A beautiful view of autumn leaves may be seen from late October to early November in Takanose Valley near Naga in Tokushima Prefecture.
This sight became famous in 1980, when it received the most votes in a poll for the 100 (Best) Tourist Spots in Tokushima. The poll was part of the commemoration of the prefecture’s 100th anniversary.
'Kouyou-no-nishiki' (a tapestry of autumn leaves) became the specialty of this region, along with the Kitou cedar and the Kitou yuzu.
The autumn leaves cover the sharply-sloping sides of the valley, which was formed by the headstreams of the Nakagawa River. This magnificent view stuns all those who see it. The turning maple leaves are especially beautiful, making the valley the best-loved scenic spot in Shikoku.
In other seasons, too, Takanose Valley is attractive for the tender green leaves of spring, the deep green leaves of summer, and the snow-covered landscapes of winter. This makes the area appealing to tourists all year round.
Mt Horaiji, located in Shinshiro, Aichi Prefecture, was formed by lava 20 to 15 million years ago. The mountain consists of dacite, pitchstone and so on.
Mt Horaiji is located on the southern edge of dormant volcanos in Okumikawa. Horaiji Temple and Toshogu Shrine stand as venerated sites on the slopes of the mountain. Moreover, religious relics such as an old mirror have been found here.
The main building of Horaiji was burnt many times and in Showa 49, the present building was completed. Toshogu Shrine is associated with the Tokugawa family and the third general, Iemitsu, built it for his father, Ieyasu. You have to climb 1425 stone steps to visit the shrine.
For each of the four seasons, Mt Horaiji has a highlight. It is famous as a good place to enjoy the red leaves of autumn and, in November, a Maple Festival is held here to which many people come.
Yujaku Park is named after the ricefields (yujaku-den) owned by Shiga Yoshisato, the 8th son of Otomo Yoshinao, along with a mansion he owned as lord of the manor in 1240.
The land was given to Nakagawa Heiemon, the elder of the Oka Clan in 1664 from the Oka Clan leader, Nakagawa Kiyohisa. It provided an important stop along the route known as Sankin Kotai Michi that daimyo took between their domains and Edo. It was located closest to Okajo Castle.
Heiemon proceeded to build a mansion, plant maples and pines, make two ponds (Shinji-ike and Tanji-ike) and turn the land into a place not only as a rest station on the Sankin Kotai Michi but as a beautiful scenic cottage spot.
Apparently even important literati, such as Rai-Sanyo and Tanomura Chikuden, visited the Oka clan guesthouses (okyaku-ya) and held garden parties.
Today, a maple-viewing festival is held in November, and the park is renowned as one of the best places in Okayama to see autumn leaves.
The Takahashi River flows through the karst landscape of Atetsu Plateau, and has carved out the V-shaped Ikura Valley. It is a beautiful and dynamic valley, designated as a Natural Monument of Okayama Prefecture.
One of the three major limestone caves of Japan, and also a designated Natural Monument of Okayama Prefecture, Ikura Cave opens on to a limestone bluff some 1,200m long and 240m high. Inside the cave, the earth's presence can be felt from the three waterfalls, made by nature over hundreds of millions of years.
The Ikura Valley has always attracted people, ever since the Takase boat went back and forth among the bizarre rocks and subtle valleys. On visiting the Ikura Valley in 1929, Akiko Yosana composed the tanka: 'The bluff gazes up into the sky with such dignity, even the maple leaves get frightened'.
Shouhouji is a Rinzaishu (Rinzai school; one of the three Japanese Zen sects) temple located in Fujiwara-cho, Inabe-shi, Mie Prefecture. The enshrined deity at the temple is the Senjyu-kannon (Kannon with a thousand hands).
The temple was opened originally as a temple of the Tendaishu (Tendai school) by a monk named Saicho in 807. Saicho was deeply impressed by the scenery of Mt Fujiwara, and proposed the idea of building a temple to the then emperor Emperor Heijyo.
The temple was originally called Ichidouji. However, in 1508 the temple was razed during Oda Nobunaga's invasion of North Ise. The temple as we see it today was restored by the Rinzaishu in 1659.
The garden at Shouhouji is representative of the Fujiwara garden-making style of the Heian period. It is both magnificent and charming, and within the inner part of the temple is the Narutani waterfall, which is cooling for visitors on hot summer days.
Momiji-matsuri, an annual festival celebrating autumn's turning leaves, has become a grand feature of the temple. Visitors are drawn to the bewitching sight of the leaves lit up at night.