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Fukuoka - 8 Spots To Enjoy Fall Foliage In Northern Kyushu In 2018

Fukuoka - 8 Spots To Enjoy Fall Foliage In Northern Kyushu In 2018

Fukuoka 2018.08.08

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?

Translated by Lester Somera

Written by MATCHA

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Located in northern Kyushu, Fukuoka is famous for beautiful nature, friendly people and a variety of delicious cuisine.

If you plan on visiting Fukuoka in autumn, you must go observe the fall foliage. In this article, we introduce eight places you definitely must see in Fukuoka in the fall.

Fukuoka’s fall foliage season generally runs from early November to late November (it can last up to early December, depending on location). Be aware that the season may vary slightly depending on the yearly climate and location of foliage.

1. Maizuru Park - Easy to Access from Hakata

Fukuoka

Picture courtesy of Fukuoka City

Maizuru Park is centered around the ruins of Fukuoka Castle. Built in the Edo era, Fukuoka Castle still retains its stone walls and yagura (*1) towers, reminding visitors of its long history. The castle is open to the public as a park area and is a place where residents relax and refresh themselves.

Though the castle is famous for its cherry trees, in autumn the gingko trees change color, turning the area into a great spot for viewing the leaves.

Fukuoka

Picture courtesy of Fukuoka City

In the neighboring Ohori Park, you can also see fall foliage in the Japanese garden. Easily accessible from the central area of Hakata via a ten-minute subway ride, visitors can readily drop by as they please.

*1: Yagura towers are command centers and watchposts that were built atop castles.

Annual Autumn Leaves Season

Early November to late November

Maizuru Park

Address: Fukuoka, Fukuoka, Chuo, Jonai 1 Google Maps
Access: Eight minutes on foot from either Akasaka Station or Ohorikoen Station on the subway
Homepage: Maizuru (Japanese)

2. Yusentei Park, A Spectacular Harmony Of Japanese Gardens

Fukuoka

Picture courtesy of Fukuoka City

Yusentei Park is a Japanese garden open to the public, formerly a villa owned by the lord who ruled this domain (*2). The park is filled with all the charms of a Japanese garden, including a large pond, a teahouse, and a cascading waterfall.

*2: These domains were conquered by daimyo in Edo times, and the lords of these domains were known as hanshu.

Fukuoka

Picture courtesy of Fukuoka City

The view from inside great hall that faces out onto the pond is stunning. The leaves are reflected in the water, making you feel as though you’re being beckoned into another world.

Annual Autumn Leaves Season

Mid-November to mid-December

Yusentei Park

Address: Fukuoka, Jonan, Yusentei 1-46 Google Maps
Access: From Hakata Station (Hakata BT 1F), take the Nishitetsu #12 bus to Yusentei (45 minutes, 310 yen) and walk five minutes
Homepage: Yusentei (Japanese)

3. Greet a 400-Year-Old Maple Tree at Raizan Sennyoji Daihioin

Sennyoji

Picture courtesy of Raizan Sennyoji Daihioin

Designated as a natural monument, Raizan Sennyoji Daihioin is a very well-known fall foliage spot with a giant maple tree that is four centuries old and more than 200 Japanese maple trees.

Located behind Raizan Sennyoji Daihioin, Shinji Park has fragrant sandalwood trees, natural monuments, and fall foliage for visitors to enjoy.

Between November 1 and November 30 you can enter for just 100 yen to see the leaves. Pay 400 yen for entry into the main shrine, where you can see Buddhist figures that are designated as Important Cultural Properties of Japan.

Annual Autumn Leaves Season

Early November to mid-November

Raizan Sennyoji Daihioin

Address: Fukuoka, Itoshima, Raizan 626 Google Maps
Access: From JR Chikuzen-Maebaru Station’s south exit, take the Itoshima Community Bus bound for Raizan Kan-on Mae and get off at the last stop, Raizan Kan-on Mae (about 20 minutes, 200 yen). Walk five more minutes.

4. Akizuki Castle, a Castle Town in the Mountains

Around Akizuki Castle

Picture courtesy of Asakura Tourism Association

Akizuki, or Chikuzen (*3), is famous for its historic castle town. It is also referred to as Little Kyoto. Akizuki is at an elevation of 860 meters and is located in a basin surrounded by mountains on three sides. The castle itself no longer exists, but the stone walls, gates, and other features remain intact.

Among those, the Akizuki Castle black gate is famous as a spot for viewing the fall foliage. The contrast between the scarlet leaves and black gate is very beautiful, and many spectators gather to see the sight.

*3: Chikuzen is an old name for the Fukuoka area.

Annual Autumn Leaves Season

Late November to early December

Akizuki Castle (Black Gate)

Address: Fukuoka, Asakura, Akizukinotori 663 Google Maps
Access: From Amagi Station on the Amagi Railway, take the Amagi Sightseeing Bus to Hakubutsukan-mae stop (20 minutes, 360 yen). The Black Gate is ten minutes away from the bus stop on foot.
Homepage: Akizuki Castle (Japanese)

5. Find a Connection at the Kamado Shrine

Kamado Shrine

Picture courtesy of Kamado Shrine

Kamado Shrine is at the foot of Mt. Homan, a mountain venerated as a home of gods. The shrine is known for attracting visitors wanting to deepen and improve their relationships, During the fall foliage season, roughly 300 trees of different species, such as gingko and maple, change colors.

Under the fall foliage tunnel, a road leading to the shrine that transforms during autumn, you can enjoy the gradation of red leaves as far as the eye can see. The beauty of the shrine road, coated by autumn leaves dancing down from the trees above is unlike anything you've ever seen before.

At night, the shrine is lit up during the peak autumn leaves season. The illumination period changes each year depending on the state of the leaves. In 2017 the lights were on from November 15 to December 3.

To arrive at Kamado Shrine, you’ll be making your way through Daizaifu Station. We suggest combining your visit to Kamado Shrine with a stop at Daizaifu Temmangu, one of Fukuoka’s most iconic representative shrines.

Annual Autumn Leaves Season

Mid-November to late November

Kamado Shrine

Address: Fukuoka, Daizaifu, Uchiyama 883 a href="https://goo.gl/maps/p6LZUK2yBxM2" target="_blank">Google Maps
Access: From the Nishitetsu Daizaifu Station, take the Mahoroba-go community bus to the final stop, Uchiyama (10 minutes, 100 yen).
Homepage: Kamado Shrine (Japanese)

6. Visit Scenic Kokura Castle in Fall

Fukuoka

Picture courtesy of Kokura Castle

Kokura Castle is a castle representative of northern Kyushu. First constructed in 1602, the current main keep (*4) was rebuilt in 1959. It has a distinct architectural style known as “karazukuri,” in which the fifth floor is bigger than the fourth. The castle is respected and a favorite of many people.

While it is well-known for its cherry trees in spring, Kokura Castle’s gingko trees also bloom beautifully in autumn.

*4: The main keep is the highest structure in a Japanese castle, acting as a symbol.

*The main keep will be closed from August 6, 2018 to March 3, 2019 to renovate the exhibits and install an elevator. While you can’t enter the castle during this time, you can still see the fall foliage.

Annual Autumn Leaves Season

Early November to late November

Kokura Castle

Address: Fukuoka, Kitakyushu, Kokurakita 2-1 Google Maps
Access: 20 minutes from JR Kokura Station on foot
Homepage: Kokura Castle (Japanese)

7. A Colorful Pilgrimage to Mt. Hiko Shrine

Mt. Hiko Shrine

Picture courtesy of Soeda Town Revitalization Department, Tourism Division

As the only sacred Shugendo (*5) site in northern Kyushu, Mt. Hiko was an object of worship. The locations where Buddhist monks historically practiced ascetics remain in-tact to this day.

When autumn rolls in, the maple trees steadily change color, starting from the summit all the way down to the base of the mountain. As you walk down the road that leads to Mt. Hiko Shrine, you can leisurely enjoy the fall foliage.

You can also ride a monorail up to the shrine, so you can fully enjoy the quintessential Japanese landscape without overexerting yourself.

*3: Shugendo is an ancient school of Japanese asceticism, whose adherents would train in the mountains in pursuit of enlightenment. Mountain ascetics are called yamabushi.

Annual Autumn Leaves Season

Early November to mid-November

Mt. Hiko Shrine

Address: Fukuoka, Tagawa, Soeda, Hikosan 1 Google Maps
Access:
From JR Soeda Station, take the Soeda Town bus to Donotori (30 minutes, 300 yen). Walk five minutes and take the monorail from Saiwai Station to Kami Station (20 minutes). After a short walk, you’ll arrive at the Mt. Hiko Shrine. A roundtrip monorail ticket is 830 yen (400 yen for children). Be aware that you have to change at Hana Station midway through.
Homepage: Mt. Hiko Shrine (Japanese)

8. Multiple Treasures of Shiranoe Botanical Park

Shiranoe Botanical Park

Picture courtesy of Shiranoe Botanical Park

At Shiranoe Botanical Park, you can enjoy different plants with the changing seasons. From late November until early December, you view see trees with their leaves turning scarlet and gold all throughout the park.

Three spots stand out for viewing the fall foliage. These spots are the entrance plaza, the komorebi road (road of sunlight glistening through the trees) containing around 800 maple trees, and the ochiba (fallen leaves) forest with giant Japanese maple trees towering above.

At the teahouse in the park, you can savor zenzai and amazake, among other seasonal Japanese treats. We hope you have a pleasant, relaxing time in this nature abundant park setting.

Annual Autumn Leaves Season

Late November to early December

Shiranoe Botanical Park

Address: Fukuoka, Kitakyushu, Moji, Shiranoe 2-7 Google Maps
Access: From JR Mojiko Station, take the Nishitetsu #41 bus to Shiranoe 2-chome (20 minutes, 290 yen). Walk two minutes.
Homepage: Shiranoe (Japanese)

Enjoy the Fall Scenery in Fukuoka

Fukuoka has plenty of wonderful spots to take in the fall foliage. If you’re visiting Fukuoka in autumn, why not take advantage of all the autumn-only sights that Fukuoka has to offer?

This is a rewrite of an article originally published on November 8th, 2015.

Autumn leaves start changing from the north, beginning in the middle of September in Tohoku. From mid-October to mid-December you can enjoy the scenery throughout the country. In this special feature, we introduce details on the fall foliage for each area in Japan, from famous spots to areas that are lesser known. With MATCHA’s articles as your guide, please enjoy Japan's gorgeous fall foliage!

Autumn Leaves Spots

Hokkaido

Tohoku

Kanto (Tokyo)

Hakone

Kyoto and Osaka

Hiroshima and Kyushu

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