Wow–October is almost over already! But, where are all the autumn leaves? Those of us from more temperate climates may be thrown off by Miyazaki’s long-lasting summerlike weather, but don’t lose heart! There is a bit of fall color in our sub-tropic prefecture, as long as you know when and where to look for it. 😉
Luckily, Japan has this nifty guide to autumn leaf-viewing (because of course they do). With this guide, you can keep updated on all of the best places for fall foliage in Japan! The most ideal locations for momijigari in Miyazaki are up in the mountains to the north and west of the prefecture. The higher altitudes create a cooler climate that’s the perfect environment for changing colors.
Below are some of Miyazaki’s best momijigari spots, as well as some nearby places in other prefectures. Let us know if you have any recommendations of your own!
Ebino Kougen えびの高原
If you have never been to Ebino Kougen, you must check it out in the fall! The leaves have just begun to turn color recently, but from late-October to early-November, Ebino’s lofty forests are gilded with fire and gold! There are many different hiking courses to explore. In particular, the Ikemeguri Course is very easy-going and will reward you with spectacular views of lakes backed by vibrant foliage. After a day of hiking, why not visit a nearby onsen to relax? Ebino Kougenso is conveniently located near the skating rink, and Shiratori Onsen is just a short drive away!
Location: 1495-5 Suenaga, Ebino, Miyazaki Prefecture 889-4302 (map)
From mid- to late-November, Gokase Valley is completely transformed! There are a variety of hiking trails in the area. We also recommend you check out the Gokase Nature School to see if they have any classes or events going on.
If you’re looking for any more reasons to visit Gokase this fall, why don’t you join MAJET’s Fawning Over Fall event? We’ll be kayaking a bit early in Gokase’s viewing season, but you’re sure to see more color than you would in the lowlands or further south. 😉
Location: Kuraoka, Gokase, Nishiusuki District, Miyazaki Prefecture 882-1201 (map)
SHIRATAKI FALLS 白滝
While you’re in Gokase, why not also check out Shirataki Falls? Boasting a 60 meter drop, Shirataki is a sight to see any time of year, but is especially stunning in the autumn when it is surrounded by fall colors. Its a little difficult to find, but if you drive along Route 265 you’ll see a sign for it. The road is narrow and steep, but the views will be well worth the trip!
Location: 〒882-1201 五ヶ瀬町大字鞍岡荒谷 (map)
Mitate Valley 見立渓谷
Hinokage is a small place, but it is full of hidden gems! Mitate Valley is just one example. From late-October to late-November, the valley is lit up with vibrant color. After spending a cool day exploring the river valley, why not head over to Hinokage Onsen Station for a nice hot bath? They’re closed for renovations until October 31st, but by then the leaves should be in full color!
Location: 〒882-0403 宮崎県西臼杵郡日之影町見立 (map)
As if it weren’t beautiful enough any other time of year, Takachiho Gorge and the surrounding areas positively glow during the autumn season. The leaves won’t begin to change until the beginning of November, but from mid-November through the end of the month the entire gorge will be filled with crimson maple and golden ginko leaves.
If you get there bright and early you can reserve yourself a boat and paddle up the river, then enjoy lunch from the noodle train restaurant. Spend the rest of the day wandering around town, then check out one of the many Night Kagura performances! A schedule of performances and locations can be found here.
Stay in Takachiho overnight and make your way to Kunimigaoka (map) for sunrise. On cool, clear autumn mornings, you’ll find yourself overlooking a sea of clouds!
Location: Oshioi Mitai, 高千穂町 Takachiho-chō, Nishiusuki-gun, Miyazaki-ken 882-1101 (map)
The Kirishima mountains line the border between Miyazaki and Kagoshima Prefectures, and are a wonderful place for hiking! Kirishima Shrine (map) and Kirishima Onsen (map) are particularly famous for their autumn foliage in mid- to late-November. Even just driving by is amazing!
Kuju Mountains くじゅう連山
Ranked the #1 most popular momijigari location in Kyushu, the Kuju Mountains are just north of Miyazaki in Oita Prefecture. There are a variety of mountains hiking trails to explore. The leaves should be in full color from late-October to mid-November. While you’re up there, why not try camping at one of the many campgrounds , or check out the interesting flower park nearby (map)? You could also make it a stop on your way to Beppu or Yufuin for some weekend onsen adventures.
You can keep updated on Kuju’s leaf conditions here.
Location: Kujurenzan, Taketa, Oita Prefecture (map)
MOUNT SOBO 祖母山
Located on the border of Miyazaki and Oita Prefectures, Mount Sobo is listed as one of Japan’s 100 famous mountains, and from mid- to late-November it also happens to be a great place to bask in that autumn atmosphere!
After your hike, head back towards Takachiho and relax at the Amanoiwato Onsen (map) before heading back home, or stick around to see the Night Kagura performances! A schedule of performances and locations can be found here.
To see more things to do in and around Takachiho, please check out Takachiho’s MAJET page!
Location: Mount Sobo, Bungoono, Oita Prefecture (map)
So there you have it! There are plenty of places to spend some time among the autumn leaves, and now you know where to look. 😉 If you discover any other great locations on your adventures, please share them with us!