The fall season is drawing near, and if you’re going to Japan for some 紅葉 (koyo/autumn colors), check out some of these breathtaking sceneries that you can experience in Naruko Gorge!

Naruko Gorge is considered to be one of the most scenic gorges in the Tohoku region. It’s about 70 kilometers from Sendai (where we were staying prior to going here), and 2 kilometers away from Naruko Onsen, a small hot spring town. You can either get down on Nakayama Daira Onsen Station (which goes towards the gorge’s western end) or Naruko Onsen Station (which goes towards the gorge’s eastern end). It took us about 80 minutes to get here from Sendai (you can check out which trains to ride here) and we chose to get off Naruko Onsen Station because there’s actually some things to see around there.

During the autumn season, there are buses running towards the gorge from both stations, but unfortunately the service was already over on the day we arrived. We thought that it meant that the leaves have fallen already, but we were excited to hear from the lady in the information center that it was actually still peak and that the bus schedule only moves based on the forecast, which isn’t always 100% correct. So even if the bus isn’t running already, there’s still hope that you can catch the wondrous autumn colors of the gorge! For reference to plan your trip, we went here on November 8, 2016 and the leaves actually started falling a day or two after our visit, so it was a lucky day for us. If we went any later, we would have gone for naught.

Inside the Naruko Onsen Station, there’s a small kokeshi doll exhibit (which is free!) so you actually don’t need to go out of your way to the museum if you just want to see what they look like.

They also have a cozy library with tea where you can sit down and read books and manga while enjoying the scenery from the window.

Step outside, and you’ll see a wooden area with a free footbath! It was getting pretty cold already so we went ahead and warmed up our toes before going to the gorge.

We actually decided to try hiking all the way up the gorge, but after 30 minutes we just hailed a taxi because we were getting hungry. We asked the locals how long it would take to reach the viewpoint, but they said it would still be 2 hours. The road up to the gorge was very beautiful – you can see the mountains splashed with color even when you’re inside a vehicle.

After around a 20 minute taxi ride (it cost us around Y1300), we arrived at the famous viewing spot for the gorge where you can take all those postcard-worthy shots! We were left speechless by the scene in front of us. It’s also good because there’s not many tourists, so you can definitely take your time to admire the surroundings.

It was nearing time for lunch so we headed back to the resthouse which is located beside the viewpoint. They served Japanese dishes and sweets with a wide-view glass window, so you can enjoy looking at the gorge while eating.

Once we had our fill, we walked around the area looking for more picturesque spots, and there’s really a lot! Aside from the famous Ofukazawa Bridge shot which you can take from the viewpoint, there’s also a shot of the railway which you can take if you walk across the bridge.

There are also beautiful streams around the area.

After a few hours of basking in the autumn leaves, we headed back to the resthouse to call a taxi. Naruko Gorge really gave us a very memorable autumn viewing, and it’s already decided that autumn is our favorite season to travel in Japan.

Have you been to Naruko Gorge? Let us know what you think and feel free to share your experiences below! Thanks for reading!

 

 

Picture Perfect Autumn at Naruko Gorge
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12 thoughts on “Picture Perfect Autumn at Naruko Gorge

  • September 6, 2017 at 11:12 am
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    I hope we get to go there as well

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  • September 6, 2017 at 7:10 pm
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    It looks beautiful! Leaf peeping is one of my favorite activities in the fall. #wanderfulwednesday

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  • September 6, 2017 at 7:22 pm
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    You had me at Autumn!! I was born in Japan and would love to go back, but I honestly can’t decide between Spring and Autumn! #WanderfulWednesday

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    • September 7, 2017 at 2:07 pm
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      You definitely need to go back and visit both 😀 I could only wish that I live in Japan haha!

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  • September 6, 2017 at 7:25 pm
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    This Gorge looks incredibly gorgeous! I love Autumn colors, so this looks like my type of place! It’s nice that you were able to hail a cab as well even though the buses weren’t running! 😀

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  • September 6, 2017 at 9:53 pm
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    What a gorgeous area and how perfect for a trip in fall!! I love those colours and Japan is on my bucket list anyway. Bookmarked! 🙂

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  • September 6, 2017 at 11:38 pm
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    Wow, these colours are just beautiful! There is nothing like seeing the first signs of the change of the seasons, especially when it looks this pretty! We are falling into Spring over here in Chile and I just low seeing the trees as they change 🙂

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    • September 7, 2017 at 2:05 pm
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      Ohhh I saw your post about Chile as well, I really love how you brought out all the colors of nature 🙂

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  • September 7, 2017 at 12:15 pm
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    Beautiful photos! One of my favourite things about Japan is seeing the Kouyou in the fall – especially since fall is my favourite season!

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    • September 7, 2017 at 2:04 pm
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      Thanks! Autumn is also my favorite season 🙂 It’s not too hot and not too cold!

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  • September 9, 2017 at 4:43 am
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    I had no idea Japan had such amazing foliage!! So beautiful 🙂 I always say I want to see the cherry blossoms in Japan but now I’m thinking autumn might be a better time to go!

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    • September 10, 2017 at 2:56 pm
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      I really like their autumn season more than the cherry blossom season because there’s a lot less people, and the weather is more agreeable with me 😀

      Reply

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