Autumn in Japan is so beautiful! ZEKKEI’s Captivating Fall Foliage Recommendations – Train and Ropeway Edition

Autumn in Japan is so beautiful! ZEKKEI’s Captivating Fall Foliage Recommendations – Train and Ropeway Edition
(This special article is a partnership project with YAHOO!)
While one might usually enjoy the vivid shades of autumn on a brisk walk through the local park or a lazy drive through the countryside, why not hop on a train or ropeway to enjoy the view from a slightly different angle? From start to finish you can sit back, relax, and watch the beautiful scenery drift by. Check out ZEKKEI’s recommendations for fantastic fall train and ropeway trips!

■ Fall Foliage Ropeway Rides

Tateyama Ropeway (Toyama)

Mt. Tateyama is special in the fall because the leaves begin to change colors from the higher elevations and the deep hues eventually spread down towards the base. The entire process takes about one and half months from start to finish, so the mountain is majestically multi-hued throughout with the light and dark greens of alpine plants, the bright red of Mountain Ash and Maple trees, and the warm yellow of Birch trees.

The fall foliage at the foot of the mountain usually peaks from late-September to mid-October. During this time, the Tateyama Ropeway gives riders spectacular views of the entire mountain enveloped in fiery reds and oranges. It is a must-see spot for fall foliage in the magnificent Northern Alps.

Kankakei Gorge(Kagawa)

The autumn colors become deeper and more robust as autumn comes to Kankakei Gorge. The foliage is quite impressive, since the autumn leaves are interspersed throughout the gorge’s many different-shaped boulders and rock formations, which were created by a powerful volcano eruption 13 million years ago.

Floating through the air on the 5-minute ropeway ride is a thrilling experience in and of itself, but seeing the majestic gorge together with the beautiful sea and brilliant sky is an unforgettable experience.

The best season is between early- and late-November.

Nita Toge Pass(Nagasaki)

At Nita Toge Pass, when the more than 120 different species of deciduous trees change colors the effect is one of flames licking up the side of the mountain in slow motion. The evergreen trees in the area are also considered very beautiful, as the famous Fugen-Dake Coniferous Forest is a National Natural Monument. It is truly a wonderful ZEKKEI view in autumn, when the color contrasts are as gorgeous as the intricate patterns on a Japanese kimono.

The view from the ropeway is wonderful, but the panoramic view from the top of the mountain is absolutely breathtaking. From there you can see Mt. Heisei-Shinzan, a group of lava domes created by an eruption of Mt. Unzen in 1991. The peak season is from late-October to mid-November.

■Fall Foliage Train Rides

Kurobe Gorge Railway (Toyama)

The Kurobe Gorge Railway travels along the deep gorge painted in rich autumn colors. The view from the carriages changes dramatically throughout the journey, including the exquisite emerald green Unazuki Lake, the many bridges, the bell-shape Mt. Higashi-Kanetsuriyama, and much, much more. The crystal clear water of Kurobe River and the evergreen trees scattered throughout add a splash of variation to the reddish fall colors and make the trip that much more delightful.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the superb 80-minute autumn train ride. Peak season is between early- and mid-November.

Minami Aso Railway Yusuge-go(Kumamoto)

Japan Train Autumn Leaves
This sightseeing train runs through a landscape filled with red, yellow and orange. The southern Aso Region’s expansive nature can be seen from the roomy carriages throughout the journey. Along the way you can enjoy spectacular valleys and the thrilling experience of crossing the historic Dai-ichi Shirakawa Bridge (pictured above). The train runs every weekend and holiday from March 1st though November 30th, but November is the best season for the autumn leaves.

Sagano Scenic Railway(Kyoto)

The Sagano Scenic Railway is a historic train that runs through Hozugawa Gorge alongside the Katsura River, which is famous for river rafting, Kyoto's landmark Togetsukyo Bridge crosses over the same river downstream. During the 25-minute ride, you are so close that it seems you could almost touch the colorful autumn leaves flickering like flames across the Gorge.

During the fall, Torroko-Saga Station (the starting point) is bustling with visitors. But there is no time to get bored as the station has family-friendly attractions including several steam locomotives and miniature railroads on display. In addition, autumn leaves along the railway are illuminated at night from mid-October to mid-December, so you can enjoy the ride day and night.

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