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Five Recommended Spots in Akita in Tohoku for the Fall Foliage, Including the Famous World Heritage Site Shirakami-Sanchi!

Akita, a prefecture in the Tohoku region where the World Heritage Site called Shirakami-Sanchi is located, has many spots to enjoy its rich nature. Here are some places to see the beautiful fall foliage.

1. Shirakami-Sanchi Dakedai Forest for Natural Education

This forest is adjacent to the central area of the World Heritage Site, Shirakami-Sanchi. There are paths so you can casually enjoy the view of the ancient forests where virgin beech trees over 200 years old and moss-covered rocks create a fantastic harmony. There is a giant beech tree referred to as the Mother Tree of Akita Shirakami that is estimated to be about 400 years old. This majestic tree has a trunk circumference of 485cm, waist high diameter of 154cm and a height of 26m. Don't miss the scenery in the fall when the entire forest turns golden.

Best time to see the foliage: Early November

1. Shirakami-Sanchi Dakedai Forest for Natural Education

Within Aza-Fujikotosawa National Forest, Fujikoto, Fujisato-machi, Yamamoto-gun, Akita

2. Oyasu Gorge

This is a v-shaped gorge with a dynamic scenery including waterfalls and rapids. With many different types of maple and beech trees on both sides of the river, it is known as a great spot for the fall foliage. The highlight is the Daifunto, where approximately 10 tons of onsen hot spring water wells up every hour from a crack in the cliff. The contrast between the white steam coming off the hot water and the colorful trees is beautiful. There is a path from which you can enjoy the beauty of the gorge up close.

Best time to see the foliage: Mid October to early November
*The path is closed between mid November and late March

2. Oyasu Gorge

Minase Aza-Yumoto, Yuzawa-shi, Akita

3. Lake Towada / Towada Odate Jukai Line

Lake Towada is a double caldera lake on the border with Aomori. Here, you can see the beautiful contrast between the deep blue lake and the colorful trees including maple, lacquer, and beech. It is recommended to take the ferry (1,400 JPY/adult, 700 JPY/child) that departs near the Towada Visitor Center to see the view from the lake. The Towada Odate Jukai Line that connects Lake Towada and Odate is also a great road to enjoy the fall scenery. It is a scenic drive through a sea of forests. You can also stop at Shimeitei Observatory on the road to enjoy a view of Lake Towada.

Best time to see the foliage: Mid October to early November

3. Lake Towada / Towada Odate Jukai Line

Towadako, Kosaka-machi, Kazuno-gun, Akita

4. Kimimachizaka Prefectural Natural Park

This is a popular spot where you can enjoy sharp cliffs with layers of large and strange rocks and the fall foliage of trees growing between them. The large byobu screen rocks that seem to surround the plaza are the park's symbol. In the fall, maple, lacquer, dodan-tsutsuji and other trees paint the scenery in bright colors. With a pair of Japanese cedars referred to as the cedar couple and Koibumi Shrine that is said to make love wishes come true, the park is also considered to be a holy spot for romantic connections.

Best time to see the foliage: Late October to early November

4. Kimimachizaka Prefectural Natural Park

Futatsui-machi Kotsunagi, Noshiro-shi, Akita

5. Yuze Gorge

The walking path through Yuze Gorge, which spans about 4.6km from Yuze Onsen to Hachimantai Azukizawa, is also recommended. It is designated as a forest therapy road where you can relax in a place surrounded by nature. There are sharp cliffs with strangely shaped rocks created by erosion on both sides of the river. In the fall, you can see a wonderful scenery enveloped in trees with colorful foliage. The best place to see the beauty of the gorge is Tengu Bridge. There is also a fantastic view of the foliage from JR Hanawa Line.

Best time to see the foliage: Mid October to early November

5. Yuze Gorge

Hachimantai Aza-Yuze, Kazuno-shi, Akita

These are a variety of spots from ancient forests to gorges with sharp cliffs and mystic lakes. If you are visiting Japan in the fall, be sure to enjoy the beauty of its foliage.

*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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