Autumn is a beautiful time in Japan, the perfect time for strolling around and hiking and to see the supernatural reds and oranges of the mountains as the leaves on the trees change colour. So let’s get started; here are my 6 favourite spots to visit in Autumn in Hyogo.

1. Sea of clouds at Takeda castle

A ruin of a castle built atop a mountain(353m high)400 years ago. The stone foundations of Takeda castle are still preserved as they were 400 years ago. A rare spot to begin with.
What makes this spot even more unique is if you’re lucky enough to visit it in the early morning of a sunny late Autumn day, you will see Takeda castle floating in the sky.

Some people call it the “Machu Pichu of Japan”. From atop Takeda castle, you can see a panoramic view of a sea of clouds. From the lookout located on the mountain across from the castle, you will see the “castle in the sky”.
In order to see the majestic sea of clouds, weather conditions must align with good timing. That’s why this breath taking view cannot always be seen. Your best bet is from September to November, from dawn until 8 AM. If you stay at a Japanese traditional Inn close by (Ryokan), it will make it easier to access Takeda castle early in the morning.

Address169 Kojyoyama, Takeda, Wadayamacho, Asago City, Hyogo

2.Japanese pampas grass on Tonomine plateau

Tonomine plateau is a prefectural park and a famous shooting location for Japanese movies and dramas. Each season, the park offers different scenery but the best time to visit is in the Autumn when the plateau is covered entirely with Susuki (Japanese pampas grass).

It’s fascinating to see the silver grass under the blue sky, but at sunset the grass appears golden. Depending on the timing of your visit, you will be welcomed by different scenery.
In Autumn various events are hosted for visitors. Full moon viewing is hosted in September. The Tonomine plateau is lit up by a beautiful moon and bonfires and torch lights. In October, you can join the Susuki festival. Enjoy the relaxing view of Susuki swaying back and forth in the valley. If you show up on festival day, you can buy local souvenirs and food or take in a cultural performance.
I promise you, for an authentic Japanese experience it’s hard to beat this scenery.

Address801 Kawakami, Kanzakigun Kamikawacho, Hyogo

3.Autumn colours in Arima Onsen

Arima Onsen is one of the oldest Onsen (hot springs) in Japan.

This historical Onsen town hosts many beautiful spots for viewing the Autumn coloured leaves. It’s a great season for a walk whether it be before or after bathing in the Onsen.

Address790-3 Arima-cho, Kita-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo

Strolling around the town you will see all sorts of beautifully tinted leaves. However I recommend you visit “Zuihoji park” where a temple ruin has been transformed into a park. The park has more than 2,000 deciduous trees. In Autumn seeing all these trees change colour is breath taking.

AddressArima-cho, Kita-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo

4.Autumn colours in Engyoji on Mt.Shosha

Shoshyazan Engyoji Temple is located on top of Mt. Shosha in Himeji city.
If you use the Mt. Shosha Ropeway it takes roughly 4 minutes to reach the top. The ride in Autumn offers a view of mountains tinted in various colours. The temple has a history of more than 1000 years. The spot is also one of the famous location sites for the movie “The Last Samurai” and other famous historical Japanese films. The historical buildings and vivid colours of the trees create beautiful scenery.

Address2968 Shosha, Himeji City, Hyogo

5. 3 Maple mountains in Tamba

These 3 mountains are well known amongst those who are into Autumn maple leaves. The spots consist of Kogenji temple, Entsuji temple and Sekigan-ji temple, each located atop a mountain.
If you rent a car you can easily access all 3 temples in one day. For a relaxing day, you may be satisfied with only visiting one of them. Even after the leaves have fallen, these spots don’t disappoint. The leaves create scenery on the ground, like a red carpet or tinted stone stairs.

Address514 Aogakichohinokura, Tamba City, Hyogo
Address983 Hikamichogoyu, Tamba City, Hyogo
Address3 Sannanchoiwaya, Tamba City, Hyogo

6.Nadagogo Sake brewery tour

Nadagogo means 5 areas in the Nada ward of Kobe where Sake has been brewed traditionally for several hundred years.
In this area, there are many Sake factories and some of them will offer guided tours and Sake tasting. If you want to buy Sake to take home, this is the place. Some Sake breweries run restaurants or sell some snacks to nibble during Sake tasting. You can immerse yourself in Japanese Sake culture.
Sake from Nadagogo is at its peak of maturity and tastiness in Autumn. Please, tour the area and experience Sake tasting.

Address5-10-11 Mikagehonmachi, Higashinada-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo