If you’re coming to Japan in autumn, and you have friends to guide you around, use this phrase,…. “Koyo mini ikoyo”.
Use this, and you’ll be treated to some of the best autumn leaf viewing spots Aichi Prefecture has to offer. Places like Jakkoin, a 650-year-old temple at the top of a very steep hill in Inuyama, with 320 steps leading to the main precincts. That’s 320 steps, with seven pause points from the car park at the half-way point! The area was a favorite spot of the warlord and master of the region, Oda Nobunaga. Particularly in autumn! The 800 or so bright red and orange trees under a crisp blue Japanese sky is even more breathtaking than the stairs to the top!
Another great spot to visit is Asuke’s Korankei Gorge, a deep, ancient valley gouged out by the Tomoe River that flows through it. The banks of the river are lined with over 4,000 maple trees, and even more deciduous trees along the many walkways create tunnels of color. At night, the Korankei Gorge is illuminated, creating a mystical scene. The surrounding mountains also turn a brilliant fire-engine red, yellow, orange, and vermilion. Come at the right time, stand in the right place and you can see a rainbow effect reflected in the river, red, golden yellow, orange, blue and green. Simply stunning!
Iwayado Koen in Seto City is also famed for its fall colors, with thousands of trees divided by a gushing river among spectacular rock formations, gorgeous waterfalls and hiking trails. Late November is best for this area, and if you can, go on a weekday. Weekends, the place is PACKED!
One more place that is truly magical is the Horai-ji Temple on 700m high holy Mt. Horai. The area is a known power spot. The temple complex is stunning all year round, situated below a sheer cliff face, but in autumn, it becomes all the more special with some of the most beautiful leaves in Japan, in abundance! The effect lasts after the leaves fall too, carpeting the temple grounds and walkways with discarded foliage. Until you see the colors of Aichi’s Horai-ji area in Horai City in the autumn, you’ll never know the true meaning of the word “magical”.
Jakkoin Temple in Inuyama, Korankei Gorge in Asuke, Seto’s Iwayado, or Horaiji’s Horai-ji Temple…these are just a few of the many great seasonal leaf viewing spots to visit. Wherever you go in Aichi during the autumn, the scenery will bring a smile to your face, and using the above mentioned phrase will bring a smile to your Japanese friends’ faces too.
“Koyo mini ikoyo”
It’s a word pun. It means “Let’s go see Autumn leaves!”
Chris Glenn is a bilingual radio DJ, TV presenter, producer, narrator, MC, copywriter, author and columnist, and Japanese historian, specializing in samurai castles, battles, armor and weapons. He is an inbound tourism advisor, and is often called upon as a lecturer and speaker on Japanese history and topics. He was born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1968, and has spent over half his life in Japan, most of that time in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture. Chris is dedicated to promoting and preserving Japans’ long history, deep culture, traditions, arts and crafts.