Fall is upon us, and Gifu is a prime spot to watch the leaves turn to warm shades of yellow, orange, red, and brown before the cold of winter arrives. In fact, some might already be enjoying the peak of the kouyou (fall colors) season depending on how far north you are. Luckily for the rest of us, a little farther south, the peak of the kouyou season has yet to pass. So if you are feeling up for some kouyou gari (fall color hunting) this year, then here are a few locations that you need to check out!
Oyada Maple Valley
Visiting Oyada Shrine’s Maple Valley is a bit of a trek for those without a car, but well worth it! The fact that the shrine boasts around 3,000 giant maple trees will help you imagine the magnitude of brilliant fall colors that can be viewed here. Seeing these colors in contrast with the shrine’s engravings and architecture will be sure to impress anyone who makes this trip.
Fall Peak: Mid to late November
For more info: http://travel.kankou-gifu.jp/en/see-and-do/27/
Ena Gorge is one of the more popular spots to see the changing autumn foliage in Gifu. Both the Prefectural Nature Park and the sightseeing boats (1280 yen for adults or 640 yen for kids) offer views of the gorge’s famous rock formations against the changing orange trees on the surrounding cliffs and hills. If you go through the link below to the sightseeing boat website, there is a coupon you can print off for a slight discount.
Fall Peak: Early to mid November
For more info: http://travel.kankou-gifu.jp/en/see-and-do/12/
Access(Different from the above link): JR Ena Station > Tohtetsu Bus on the “Ena-kyo” line(~15min) > Get off at “Ena-kyo” stop > walk(5min)
Yoro Park alone is worth a trip because of the vast amount of maple trees it contains. However, considering that you can also see Yoro Falls, one of Japan’s “Top 100 Waterfalls,” you can imagine why this would be a popular spot to see fall colors. Just by walking to Yoro Falls you will be passing through tunnels of vibrant shades of orange and red, and past some of the park’s most picturesque views.
Fall Peak: Late November to the early December
For more info: http://travel.kankou-gifu.jp/en/see-and-do/19/
Located just five minutes from Takayama Station, Kokubun Temple is home to an enormous ginkgo tree said to be over 1,200 years old. During the fall, the tree’s leaves turn from green to a very bright yellow making it nearly impossible to miss if you are in the vicinity. Paired with the temple’s three-story pagoda they make a one of a kind sight that you can’t find anywhere else.
Fall Peak: Early to mid November
For more info: http://travel.kankou-gifu.jp/en/see-and-do/74/
Here are a few more places that should not be passed up, especially if you have some extra time or can’t make it to one of the above places.
- Gifu Castle (November) link: http://travel.kankou-gifu.jp/en/see-and-do/17/
- Gero Hot Springs Gashou Village (Mid to Late November) link: http://travel.kankou-gifu.jp/en/see-and-do/86/
- Hida no Sato (Late October to Mid November) link: http://travel.kankou-gifu.jp/en/see-and-do/84/
- Shinhotaka Ropeway (Now through Late October) link: http://travel.kankou-gifu.jp/en/see-and-do/3/
- Shirakawa-go (Late October to Mid November) link: http://travel.kankou-gifu.jp/en/see-and-do/2/
This list should be more than enough to please any kouyou hunter that is up for a challenge. Just make sure that before you go your camera is fully charged!
***Please note that locations were chosen considering their accessibility for people without cars, and that peak times are based on an “average year,” and could vary slightly depending on the year.