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Nature’s Amber, Golden, and Crimson Leaves of Splendor Beckon Travelers on Tobu Railway – Traveling North from Tokyo’s Asakusa Station – to Nikko and Kinugawa in Tochigi Prefecture
While American domestic travelers marvel at New England’s autumn leaves in shades from saffron to crimson, Japan’s fall foliage also beckons leaf peepers from around Japan itself and across the globe. Japanese culture reveres the changing of the seasons. Plus, the ephemerality of ruby maple and the golden gingko, along with the pleasant weather in October and November – prime foliage season, make this a perfect time to visit Tokyo and nearby Tochigi Prefecture. Places like Nikko with its UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Kinugawa Onsen, famous for its relaxing natural mineral baths, are just a two-hour journey away on the Tobu Limited express train from Tokyo’s Asakusa Station. And these regions are especially worth the trip when the landscape is blanketed in gorgeous autumn hues.
Momiji - meaning red leaves or maple trees - is also the term for visiting areas where leaves turn auburn in autumn. (Usually the Momiji Festival runs throughout the month of November.
In Tokyo, Asakusa Senso-ji Temple is highlighted by both autumn foliage (see 360 photo) and the seasonal Tori-no-ichi festival, held on the "days of the rooster (tori) in November at the Temple of Tori Juzaisan Chokoku-ji, where people come to pray for good: health, fortune, and business. In 2017, the festival will be held on November 6, 18, and 30 from 1 pm, with an “evening palace festival,” the night before, November 5, 17, and 29, from 11:15 pm, with drumming at midnight.
In Nikko, from Oct. 25-Nov. 15, 4-8 pm, there are several “light-ups.” One is atop the mountain at Shouyouen Garden, part of Rinno-ji temple (JPY500). A second is at the Kiyotaki recreational area, a 20-minute bus ride, plus a 10-minute walk from Nikko station. From late October to mid-November, the Hoshino family home, one of the oldest houses in the district, is open to the public (5 to 8:30 pm). It’s a well preserved example of traditional architecture, with a manicured garden featuring Momiji in its crimson glory (JPY500 admission). There are also numerous high quality and historic hotels and ryokan (Japanese inns) with hot springs in the vicinity. There are also special Nikko and city area passes offering discounts for foreigners on sightseeing experiences in the region.
For more information on fall-foliage and autumn light-up-the-night experiences in Tokyo and Tochigi Prefecture, in the areas served by Tobu Railway Co. Ltd., visit TobuJapanTrip.com.