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WOW! JAPAN

Iwate is a prefecture where the longest mountain range in Japan and the Kitakami Mountains traverse from north to south. Here, vast nature spreads in a mountainous landscape, giving visitors superb autumn foliage views during fall. Below are five of the most recommended spots for looking at the changing colors of leaves in Iwate!

1. Sukawa Kogen (Mt. Kurikoma)

The first spot on the list is Sukawa Kogen, a plateau located halfway up Mt. Kurikoma that spans across three prefectures: Iwate, Akita and Miyagi. When fall season sets in, the leaves of mountain ash, maple and other trees change vivid colors, delighting the eyes of visitors. A great way to enjoy this plateau is to look at the gorgeous vista by going hiking or driving.
There is also the famous onsen (hot spring) district – Sukawa Kogen Onsen – nearby, where guests can soak in hot spring waters that boast a history dating back more than 300 years. Here, strongly acidic hot spring water that has proven to be therapeutic to rheumatism and other illnesses gushes out, making it perfect for soothing your exhausted body from all the walking.

Best time for viewing: Late September to mid-October

1. Sukawa Kogen (Mt. Kurikoma)

In the national forest at Genbi-cho, Ichinoseki-shi, Iwate

2. Hachimantai

Next on this list is Hachimantai, a plateau that sprawls across the northern border with Akita Prefecture. The best way to enjoy autumn foliage in this area is to rent a car and drive along the Hachimantai Aspite Line. When you go round the curves in this approximately 27km route, you will get to see the beautiful autumn leaves spread before your eyes.

Best time for viewing: Late September to mid-October

2. Hachimantai

Hachimantai, Hachimantai-shi, Iwate

3. Geibikei (Geibi Gorge)

The next spot is Geibi Gorge, an impressive and popular gorge that is surrounded by an approximately 100m-high precipitous cliff. Designated as a Historic Site of Japan, Place of Scenic Beauty, Natural Monument of Japan and the No.1 Place of Scenic Beauty in the Prefecture, this spot is also known as one of the most picturesque sceneries that landed a spot in the Top 100 Landscapes of Japan list. When fall comes, the trees with leaves that have turned red and yellow get reflected on the surface of the water, creating a beautiful scene that is sure to enchant visitors. You can enjoy this wonderful view while going downstream on a boat.

Best time for viewing: Mid-October to early November

Downstream boat fare: (Adults) 1,600 JPY (incl. tax)
(Elementary school students) 860 JPY (incl. tax)
(Infants) 200 JPY (incl. tax)

3. Geibikei (Geibi Gorge)

467 Nagasaka-azamachi, Higashiyamacho, Ichinoseki-shi, Iwate

4. Kuji Stream

The next spot is Kuji Stream, an autumn foliage spot that has been designated as a Kujihiraniwa Prefectural Natural Park. During fall, the maple and beech trees that have turned vibrant colors jut out to Kuji River, creating a stunning gorge with clear streams and bare rocks. The area close to the famous scenic spot Kagami-iwa (mirror rock) is known for its Furosen (Fountain of Youth), a famous body of water that was proclaimed by old legends to be the source of perpetual youth and longevity. It is also popular for mountain stream fishing.

Best time for viewing: Late October to early November

4. Kuji Stream

Okawame-cho, Kuji-shi, Iwate

5. Sen'nintoge

The last spot on the list is Sen'nintoge, a mountain pass that is located at the border of Kamaishi City and Tono City. The old road on the side of Kamaishi has a loop design, and it has become famous as a driving course for those who want to feel the depth of the mountain. At the peak of fall, the leaves of multicolored oak trees, maple trees and a wide array of other autumn trees turn brilliant colors, treating visitors to a gorgeous view while they drive.

Best time for viewing: Late October to early November

5. Sen'nintoge

Dai-1 Chiwari, Kasshi-cho, Kamaishi-shi, Iwate

Please enjoy the beautiful colors of fall to the fullest under the relaxing and splendid autumn sky!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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