinkansen, JR Hokkaido Shinkansen)
Address: Kowadakohanyasumiya 486, Okuse, Towada-shi, 018-5501 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.jnto.go.jp


6Hakkoda Mountains (八甲田連峰) in Aomori

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First colors: End of September
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spots: Hakkoda Ropeway, Tamoyachi Shitsugen
Access: 1hour JR Bus ride from JR Aomori Station or JR Shin-Aomori Station into Towada-ko direction until Hakkoda Ropeway Station Mae
Address: Hakkoda Ropeway Sanroku Station, 1-12 Kansuizawa, Arakawa, Aomori-shi, 030-0111 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.hakkoda-ropeway.jp


7Hirosaki Park (弘前公園) in Hirosaki

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: Beginning of November
Event: Chrysanthemum and Autumn-Color Festival of Hirosaki Castle
Date: October 21st (Friday) – November 13th (Sunday), 9am – 5pm (Admission to the park until 4:30pm)
Admission: Botanical Garden of Hirosaki Castle 310yen (adults), 100yen (children); Botanical Garden of Hirosaki Castle + Around the castle + Fujita memorial garden 510yen (adults), 160yen (children)
Access: 15min Konan Bus ride from Hirosaki Station (JR Ou Main Line, JR Gono Line, Konan Line) into Fujishiro Eigyosho direction until Shiyakusho Mae Koen Iriguchi
Address: 1-1 Shimoshirogane-cho, Hirosaki-shi, 036-8356 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.hirosakipark.jp

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Tohoku – Aomori Prefecture Part 3


8Shirakami Sanchi (白神山地) in Nakatsugaru – Nishimeya Village

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First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October until the end of October
Recommended Spots: Anmon Waterfall sidewalk
Access: 1h10min taxi ride from Hirosaki Station (JR Ou Main Line, JR Gono Line, Konan Line); 1,5hour bus ride from Hirosaki Bus Terminal
Address: Between Meya Bridge and Anmon Waterfall, Tashiro, Nishimeya-mura, Nakatsugaru-gun, 036-1411 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.en-aomori.com


9Sukayu Onsen & Jigoku Numa (酸ヶ湯温泉・地獄沼) in Aomori

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First colors: Beginning of October
Color Peak: Middle of October
Recommended Spots: Manju Fukashi, Sukayu Camping Ground
Access: 1h40min JR Bus ride from JR Aomori Station or JR Shin-Aomori Station into Towada-ko direction until Jogakura Onsen
Address: Jigoku Numa, Arakawa, Aomori-shi, 030-0111 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.en-aomori.com


10Nakano Maple Mountain (中野もみじ山) in Kuroishi

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First colors: Middle of October
Color Peak: End of October
Event: Nakano Maple Mountain Light-up ~ Light Fantasy
Date: October 13th (Thursday) – November 6th (Sunday), 4:30pm – 9pm
Access: 40min bus ride from Kuroishi Station (Konan Railway Konan Line) until Itadome (10min walk); 30min taxi ride from Kuroishi Station (Konan Railway Konan Line)
Address: Nakano Shrine, Fudodate 27, Minami-Nakano, Kuroishi-shi, 036-0405 Aomori
Ranking: ★★★★☆
www.en-aomori.com

7 Japanese autumn activities

 

Every country has its own quirks regarding the seasons, Japan is no exception. Here are some activities that almost every Japanese person loves to do when the leaves turn color.

 

1 ) Tsukimi (moon viewing)

Dating back to the Heian era (794 – 1185), the concept of moon-viewing has evolved with time and adapted to modern customs. Instead of lavish banquets people love to gaze at the moon with a small snack. Officially Tsukimi is somewhere around mid-September, but you can celebrate the full moon on your own anytime you like. Read our article about how to celebrate Tsukimi for more information.

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2 ) Gathering Chestnuts

Go wherever the chestnuts may fall and, if allowed, bring a portable barbeque. The smell of roasted chestnuts on an open fire immediately means autumn. Invite some friends for a chestnut hunt and share the delicious harvest. Semboku city in Akita prefecture has the largest breed of chestnuts in all of Japan. One of its annual champion chestnuts weighed an impressive 66gr!

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3 ) Harvest Rice

Now is the time for to come off the fields. Whether its done manually or by machine, rice harvesting is hard labour requiring lots of man-hours. If you live in the countryside and see someone with a rice field, just ask if you can help them. They will be very grateful and you can get one step closer to understanding Japanese rice culture. Read more about traditional rice harvesting in our article here.

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4 ) Grill some Sanma

Sanma or “Pacific Saury” is a typical autumn fish. In early autumn this fish is at its most delicious and is often grilled until crisp on a small fire. At one point this fish smelled so good that it caught the emperor’s attention.

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5 ) Take an autumn walk

Nothing beats admiring the falling leaves than doing so up close. Japanese people are very active and love taking walks in parks or the countryside. Instead of a regular walk, why not go autumn leaf hunting? The creative Japanese loves crafts and will gather the most beautiful fallen leaves to press and conserve. If you need inspiration, here are Wattention’s top 3 leaf viewing spots in Japan.

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6 ) Eat some Satsuma Imo (roasted sweet potato)

It may sound like a simple sweet, but roasted sweet potato can be a godsend on a cold day. You can find potato sellers with their carts near parks, outside the city and even in your regular convenience store. Holding this steamy snack will warm up your hands and your body.

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7 ) Attend a school’s sports festival

Chances are you’re over the age to participate in one, but those still attending school have their annual sports festival this season. Many parents go see their children compete in various events and love to film it to preserve for future generations.

Most festivals usually start around 8:30 am with a parade showing all the different participating teams divided by either neighbourhood, class, geographical area, or school. It’s basically like a mini-Olympics.

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Katana Fair and Samurai dining

Go on a journey back in time to two of the most iconic periods for samurai; the Sengoku and the Edo period.
Diamond Dining is offering a unique dining experience for Japan’s history-loving women called Rekijo(歴女). The event is split into two areas, Sengoku and Edo. If you and your friends love Japanese history or you want to meet a Rekijo, this event is made for you!

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Sengoku Area

The Sengoku period (戦国時代) was from 1467 – 1603. The name literally means civil war era because of the many internal conflicts that were going on in Japan at the time. Local lords battled each other for more territory and army campaigns were a common occurrence. During this dark time genius strategists and powerful samurai were born. Some of the most famous samurai and swords have been incorporated into the dishes served in this area. The armors of Date Masamune, Yukimura Sanada, Keiji Maeda and Kenshin Uesugi welcome you to your private dining chamber.

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Heshikiri Hasebe (Sweet Potatoes in bamboo /780 yen
This dish is based on one of Nobunaga’s stories. One time he sensed an enemy hiding behind wooden planks and he pierced him right through the wall with his sword Heshikiri Hasebe. Oda Nobunaga lived from 1534 – 1582 and was one of the most powerful lords of Japan. He almost succeeded in completely unifying Japan before he was assassinated.

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Date Masamune nabe (2,980 yen)
This luxurious nabe is meant to mimick famous warlord Date Masamune’s hospitality. The beef is imported from Sendai. During his life (1567 – 1636) Date Masamune was the lord of Sendai and turned it into a prosperous city. He was very loyal to the military government but everyone feared his power. Because of his missing eye he was nicknamed “the one-eyed-dragon”.

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Tsurumura Kuninaga (830 yen)
This dessert is based on a famous white sword with a white scabbard. It is said that the sword stayed perfectly white even after hundreds of years. Its first owner possibly lived during the 13th century but it’s confirmed that the Date family possessed the sword somewhere during 1716 – 1736. The strawbberies mimick the blood that would have marked the pure white sword.

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Mikazuki Munechika (880 yen)
Regarded as one of the “Five Famous Swords of Japan”, this blade has a strong curve typical of a katana and a crescent pattern. The dish resembles the famous crescent curve and contains seasonal pike fish.

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Ichigo Hitofuri (1,280 yen)
This blade is the only tachi(long katana) made by Awadaguchu Yoshimitsu. The dish aims to mimick the alterations that have been made to the straight temper line of the blade to fit every new owner. Beltfish (a member of the cutlass family) and ginger are the main components.

And more…

The Edo Area

The Edo period (1603 – 1868) comes right after the Sengoku period and is a time of relative peace. Japan is united under the Tokugawa family, a military government with the Shogun as leader. Schools and roads are built, art flourishes and the population rises. It is only at the end of the Edo period that Japan is in turmoil again and the samurai rise again in a period known as the Bakumatsu (1853 – 1867).

Ikedaya Affair House

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In 2015 Diamond Dining already held the “Ikedaya fair” and thanks to the success it’s back again. Based on the “Ikedaya affair (1864)”, a famous event where Kyoto’s special police force, the Shinsengumi, managed to stop plans to deliberately burn down Kyoto. Members of the Shinsengumi will lead you to your table and serve your drinks.

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1) Kashuu Kiyomitsu
This sword belonged to the captain of the Shinsengumi’s first troop, Okita Souji. This sword was said to be used during the Ikedaya affair where its tip broke off. Contains cranberry and grenadine.
2) Yamatonokami Yasusada
Forged in the early Edo period, this sword had many owners but its most famous one was Okita Souji. Okita used this very lethal sword after Kashu Kiyomitsu broke at the Ikedaya affair. Contains calpis and lemon soda.
3) Nagasone Kotetsu
Belonging to Kondo Isami, the Shinsengumi’s commander, this fake kotetsu blade was probably the most famous. Made by Minamoto Kiyomaro, one of the best smiths of the era, it bears a fake signature. Contains mango and pineapple.
4) Izuminokami Kanesada
Shinsengumi’s vice captain Hijikata Toshizo, nicknamed “demon vice captain” was this sword’s owner. Made by the 11th generation Kanesada and a very popular sword. Contains white wine and raspberries.

Edo Shinsengumi Area

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When you enter the dining area it will feel like you entered the Shinsengumi’s headquarters. Statues of Kondo Isami, Hijikata Toshizo and Okita Soji welcome you before being lead to a private dining area.

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Horikawa Kunihiro (850 yen)
Inspired by the demon vice captain’s wakizashi (accompanying smaller katana). Contains pickled radish and a tartar of avocado. Hijikata was said to love pickled radish. One famous story tells of him taking a bucket of pickled radish with him after his host told him to take as many as he likes.

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Yamatonokami Yasusada (650 yen)
The are rumors that Shinsengumi first troop captain Okita Souji had a sweet tooth, but that’s not what this dessert is based on. One of the most feared swordsman of the Bakumatsu, the red bean paste and sweet potato’s color mimick his many assassinations.

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Mutsunokami Yoshiyuki (1,980 yen)
This beef nabe carries the name of Sakamoto Ryoma’s sword, the famous reformer of Japan. Containing miso, sweet sake and vegetables this was said to be Sakamoto Ryoma’s favorite dish made by his wife Oryo. Can be ordered by two people. Be careful to not let this nabe get too close to any of the Shinsengumi dishes as they were sworn enemies.

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Kashuu Kiyomitsu (680 yen)
Sushi roll bearing Okita Souji’s family crest and decorated with flowers.

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Nagasone Kotetsu (680 yen)
The commander of the Shinsengumi liked “tamago fuwafuwa”, literally meaning “fluffy eggs”. This is a kind of egg soup that became popular during the Edo period. The dish is decorated to resemble Kondo Isami’s family crest.

Information

This special event will run from Oct. 1, 2016 – Nov. 31, 2016

Sengoku Area

Hours: 5pm – 0am (Mon – Thurs) / 5pm – 3am (Fr – Sun)
Location: Shinjuku Kabukicho T-wing building 4F
Access: 3-min walk from Shinjuku station
Address: 160-0021 Tokyo, Shinjuku-ku, Kabukicho 1-6-2 T-wing building 4F
TEL: 03-3209-2277
URL: http://www.diamond-dining.jp/shop_info/sengoku-buyuden/(Japanese only)

Ikedaya Affair House

Hours: 5pm – 11pm (Mon & Sun) / 5pm – 4am (Tue – Sat)
Location: Musashino Hall 6F
Access: 2-min walk from Shinjuku station
Address: 160-0022 Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo Shinjuku 3-27-10 Musashino Hall 6F
TEL: 03-5360-7644
URL: http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g465407/(Japanese only)

Edo Shinsengumi Area

Hours: 5pm – 0am (Mon – Sat) / 5pm – 11pm (Sun & Holidays)
Location: Shinjuku building B1
Access: 1-min walk from JR Shinjuku station West Exit
Address: 160-0023 Tokyo Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, 1-4-2 141 Shinjuku building B1
TEL: 03-3347-2207
URL: Http://R.Gnavi.Co.Jp/g600187/(Japanese only)

Don’t forget to pick up one of the free tsuba(Japanese sword mounting) gifts you get with each dining experience!
Tsuba
Source: PR Times

Tokyo Yosakoi

Before Halloween, Ikebukuro has another big event coming up the Tokyo Yosakoi contest.More than a Matsuri, it’s a big dance competition.

Yosakoi is the name of the modernized Awa Odori, traditional summer dance. Thanks to the popularity of Yosakoi traditional Japanese dance is practiced by young and old all over the country. Most university and college students have a team with their own unique costumes and choreography. Every year the Tokyo Yosakoi contest in Ikebukuro attracts about a hundred teams.

History of Yosakoi

yosakoiThe Yasukoi dance is not as old as many other Japanese matsuri. It all started in the city of Kochi with the idea to reform traditional Japanese dance and to boost economic growth after the second World War. Yasukoi literally means “come at night” in the local dialect of Kochi prefecture.
The original Yosakoi song was written by Takemasa Eisuka who gave the rights to the public. This song combines a yosakoi melody, children’s song and a folk song from Kochi. Yosakoi dance teams are free to compose their own music but it must contain these elements but swapped with a folk song from your area. This music is either live or prerecorded and plays from a jikatasha, a colorful truck with speakers or a stage for musicians.

clapperAnother requirement is that the dancers must use a naruko, small wooden clappers that make noise when the dancer moves. Almost every competition has this requirement. Traditionally they are black and yellow but nowadays teams paint them in their own colors.

Costumes don’t have to be based on traditional Japanese clothing, as long as they have a connection with folk culture.

Examples of dances

Participants of last year’s Yosakoi competition in Ikebukuro

Yosakoi competition in Ikebukuro

The dancers will compete on nine venues around Toshima: the main site in front of Ikebukuro Station’s west exit, Ikebukuro Nishiguchi Park, Mizuki Street, Azeria Street, Yonshotengai, Sunshine Street on the east exit side, the plazas in front of Mejiro and Sugamo Stations, and Otsuka Station’s north exit area.

Dates: Oct. 8 – Oct. 9, 2016
Hours: dancers start around 11am
Location: around Ikebukuro
URL: https://www.yosakoitokyo.gr.jp/ (Japanese only)

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History of Halloween in Japan

 

Those who have been living in Japan for a long time know that Halloween is a fairly new holiday. In fact, it’s not an official holiday at all. The first ever Halloween event was held in the year 2000 at Tokyo Disneyland. Japan imported the concept from America and made it their own in a very grand way with large scale Halloween parades and flash mobs. Japanese love scary stories, so why did it take so long for Halloween to set ground?

It all started in…

the year 2000. Tokyo Disneyland made its first Halloween event in order to attract more visitors during the autumn season. The concept was taken from the other Disneyland parks worldwide that already had a Halloween event. Soon Universal studios in Osaka followed and every year the events grew. Before theme parks started these events Halloween was mostly celebrated by foreigners only. After all, Japan already has August as “scary month” when they celebrate O-bon.

The West celebrates Halloween because on October 31st the barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead is at its thinnest. People wear masks to scare the bad ghosts and eat pumpkins as a symbol of good harvest. In Japan there is a similar story regarding the barrier between the two worlds but, in contrast to the West that wants to scare away the ghosts, Japan welcomes their ancestral spirits. So before Tokyo Disneyland started Halloween, Japanese felt no need to celebrate the dead outside of O-bon season.
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Then came the merchandising

When big stores saw that Halloween was rising in popularity at the theme parks, they quickly jumped on with a line of Halloween goodies of their own. Pumpkin keychains, plushies and snacks made their way to stores. It’s no surprise that Japan, the country that brought us cosplay, was quick to embrace the dress up aspect of Halloween. Premade costumes were being sold and cosplayers got one more big day to show off their talents. From grand scale events such as the annual flash mob in Shibuya to small local parties, Halloween had made its way into the hearts of Japanese.
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Not so scary

At its core, Halloween isn’t that scary of a holiday for the Japanese. The real scary ghosts come out during O-bon, making Halloween more of a “kiddie version” haunted event. Of course now there are big zombie themed events and truly scary experiences. But at its core, Halloween is an imported holiday from America meant to entertain. Just like Valentine’s Day Japan took something from abroad and made it their own. However, no one can argue that Japan might be the best at throwing big Halloween parties.

 

Ninja ID: KansaiKitsune


WATTENTION NINJA WRITER PROFILE

Ilse Montald
From popular culture to traditional culture, I’ve immersed myself in both. I love writing about tradition, history and sharing fun discoveries. If I’m not outside watching a festival parade I’m leisurely reading manga in kimono.

MORE ARTICLES BY THIS WRITERABOUT WATTENTION NINJA

Pink Halloween at New Ginger Museum

The New Ginger Museum in Tochigi is peculiar in itself, being a museum dedicated to a certain type of ginger so it comes as no surprise that it’s holding a peculiar Halloween event, Pink Halloween. And while pink is a very popular color in Japan (especially in spring with all the sakura blossoms), this color theme was chosen in honor of young ginger or shinshoga.

Naturally pink ginger
Naturally pink ginger
Young ginger contains pink pigment that makes the pickled ginger naturally pink. The taste of young ginger is also mild and the flesh is tender which is perfect to eat with sushi.

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Image Source: PR Times

The already pink interior of the museum will become even pinker with matching Halloween decorations. A Halloween costume competition will be held for both adults and children to decide who is the spookiest. Participate and win one of the ginger-themed prizes.

If you’re not that good with costumes, there is also a quiz. Show off your ginger knowledge and receive a free gift. While you’re breaking your head over the questions, sign your kid up for the “little monsters class”.

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Image Source: PR Times

The museum also have a café with beautiful pink and ginger dishes. If pink is your thing, make a daytrip to Tochigi and spend a full day in Halloween cuteness.

About

museum
Image Source: PR Times

Dates: Halloween event from Sept. 14, 2016 – Oct. 30, 2016. Closed on Monday, Tuesday and public holidays
Hours: 10am – 6pm (Café last order at 5:30pm)
Admission: Free (Pink Halloween contest admission is 500 yen)
Location: Tochigi
Access: About 2h by train from central Tokyo
Address: 328-0034 Tochigi Prefecture, Tochigi Honcho 1-25
URL: http://shinshoga-museum.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Hokkaido

Hokkaido, the great landmass in the north of Japan, boasts sweeping natural landscapes and a variety of adventures and activities. It is also the first region in Japan where you can enjoy autumn leaves in the fall, that in some regions would reach their full splendor as early as September. See WAttention’s list of fall foliage destinations starting from the earliest to the latest spots to reach their peak colors.



1Mount Daisetsu (Kogen Onsen) 大雪山 (高原温泉) in Kamikawa

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First colors: Beginning of September
Color Peak: Middle of September until the end of September
Access: 30min bus ride from Kamikawa Station (JR Sekihoku Main Line) until Sounkyo Onsen, from there it is a 40min taxi ride until Kogen Onsen
Address: Sounkyo Onsen – Daisetsuzan Kokuritsu Koen, Kamikawa-cho, Hokkaido
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com


2Mount Daisetsu (Kurodake) 大雪山 (黒岳) in Kamikawa

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First colors: Beginning of September
Color Peak: Middle of September until the end of September
Access: 30min bus ride from Kamikawa Station (JR Sekihoku Main Line) until Sounkyo Onsen, from there you can take the ropeway until the 5th station (7min), or the 7th station by lift from station 5 (15min). From station 7 to the top it is a 1,5hour climb.
Address: Sounkyo Onsen – Daisetsuzan Kokuritsu Koen, Kamikawa-cho, Hokkaido
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tripadvisor.com

Ultimate Map of Fall Foliage Destinations in Japan : Hokkaido


3Akan (阿寒) in Kushiro

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First colors: Middle of September
Color Peak: End of September until the beginning of October
Recommended Spots: The autumn colors and the waterfall seen from Takimi Bridge
Event: Marimo Festival
Date: October 8th (Saturday) ~ 10th (Monday); October 8th 10:30am~/October 9th 1pm~/October 10th 10am~
Admission: free
Details: Traditional event of the Ainu (ethnic group of Hokkaido) regarding Marimo, a round green alga which grows in lake Akan. A torch walk and the Marimo dance parade are further highlights of the Festival.
Access: 2hour bus ride from Kushiro Station (JR Nemuro