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Kansai Scene Magazine

Fall-leaves Frenzy


Fall-leaves Frenzy

As landscapes become a kaleidoscope of changing colors, behold the sight of nature’s breathtaking spectacle.

Ah, autumn. With the cooling weather and the explosion of hues covering the normally monochromatic landscape, the flurry of the fall season is here again. Postcard scenery becomes inundated with visitors scrambling to witness the spectacle for themselves. It’s hard not to assimilate; the poetry of the changing landscape is enthralling. Join the masses and check out these dazzling autumn-leaf viewing spots.

Kurama, Kyoto

Situated just north of urban Kyoto is quaint, rural Kurama. Known for its outdoor onsen and celebrated temple, a trip immerses visitors in traditional culture. The heavily forested area transforms into a patchwork quilt of crimson every autumn. Enjoy the view on the ride into the town on trains with window-facing seats, as well as on the hike or cable-car ride up the local mountain.

Access: Take the Keihan Main Line to Demachiyanagi Station and transfer to the Eizan Main Line for Kurama.

Minoo Park, Osaka

Osakans’ favorite local escape is this quasi-national park just outside the city. Minoo is renowned for many things—a towering waterfall, wild monkeys, craft beer—but namely the {momiji} (maple leaves) that blanket the park in a colorful splendor come autumn. The walk through the town and forests of Minoo is charming and leisurely and best accompanied with fried momiji from the street stalls along the way.

Access: Hop on the Hankyu-Takurazuka Line at Umeda Station and change to the Hankyu-Mino Line at Ishibashi Station.

Arashiyama, Kyoto

That gorgeous bamboo forest on the cover of seemingly every Japan travel guide? That’s Arashiyama. Be forewarned because this locale’s beauty comes at a price—it’s incredibly crowded. However, it’s worth it to witness the splendor of the Togetsukyo Bridge, the atmospheric machiya (traditional wooden Japanese houses), hidden forest temple Senko-ji, and, of course, the fall foliage, which is celebrated worldwide for a reason.

Access: Take the Hankyu-Kyoto Line to Katsura and transfer to the Hankyu-Arashiyama Line.

Wakayama Castle, Wakayama

Wakayama Castle is historically significant (the unifiers of modern Japan resided here) and magnificent during autumn. The Momiji-dani (“Valley of the Autumn Leaves”) is resplendent in red and golden colors come November. Visit the old-fashioned teahouse and wander the vibrant grounds, {matcha} green tea in hand.

Access: From Namba Station, take the Nankai Line to Wakayamashi Station. From there, it’s a short bus ride or 20-min walk.

Mount Yoshino, Nara

Many flock to this mountain during the cherry-blossom season, but the sweeping panorama from the top is just as stunning in the fall. Ascend on foot or via the ropeway to be surrounded by the natural beauty of tens of thousands of radiant trees. Yoshino is a designated World Heritage Site and includes cultural treasures like Kinpusenji Temple and Yoshimizu Shrine.

Access: Take the Kintetsu Line from Osaka Abenobashi Station to Yoshino-guchi.

Genko-an Temple, Kyoto

This calm temple is a place of reflection. People come to sit in front of the famous circular and square windows and meditate or simply enjoy the view, which in autumn is exceptionally picturesque. An unusual macabre draw is the blood-stained ceiling, repurposed from the site of a historic samurai battle in the 1600s.

Access: Ride the Hankyu-Kyoto Line to Omiya Station and take the number 6 bus to Takagamine Genkoanmae.

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