All About Japan

Top 5 Onsen for Fall Colors

| Onsen , Autumn Colors

Japan has as many locations famous for their autumn foliage as it has onsen—a lot! Because a number of spots famous for their koyo, or fall colors, are near famous hot springs, with some easy planning visitors can enjoy both the relaxing hot baths and the stunning autumn colors in one visit. Here are the top five picks from All About Japan.

5. Ikaho Onsen (Gunma)

Ikaho Onsen and its surroundings are famous for koyo. On the hill at the very back of the onsen district is an outdoor hot spring that welcomes daytrip visitors, while the onsen grounds just in front, near the Kajikabashi bridge, boast picturesque leaves of red, orange and yellow.

Approximate fall foliage season: Late October to early November
* Nighttime foliage illumination

4. Shiobara Hot Springs (Tochigi)

The famous fall foliage spots in Shiobara Hot Springs are Shiobara Valley (Shiobara Keikoku) on the eastern side of the onsen district, and the Village of Four Seasons (Shiki-no-sato) in the Shiobara Hot Springs Shiogama area, which is behind the Tenno-no-ma Kinen Koen (Emperor’s Chamber Commemoration Park). The autumn foliage in the hairpin turn known as Omagari in the Shiobara Hot Springs Shinyu area is also breathtaking. But the top recommended spot is Momiji-no-yu, pictured above.

Approximate fall foliage season: Late October to early November (For Momiji-no-yu, the ideal viewing time is late in the koyo season)
* No nighttime foliage illumination

3. Atami Onsen (Shizuoka)

Atami Baien is famous for its koyo, as well as its plums and fireflies in the summer. The park’s nighttime illumination encourages visitors to enjoy the beauty of autumn both day and night. During the autumn foliage season, entry into the park is free.

Approximate fall foliage season: Late November to early December
* Nighttime foliage illumination

2. Shuzenji Onsen (Shizuoka)

The best places to see autumn foliage in Shuzenji are at the paid facility, Shuzenji Niji-no-sato, and the free facility next door, Shuzenji Momiji-bayashi. Shuzenji has many great foliage spots near the onsen district, especially the grounds of Shuzenji Temple and Bamboo Forest Pass.

Approximate fall foliage season: Late November to early December
* Nighttime foliage illumination only at Shuzenji Niji-no-sato

1. Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen (Yamanashi)

The supreme place for seeing Japan’s beautiful koyo is Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen, located on the north shore of Lake Kawaguchiko. From here Mount Fuji can be seen straight on in good weather. It’s this natural collaboration between autumn foliage, Mount Fuji, and Lake Kawaguchiko that clinches this as the top of Japan’s many famous autumn foliage spots.

Approximate fall foliage season: Late October to early November
* Nighttime foliage illumination

Read more in Japanese from All About onsen guide Satoshi Fujita.