Koyo — The Fall Colours of Fukushima

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Steam Liner on the Tadami Line, Oku Aizu.

Summer is winding down and fall will soon be here. You can expect a lot of beautiful scenery with the turning colours of the leaves. In Japan, the fall colours (koyo) can be likened to cherry blossom viewing in spring, in that many Japanese people make trips specifically to see sights famous for their beautiful fall leaves. Here is a quick guide to some of the many scenic locations to view the koyo of Fukushima.


 

The view of one of the five lakes at Goshikinuma.

The view of one of the five lakes at Goshikinuma, with red Japanese maple leaves in the foreground.

 

Goshikinuma (The Five Coloured Lakes) (Map) (Link) When Mount Bandai erupted in 1888, it send plumes of ash into the air all around. Minerals from this ash cloud settled into the five lakes nearby, causing them to change colour. Each lake has its own shade of blue-green, and looks particularly beautiful with the backdrop of fall leaves.


 

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The view from the Lake Line looking up towards the peak of Mount Bandai.

Bandai Azuma Lake Line (Map) (Link) and Bandai Azuma Sky Line (Map) (Link) are two scenic toll roads that take a winding path around Mount Bandai,  connecting many small lakes in the area. There are many viewpoints and walking trails along the way to stop and enjoy, including the Bandai Nakatsugawa Keikoku (Map) (Link), beautifully clear river runs down the valley from the Bandai Highland.

 


 

Tsuruga Castle in the fall, with added bonus lens flare.

Tsuruga Castle in the fall, with added bonus lens flare.

 

Tsuruga Castle, Aizu Wakamatsu (Map) (Link) One of the greatest cherry blossom viewing spots in Fukushima with over 700 cherry trees on the grounds, this castle is also beautiful in the fall when the leaves change colours!

 

 


 

Kokuzousama Enzo-ji Temple, Yanaizu (Map) (Link) This Buddhist temple set up on the hill overlooking the river is famous for its Naked Man Festival in January (See More), but also has plenty of scenic beauty during the fall.

Nanko Park, Shirakawa (Map)(Link) Walk through this beautiful park on the shore of the lake, and enjoy the fall scenery!


 

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Yellow ginko leaves at Shiramizu Amida Do Temple, Iwaki City.

Shiramizu Amida Do Temple, Iwaki (Map) (Link) Built over 850 years ago, this temple is the oldest building in Iwaki, and a designated national treasure. It’s situated in a beautiful park with a bridge over a pond that visitors pass over to reach the temple.

Natsuigawa Keikoku, Iwaki (Map) (Link) See the mountain maple trees along the mountain gorge for a beautiful view of the fall colours! Also in Iwaki, the Tohno Weeping Maple Tree is not to be missed! (Link)


These are just a few of the many fall colour viewing spots around the prefecture. Where are your favourite places?

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