Photo: Trees in autumn at Kirishima National Park
Summer is officially over, which means it’s that time of year again when the colors change all around us. The colorful and bright spring and summer flowers have passed and all the leaves that have grown on the trees will start to fade before falling to the ground. In Japan, this great event is known as kouyou, and the most notable leaves from the maple trees, especially the Japanese maple, are called momiji. As anyone who has visited Japan in the autumn time can attest to, this change is makes the visit worth it. The forests of Japan come to life with a beautiful gradation of orange, yellow, and red. The climate is also nice enough to comfortably walk around outside to fully enjoy the scenery.
Kagoshima is located in the southern tip of Japan. This means that the autumn leaves occur much later than other parts of Japan. While it varies with the species of the tree, the foliage in the more central areas such Kanto (area around Tokyo) start to change around October and often peak in early November. In Kagoshima, this change happens a couple weeks later. The change usually starts late October or early November and peaks near the end of November. The colorful leaves can often be observed well into December in some places, too.
Here are a few recommendations for anyone planning to visit Kagoshima this autumn.
Sogi no Taki (Sogi Falls)
This grand waterfall is nicknamed the Niagara of the Orient. The waterfall is breathtaking and the park along the river offers a great spot to enjoy the colors of autumn. In addition, there are some food stalls that create a festival like atmosphere. 📍MAP
Lake Onami (Onami Ike)
For those that don’t mind a bit of hiking, this is highly recommended. Lake Onami is a crater lake surrounded by a forest full of color changing trees that is located in the Kirishima Mountain Range. There is about a 40 minute hike to the lake and you will need another 2~3 hours if you choose to walk around, but it is definitely a rare site. You will also be able to observe the nearby Shinmoedake Volcano and on a clear day, you can see all the way to Kinko Bay and Sakurajima Volcano. 📍MAP
Tarumizu Gingko Forest
You won’t find any red and orange colors here. Instead you will see a tunnel of yellow. The Japanese name, Senbon Ichou Park, literally means park of a thousand gingko trees. When you step in the forest, you will have an unreal feeling as if you were in a dream. 📍MAP
For those they cannot get out of the city, Sengan-en is a great place to observe the autumn leaves. Specifically, near the back of the park, there is a small river the runs through with maple tree branches hanging over the river. The stone walls along the river and the colorful leaves offer a great picture spot.📍MAP
Author: Kagoshima Cameron