By CinnamonEllie, for grape Japan

If you are in Kanto this season, you simply can’t miss the magnificent autumn foliage, which you can usually experience from early November to early December.

With that in mind, here is a list of the must-see places I truly recommend in case you are planning a trip to Japan either this autumn or in the future. Take a pen, a piece of paper or simply open your notes application on your mobile device because I am going to recommend some of Kanto's hidden gems and the best sightseeing places that will make your trip an unforgettable one!

1. The Momiji Valley in Kairaku-en

One of the famous spots where you can view the momiji (maple trees) and their beautiful crimson colors is Kairaku-en (偕楽園), located in Mito, Ibaraki, a place which is also very famous for scenic views of plum blossoms during spring. It's also recognized as one of Japan’s top three beautiful gardens, so it's definitely a place you'll want to write down on your list. During November, the garden paints itself into a beautiful palette of reds, yellows and oranges, where approximately 170 maple trees will offer you a unique scenery to gaze at.

The best time to see the autumn foliage in Kairaku-en is Mid-November to late November.

During early November, you can also enjoy the momiji night viewing, as they will light it up from sunset until 9 pm.


2. The Hananuki Keikoku Valley in Ibaraki (花貫渓谷)

For those of you who love nature and hiking, the Hananuki Valley is the perfect place! Not only you can enjoy the vivid colors of the maple trees while walking around the area, but you can also hear the small waterfalls surrounding the valley.

After crossing the suspended bridge, the Tadami Falls will complete the gorgeous scenery and you’ll get to encounter and appreciate the sight of the momiji trees, together with yamazakura, kunugi, nara (oak trees) and ichou trees (gingko). The valley will be lit up during the festival and you can enjoy the autumn foliage from the 1st of November to 1st of December.


3. Tokumei-en in Takasaki-shi, Gunma Prefecture

One of the most famous gardens in the north of Kanto is Tokumei-en (徳明園), known for its incredible size.

The garden consists of four areas: the karensensui area (dry landscape gardens), a pond area, the moss garden area and the rock garden area.

Tokumei-en was initially built at the same time as doukutsu Kannon (the cave Kannon). In addition to the various places you can explore there, you can also enjoy the autumn foliage and their night-time illumination on the 23rd 24th and 30th of November, from 4 pm to 7 pm.

However, the fall foliage lasts until early-December. During weekdays, you can get in until 4 pm, while on weekends and national holidays, it's open until 5 pm.

Note that to visit the Yamatoku Memorial Hall, the cave Kannon and the gardens, you need to purchase a ticket first (800 yen for adults, 400 for children, and free entrance for infants).


4. Ikuta Ryokuchi Park in Kawasaki

Shining reds, beautiful yellows, nearby museums and wonderful cafés. The Ikuta Ryokuchi Park in Kawasaki is undoubtedly a wonderful place for both adults and children. The leaves changing colors (koyo) in autumn offer a stunning view and a serene atmosphere you can immerse yourself in while having a picnic on the grass or while reading a book and simply enjoying a cup of tea or coffee.

Besides the beautiful scenery, you can also explore the Kawasaki Science Museum (free admission) and its planetarium (400 yen for adults, 200 for children), situated next to the picnic area, or go up hiking on Mt. Masugata if you’d like to exercise or simply enjoy the nature surrounding you while having a walk.

In addition to the Kawasaki Science Museum, you can also discover the Open Air Folk Museum (500 yen for adults, 300 for university students) that is usually open from 9:30 am to 5 pm (except from November to February, when it closes at 4:30 pm). You can also try the indigo dyeing workshop for free or visit the Taro Okamoto Art Museum for 500 yen (adults; children up to high school have free admission).


5. Togo Park in Saitama

If you love nature and music, Togo Park(東郷公園) in Saitama is for you.

There, you can enjoy live jazz performances while being surrounded by over 1,000 trees painted in autumn colors or visit one of the recommended spots of the park: the statue of Togo Heihachiro, Japan’s greatest admiral known for winning the battle of Tsushima and being Emperor Hirohito’s mentor. During fall, stunning colors all around the statue can be seen, and the park looks absolutely majestic.

Official site: Togo Park


6. Kuroyama Santaki Falls in Saitama

This marvelous place is one of the top sightseeing spots in Japan. Besides admiring the icho trees (gingko) or maple trees and picking up leaves, you can also enjoy outdoor activities such as fishing or hiking. Usually, you can catch trout, with the option of getting it grilled for 400 yen!


7. The National Showa Memorial Park in Tokyo

The Shōwa Kinen Kōen (昭和記念公園) in Tachikawa is pretty famous among tourists that come to visit Tokyo. In addition to its beautiful Japanese gardens and ponds, it also has many open spaces, so it is also the perfect place for families or gathering with friends. However, what makes this park even more attractive is the golden tunnel made of two rows of ginkgo trees that continues endlessly along the avenue of the park and offers visitors a wonderful sight full of magic. For those of you who love taking pictures, the place is also very Instagrammable.


These are seven of the places I truly recommend during this season. I would be delighted to know that I added something new to your list of places to visit in Japan during the autumn and maybe even other times of year.

By - cinnamonellie.