[2022 Edition] 3 Must-Visit Fall Foliage Spots in the Koshinetsu Region for October

Japan is known for its gorgeous fall scenery. Every year, many tourists fly to the country just to get a glimpse of it. It's said that the best time to view the fall foliage in Japan is from early October all the way to the end of November, but this is actually a very rough estimate, as it wildly differs by region. Let us take a bit of the guesswork out of your travel planning through this short list of our top fall foliage spots in the Koshinetsu region—a mountainous area filled with scenic nature spots that constantly make it on top of people's travel itineraries—for October. Even if you can't come to Japan in time to see these spots, they're always worth putting on your travel plans for next time!


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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 2022. 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.

If you're not into viewing the fall colors, there are several other reasons why you should visit Japan in the autumn. Just check out the article below!

Enjoy the Fall Colors in Koshinetsu

It's like Seeing Double! Enjoy the Autumn Foliage Reflected on Kumoba Pond in Karuizawa (Nagano)

The resort town of Karuizawa in Nagano gained international acclaim a while back thanks to the popular TV series "Terrace House." One of the best times to visit this town is during the fall, and if you do manage to make the trip, you absolutely can't miss out on Kumoba Pond.

Kumoba Pond is home to a wide array of trees which light up in all sorts of colors—green, crimson, gold, orange—in the autumn. When combined with the azure blue of the sky and the pond's waters, they create a gorgeous scene that'll remind you of a watercolor painting. There is a walking path that goes all the way around the pond, giving you the opportunity to see the beautiful autumn foliage reflected in the still, mirror-like surface of the pond from many angles.

The pond is surprisingly close to Karuizawa Station, making it a lot easier to access than many other nature spots in Japan. It's also close to the Karuizawa New Art Museum and Kyu-Karuizawa Ginza Shopping Street, so you could easily drop by while sightseeing around the town.

Hike up Mt. Hakkai to See One of the Most Stunning Views in Koshinetsu (Niigata)

The sacred Mt. Hakkai boasts an elevation of 1,778 m above sea level and is a great spot for those who like to hike, as the trail to the top is full of fantastic views, especially during the fall foliage season.

For those who would rather relax while enjoying the mountain scenery, there is the option to take a large ropeway gondola that can fit up to 81 passengers at once! There's nothing quite like watching the scenery gradually expand around you while traveling up a mountain on a ropeway! 

This area is also home to a popular ski resort, so make sure to come back in the wintertime to see a totally different view of the surrounding area blanketed in white snow. 

Check out the article below to read all about some more gorgeous mountain locations in the Chubu area (which is a larger region that includes Koshinetsu as well as the Tokai and Hokuriku regions). 

Admire Historic Autumn Scenery and More at the Komoro Castle Ruins Kaikoen Park (Nagano)

At the Komoro Castle Ruins, which have partially been turned into a public park, you can enjoy a beautiful autumn-time view of orange leaves contrasted with green moss-covered castle remains. There is also a zoo and a playground located within the park grounds, so this is a place where a family can easily spend a whole day. There are also special events that take place here during the fall foliage season that bring in large crowds of visitors, such as the daily Momiji Matsuri that runs from late October to late November.

Check out the articles below to get more ideas for things to do in this area besides enjoying the fall foliage. 

Koshinetsu isn't the most well-known area in Japan, but with the rising popularity of towns like Karuizawa and the stunningly gorgeous mountain scenery on display, it's certainly making its way up the list of places that tourists have to visit while in Japan!

If you're in the middle of planning your Japan autumn-leaf viewing itinerary for October, refer to this article our other top October fall foliage picks in other parts of Japan:
Kanto region
Kansai region
Hokkaido region


Thumbnail credit: PIXTA

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

About the author

An American living and working in Tokyo after spending a few years in the Japan countryside. I love video games, tennis, and cooking.

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