[2018 Edition] 3 Must-Visit Spots in the Koshinetsu Region for Fall Foliage in October

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 5 out of 5, focusing on the Koshinetsu area, a mountainous region known as the "roof 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.

Enjoy the Fall Colors in Koshinetsu this October

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

The resort town of Karuizawa in Nagano has been really popular recently, and if you visit during the fall then Kumoba Pond is somewhere you have to visit! 

There is a walking path that goes all the way around the pond, giving you the opportunity to see the beautiful scene of autumn foliage reflected in the still, mirror-like surface of the pond from many angles. 

Also, as you can see from the photos, there are several different types of trees, which together compose a beautiful scene full of various colors, including green, crimson, gold, and orange, along with the blue of the sky and water. 

While this is a natural and scenic location, it's actually quite close to Karuizawa Station, making it a lot easier to access than other nature spots around Japan. It's also close to the Karuizawa New Art Museum and Kyu-Karuizawa Ginza Shopping Street, so you could easily spend a whole day in this area. 

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

The sacred Mt. Hakkai is one of the Three Mountains of Etsugo, and boasts an elevation of 1,778m above sea level. This 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, there is also the option to take the 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 also has 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 Komoro Castle Ruins Kaikoen (Nagano)

At Komoro Castle Ruins, which have been turned into a public park, you can enjoy a beautiful autumn-time view of orange leaves contrasted with green moss-covered castle remains, such as walls and pathways. 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.

While the castle no longer remains, there are still plenty of structures left behind where you can feel a strong connection with the past. They also make for great photos for social media! 

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 October 20th to November 18th, 2018. 

Check out the articles below to get more ideas for things to to 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 and all of our upcoming articles in this series.


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

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