Seeing Japan’s famed cherry blossoms in Spring is on the bucket list of many a traveler. But no less brilliant is the autumn season when the entire country blazes with color. Here in the higher altitudes of the leaves change color a bit later than most of the rest of the country, but the wait is well worth it. Of course, you’ll see the leaves changing wherever in town you go, but there are a few pockets of intense and extraordinary allure. Here are four places to check out Matsumoto’s spectacular fall colors.
An arching stone bridge leads from the centuries-old atmosphere of Frog Street to the serenity of this Edo Era shrine. The grounds are not particularly expansive, but among the colors of the season, backed by Yohashira Shrine’s timeless character, it is easy to lose track of time.
Spread out over what was once the campus of one of Japan’s most prestigious schools, Agata-no-Mori Park is an alluring mix of wide grassy spaces and intimate Japanese elements, backed by the mountains of Utsukushi-ga-hara to the east.
Walk among the towering cedars lining the wide, straight path leading into the heart of the park, then wind your way through the yellowing groves of aspen and past the rich reds found all around the central pond. The children on the playground in the far corner of the park are a wonderful sight as well!
The Yamabe Valley
East of town the Susuki-gawa River runs down from the mountains, past the vineyards and rice fields and, in autumn, the stunning colors of the quiet Yamabe Valley. Rent yourself an e-bike and take off up the bicycle path that runs along the Susuki-gawa, then get lost for a while as you explore the rich beauty of this very special slice of Matsumoto.
Registered as a “National Treasure” of Japan, Matsumoto Castle‘s black walls and roofs beauty is accentuated by the surrounding red leave and the trees paint the castle garden in the colors of autumn. One of the prettiest times of the year at Matsumoto Castle!
A Full Full-Color Day
The best thing about taking in the fall colors of the Matsumoto is that you can do it while seeing everything else our town has to offer. Yohashira Shrine is right down the street from Matsumoto Castle. Agata-no-mori is a straight shot east from the train station, just past the Matsumoto Museum of Modern Art. The historic beauty of Kotakuji Temple is a quick side trip along the way up the Yamabe Valley. And with e-bikes for rent all over downtown, getting around is a piece of cake, making it easy to take in Matsumoto’s spectacular fall colors.
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