Japan Bathed In Colour

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NATURE: Japan Bathed in Colour; 5 Hotspots for viewing the Maple Leaves

Just as cherry blossom marks the advent of spring, so do the maple leaves herald the arrival of Autumn in Japan. Starting in the north and creeping it’s way south, Japan’s maple season is famous around the world as the country bursts into colour, from mountaintops to city sidewalks.

Check out our top 5 destinations for viewing the maple leaves, or ‘koyo’ this Autumn.

1. Early-birds head to Hokkaido

Those wanting to be the first to catch the ‘koyo front’ as it hits Japan in mid September should head to the northernmost island of Hokkaido. For total maple immersion, visit Daisetsuzan National Park, where hiking through the unspoilt wilderness amidst the vibrant colours of Autumn is a nature-lovers paradise.

2. A boat with a view

The mountains on either side of the Hozu Valley to the west of Kyoto come alive with the arrival of Autumn. Bathed in vibrant colour, this famous spot for maple-viewing is best experienced not by land, but by water. ‘Kawakudari’ river boat rides take visitors on a spectacular ninety-minute trip down the Hozugawa river from Kameoka to Arashiyama, with the busiest season from Late November to early December.

3. Autumn after dark

For those on the lookout for Autumn colour in the heart of the city, there’s no better place to wander amongst the maple trees than Tokyo’s Rikugien Garden. One of the city’s most beautiful landscaped gardens, Rikugien is home to a forest of 400 maple trees, where during late November and early December, visitors can enjoy an illuminated night-time walk.

4. Soak in the scenery

For a totally unique experience, why not soak-up the scenery whilst soaking in a hot mountain spring, or onsen? Nyuto-onsenkyo is an area of hot springs at the foot of Mount Nyuto in northern Japan, and offers the perfect place to relax whilst admiring the Autumn landscape. Located along a river with panoramic views, Hot Spring Taenoyu offers the most breathtaking scenery.

5. Iconic views at Mount Fuji

Finally, for those chasing an iconic snapshot of Mount Fuji framed by Autumn leaves, head to Fuji Five Lakes from late October to mid November. At the northern base of Mount Fuji, this area offers the best views of Japan’s famous summit, with some of the nicest spots along the northern shores of Lake Kawaguchiko.

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