[2018 Edition] 3 Must-Visit Spots in Central Japan for Fall Foliage in November

Many people say that the best time to view fall foliage in Japan is from early October all the way to the end of December. However, this is actually a rough estimate: In reality, it differs by region due to different plant species and climates. We've decided to create the ultimate guide to the best autumn foliage viewing spots in Japan, separated by area and month, for the year of 2018. This is Part 3 of the November series, and will focus on the Chubu area in the center of Japan. Keep reading to find out more!


Things to Do

Fall Foliage in Japan

The act of viewing autumn leaves is called "momiji-gari" in Japanese. You can find places all over Japan that are famous for their beautiful autumn foliage, including easily-accessible places like city parks and temples to more remote locations like mountain peaks and deep forests. In other words, there should be a spot to satisfy everyone!

The above picture is a forecast map for Japan's fall foliage in 2018. If you're interested in practicing momiji-gari, you need to acquire a good, accurate forecast map. We've done our research, but please keep in mind that the dates are ultimately estimates.

This is the third part of the November edition of this series, but check out the article below to catch up on the October series (and see even more stunning photos of autumn foliage in Japan!). 

Enjoy the Fall Colors in Chubu this November

Breathe in the Fresh Autumn Air at Iwayado Park (Aichi)

Iwayado Park is a little bit of a trek to get to, but this serene natural park - full of fresh country air - is well-worth the trip. Here, you can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Toppara River valley while admiring stunning fall foliage all around you. While you're in the area, it is also recommended to check out Iwaya-do, a shrine located within a huge boulder, as well as the several beautiful waterfalls in the area. There is even a viewing platform from which you can see the skyscrapers of Nagoya on a clear day! 


During the illumination season, this area is famous for the beautiful sight of the lit-up autumn foliage reflected in the surface of the river. The areas by the bridges that cross over the small waterfalls are especially gorgeous, so make sure to snap some photos to post on your social media accounts!


View the Autumn Colors by a Serene Mountain-top Castle (Gifu)

Gujo Hachiman Castle is the oldest castle in Japan to have been rebuilt in wood, and during the fall, the castle and surrounding autumn foliage are lit up at night, creating quite a beautiful sight. Because of this, it is also known as the "Famous Momiji (Maple Tree) Castle." 

Every year during peak momiij-gari season, the Gujo Hachiman Castle Momiji Festival is held both at the castle and at various places in the surrounding village, with the most festive celebrations taking place on Saturdays. The 2018 festival ran from Nov. 1 - Nov. 18, but the dates change every year depending on the climate, so be sure to check back next fall if you want to visit the 2019 festival. 


The small city of Gujo Hachiman is famous for its old-fashioned townscape that evokes the Edo era, so be sure to check it out before or after your trip to the castle. It's fun to visit the townscape first, and then try to find the places you visited when looking down at the city from the mountain-top castle!


Be Awed by the Sights at Koran Gorge (Aichi)

Around 4000 momiji trees line the banks of the Tomoe River at Koran Gorge (Korankei), and in the autumn, they paint the whole area in gorgeous fall colors. This spot is so beautiful, it's widely believed to be the best place in all of Chubu to see fall foliage.

While the most popular spots around the area are the paths along Tomoe River, there are actually several places around the central Mount Iimore from which to see stunning views - wherever you choose to go, you really can't go wrong! 


The whole area is lit up at night during peak fall foliage season, creating a magnificient view that is special even when compared to other fall foliage illuminations in Japan. 

While you're in the area, be sure to check out the Sanshu Asuke Yashiki Village, where you can find many traditional buildings, crafts, and cuisine that evoke a Japan of hundreds of years ago. It's also a great place to pick up some souvenirs from your trip. 


Chubu is a large area that encompasses 11 prefectures and is home to popular cities like Nagoya, Kanazawa, and Niigata. Because Chubu is so large, there is a huge variety of landscapes, cuisine, and things to do on offer. Furthermore, it is situated right in between the Kanto and Kansai regions, and has relatively easy access to the popular areas of each, such as Tokyo in Kanto and Kyoto in Kansai. While the Chubu region has plenty to offer to first-time and repeat visitors in Japan all year around, why not go during the fall to get a look at some of these stunning fall foliage views? 


Of course, you will get hungry from all that walking when touring fall foliage spots, so here are some ideas for what to eat while in the Chubu area. 

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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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