Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Fukuoka: 5 Stunning Spots To Enjoy The Autumn Leaves In 2017
Fukuoka is famous for its beautiful nature, warm hospitality, and delicious food. Above all, it is a great place to view autumn leaves. How about embarking on a trip to Kyushu to enjoy the highlights of the fall season in the vibrant city of Fukuoka?
Written by MATCHA
Relish the Wonderful Autumn Leaves in Fukuoka! A Trip to Kyushu
Kyushu is the large island located at the southern end of Japan. Fukuoka is famous for its beautiful nature, warm hospitality, and delicious food. It is the center of the northern Kyushu area and is home to many famous sightseeing places. Some of these places are renowned spots for viewing the autumn leaves.
Fukuoka can be easily accessed from Tokyo by shinkansen. The bullet train will bring you directly to Hakata Station, in the heart of Fukuoka. It is even easier to go to Fukuoka from Osaka or Kyoto, with both trains and express buses available as means of transportation.
In this article we will introduce five spots in Fukuoka where visitors can view the autumn leaves, which travel down the Japanese Islands from north to south.
1. Hikosan (Mt. Hiko)
Photo courtesy of: Soedamachi Machizukuri Division Sightseeing Dept.
Though this mountain has been famous as a training ground for Buddhist monks since ancient times, it is also popularly known to be a place with mystical powers, and where bird-watchers visit. The leaves change their colors gradually from the mountaintop to the foothills, so visitors can appreciate them while walking to the shrine located near the summit, Hikosan Jingu.
Visitors can also reach the Hikosan Jingu by means of a slope car, letting visitors appreciate the scenery at a leisurely pace. Physically fit visitors should climb the additional three kilometers to the summit, where they can enjoy a fantastic view.
How to Get to Hikosan Shrine
From JR Hikosan Station, take the Hikosan bound bus and get off at the Kane no Torii bus stop. It will take about 15 minutes to reach, and costs 200 yen. From there, walk for two minutes to the slope car at Saiwai Station.
Travel via slope car for about 20 minutes from Saiwai Station and get off at Kami Station. After a short walk, you will arrive at Hikosan Shrine. A round trip ticket from Saiwai to Kami Station costs 830 yen for adults, and 400 yen for children. Please note that you will need to transfer trains at Hana Station along the way.
The first slope car of the day departs at 9:10, and the last is at 16:10, with the final return slope car to Saiwai Station departing at 17:10.
There is no admission fee for Hikosan Shrine.
2. Kamado Shrine
Photo courtesy of: Kamado Shrine
This shrine is known as an en-musubi (*1) shrine. It is located at the foothills of Homanzan (Mt. Homan), which has been regarded as a sacred place. The road leading to the shrine resembles a tunnel made from autumn leaves, and the visitors can enjoy vast varieties of red. Walking over scattered fallen autumn leaves through this autumn-themed tunnel is truly an exceptional experience.
The autumn leaves are illuminated from 18:00-21:00, between early November and December (typically from November 15th-December 2nd, but this depends on the weather and conditions).
The Autumn Leaves Festival is held in late November. In 2017, this event will take place on November 25th-26th; during the event there are markets, shops selling fall festival foods, and even small concerts on the grounds. If you have the chance, please try to plan your trip to coincide with this charming festival.
*1 En-musubi: the modern definition of en-musubi is matchmaking, but it also means tying a bond between people and things, bestowing happiness and good fortune upon them.
How to Get to Kamado Shrine
Take the Mahoroba community bus from Nishitetsu Dazaifu Station to Kamado Shrine. Board the Uchiyama bound Mahoroba bus at Dazaifu Station and get off at Uchiyama, the final stop. One-way will cost 100 yen, and take about eight minutes
There is no admission fee for Kamado Shrine.
3. Akizuki Castle Ruins Area
Photo courtesy of: Asakura Tourism Association
Akizuki is also known as "the Little Kyoto of Chikuzen" (*2) and is a famous historic castle town. One of the best autumn leaves spot around the Akizuki Castle ruins is near the Akizuki Castle Gate (Kuromon).
There are about 20 maple trees in this spot, and the sight of the vivid red leaves against the stark black of the gate is stunning, and a sight that many visitors come to view every year.
*2 Chikuzen: one of the old names of Fukuoka prefecture.
How to Get to the Akizuki Castle Ruins
To reach the Akizuki Castle Ruins, you will need to take the bus from Amagi Station. Get on the Akizuki bound bus from Amagi Station, and get off at the Kyodokanmae bus stop. It will take about 20 minutes and costs 360 yen. From there, it is about a 10 minute walk to the Akizuki Castle ruins.
There is no admission fee for the Akizuki Castle ruins.
4. Shiranoe Botanical Garden
Photo courtesy of: Shiranoe Shokubutsu Park
In this garden, visitors can enjoy the red and yellow leaves of the 800 trees, which are mostly maple, between late November and early December. The entrance garden, the promenade illuminated by the sunlight through the tree leaves, and the area filled with the fallen leaves are especially beautiful.
Every year, 100 flowerpots of chrysanthemums are displayed between October 24 and November 15. Also, the Autumn Leaves Festival is held during the 21st and 23rd of November (depending on the trees), complete with outdoor concerts and Japanese tea ceremonies. A 300 yen fee is required for the tea ceremony, where participants can experience the atmosphere and savor some sweets.
How to Get to Shiranoe Botanical Garden
Take the bus from the front of JR Mojiko Station to Shiranoe Botanical Garden, and get off at Shiranoe Ni-chome (2 chome) bus stop. It will take about 20 minutes and cost 290 yen. Follow the sign on the telephone poles and you will arrive at the garden entrance in two minutes.
Shiranoe Botanical Garden is open from 9:00-17:00 (entry permitted until 16:30). Admission costs 200 yen per adult, and 100 yen for junior high and high school students.
5. Raizan Sennyoji Daihioin
Photo courtesy of: Raizan Sennyoji Daihioin
This is a famous spot, with a 400 year old maple tree which is designated as a natural monument, and 200 other maple trees. Visitors can also enjoy the view of another natural monument, a white sandalwood tree located in the inner garden called Shinji Teien, along with the autumn leaves.
In November, visitors can enjoy the autumn leaves for 100 yen. With the 400 yen admission fee, they can enter the temple and appreciate the wooden statue of the Eleven Faced Kannon (Buddhist deity of mercy), which is designated an important cultural asset by the Japanese government. A priest will also provide further information on the statue, so please give it a try if you are interested.
How to Get to Raizan Sennyoji Daihioin
Take the Raizan Sennyoji Daihioin bound Itsoshima Community bus from JR Maehara Station, and get off at the last stop at Raizan Sennyoji Daihioin.It will take about 30 minutes and costs 200 yen for adults and 100 yen for children.
From the bus stop, it is a five minute walk to Raizan Sennyoji Daihioin, which is open from 9:00-16:30 daily.
The Fukuoka area is full of other stunning, little-known sightseeing spots, so by all means, make the most of your journey to Kyushu and savor the fall colors alongside the history of the area.
** This article was originally published in August 2015, and was rewritten and updated for 2017. All information is accurate as of August 2017.
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