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Immerse Yourself in Nature and Fall Colors! Five Recommended Spots in Koshinetsu to See the Fall Foliage

The Koshinetsu region is full of spots where nature combines with multi-colored foliage to create wondrous views. Here are five famous spots where you can see foliage and enjoy hiking and trekking!

1. Kamikochi (Nagano Prefecture)

Kamikochi, one of Japan's foremost mountain resorts, is located at an elevation of approximately 1,500m. There are well maintained walking paths along the clear Azusa River, where you can enjoy a leisurely stroll. The Japanese Judas tree​s and Japanese white birch trees are the first to turn colors at the beginning of the fall. When the leaves from the Japanese larch trees turn golden, the foliage season comes to an end. The wood suspension bridge on the Azusa River, Kappabashi, is a great place to see the picturesque scenery created by the clear river, the Hotaka Mountain Range, and the trees with their colorful leaves. Be sure to see Taisho-ike and Tashiro-ike, two ponds that beautifully reflect the vibrant fall colors.

Suggested Viewing Dates: Mid to Late October

1. Kamikochi (Nagano Prefecture)

Kamikochi, Azumi-mura, Minamiazumi-gun, Nagano

2. Tsugaike National Park (Nagano Prefecture)

This natural park contains one of Japan's foremost highland marshes, spread out in front of the Shirouma Sanzan at the border of the Nagano and Toyama Prefectures. It is at an elevation of 1,800m to 2,000m and can be accessed through a gondola ropeway, from which you can enjoy the magnificent scenery. The park has a path made out of wooden planks that forms a circular path of approximately 5.5km. The grass and plants begin to turn colors in September, making the entire marshland take on an autumnal hue. The fall foliage season peaks in October. The Japanese rowan and maple leaves turn a fiery red and the Erman's birch leaves change from green to a vibrant yellow, dramatically altering the scenery of the mountains.

Suggested Viewing Dates: Late September to Mid-October

Gondola Ropeway Fare (roundtrip) + Natural Park Entrance Fee:
Adults 3,600 JPY; Children 2,050 JPY

2. Tsugaike National Park (Nagano Prefecture)

12883-1 Chikuniotsu, Otari-mura, Kitaazumi-gun, Nagano

3. Myoko Kogen / Imori Pond (Niigata Prefecture)

Myoko Kogen is a resort at the foot of Mt. Myoko. It is an area where you can enjoy onsen hot springs and beautiful scenery from season to season. Imori Pond in Ikenotaira Onsen is one of the area's most famous tourist spots. There is a 500m path on which you can walk while enjoying the view of Mt. Myoko beyond the pond. The sight of the mountain colored in the yellows of maple and Japanese white birch trees, as well as the reds of Japanese maples is outstanding! Bicycles can be rented at the Myoko Kogen Visitors Center near the pond (100 JPY for 2 hours), so you can cycle among the beautiful fall scenery.

Suggested Viewing Dates: Late October to Early November

3. Myoko Kogen / Imori Pond (Niigata Prefecture)

2248-4 Sekigawa, Myoko-shi, Niigata

4. Mitake Shosenkyo (Yamanashi Prefecture)

Mitake Shosenkyo is famed for the most beautiful gorge in Japan. There are rows of granite cliffs carved over centuries and many strangely-shaped rocks and beautiful waterfalls throughout the approximately 4km-long gorge. The gorge has a large altitude difference, so you can enjoy the foliage for over a month. The highlight is Kakuenbo, which is its main peak. It is a sharp peak that carries an overwhelmingly majestic beauty and is about 180m high. During the fall, you can enjoy the contrast between the multi-colored foliage and white granite walls.

Suggested Viewing Dates: Late October to Late November

4. Mitake Shosenkyo (Yamanashi Prefecture)

Ikari-cho, Kofu-shi, Yamanashi

5. Nishizawa Gorge (Yamanashi Prefecture)

Nishizawa Gorge was created through the erosion of giant granite rocks by a clear stream. It has well maintained hiking trails that allow you to enjoy a variegated scenery while walking, including the mountain stream flowing through virgin forests, suspension bridges, and numerous waterfalls. In the fall, the maple, Japanese beech, Japanese rowan, Japanese larch, Mongolian oak and other trees turn beautiful colors. The view at the waterfall, Nanatsugama Godan-daki, is especially spectacular. You can enjoy the view of the water falling elegantly amidst a landscape adorned by brightly colored trees.

Suggested Viewing Dates: Mid-October to Early November

5. Nishizawa Gorge (Yamanashi Prefecture)

Mitomikawaura, Yamanashi-shi, Yamanashi

This time, all of the sites introduced are places in the Koshinetsu region that are well known for their beauty. Please enjoy the scenery that is even more beautiful when painted in fall colors!

*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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