3 hidden gem fall foliage spots in Tohoku area! Also introducing great-value transportation pass ♪

Written by Editorial department
22 Aug 2017
Last update :

In Tohoku area in Japan, there are multiple spots to enjoy fall foliage from late September through November. Some of the well-known are Oirase Gorge in Aomori Prefecture, Naruko-kyo Gorge in Miyagi Prefecture and Yamagata Zao in Yamagata Prefecture. However, though, destinations among Japanese who are “experts” of fall colors are places not so famous for tourists. In this article, we will tell you about 3 hidden gem fall foliage spots in Tohoku. Later in the article, we will also introduce great-value transportation pass to get to Tohoku area!

1.Tsutanuma (Towada City, Aomori Prefecture)

Located in the Oirase area, it is one of the “Tsuta Nana Numa (a series of 7 ponds)”. With virgin forest of beech trees around, the pond is in the midst of expanse dense woodland called Towada Jukai. There is a walk path, so you can stroll around comfortably.
In the morning around sunset, fall foliage around the pond looks more marvelous than any other time in a day. Fall trees looking golden shining the rising sun is a must-see sight!

Reflection of colored trees on Tsutanuma
Reflection of colored trees on Tsutanuma
Best time for fall colors
Mid-October to late-October
Address
Okuse Tsuta, Towada City, Aomori
Access from Tokyo
It takes about 3 hours from Tokyo Station to Shin-Aomori Station by Shinkansen.
At JR Shin-Aomori Station, get on a JR bus “Mizuumi”. It is about 2 hours ride to “Tsuta-onsen” bus stop. From there, it’s 10 minutes’ walk.

2.Kinshuko Lake (Waga-gun, Iwate Prefecture)

A man-made lake completed in 1966 after the construction of the Yuda Dam. It is located between JR Kitakami Line and Route 107. As its Japanese name implies, during fall, the view of colored trees looking like a beautifully woven fabric can be savored. Hiking along a trail that goes around the lake is another lovely activity.
What’s more, “Hotto-Yuda Station” near the lake is a facility with a hot spring, so why not rest yourself in an onsen if you get tired from walking around?

Vivid fall colors around Kinshuko
Vivid fall colors around Kinshuko
Best time for fall colors
Mid-October to early-November
Address
Nishi Waga-machi, Waga-gun, Iwate
Access from Tokyo
It is about 2 and half hours from Tokyo Station to Kitakami Station by Shinkansen.
From Kitakami Station on JR Kitakami Line to “Yuda Kinshuko Station”, it takes another about 40 minutes. The lake is right out of the station on foot.

3.Choroko Lake (Shichikashuku Town, Miyagi Prefecture)

At the foot of notable Mt. Fubo in Minamizaou, this is a long and narrow lake with an altitude of 500m and a perimeter of about 2km. The blue clear surface of the lake looks mystical reflecting the mountains. In fall color season, activities such as walking along the path and a boat ride can be enjoyed.
We recommended this spot because it is truly a hidden gem. Even during a peak season of fall foliage, it does not get overly crowded and you can take a nice walk embraced in the stillness.

Fall foliage at Choroko Lake
Fall foliage at Choroko Lake
Best time for fall colors
Mid-October to early-November
Address
Choro, Shichikashuku-machi, Katta-gun, Miyagi
Access from Tokyo
It takes about an hour and half from Tokyo Station to Sendai Station by Shinkansen.
About 45 minutes from Sendai Station to Shiroishi Station on JR Tohoku Honsen Line.
Get on a town bus from Shiroishi Station for about 50 minutes. Get off at “Choroko” and walk for 5 minutes.

''JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area) ''

The “JR EAST PASS (Tohoku Area)” is the best option available for people traveling from Tokyo to areas like Sendai and Aomori in the Tohoku Region. This pass grants you unlimited access to local trains and even the Shinkansen within the designated areas. The pass is valid for your choice of 5 days out of the 14-day period that begins after purchase (the 5 days do not need to be successive). If you purchase the pass outside of Japan, the validity period begins after trading in an exchange order for a pass itself. For a pass bought outside of Japan, its price is 19,000 yen for an adult and 9,500 yen for a child. On the contrary, if purchased in Japan, the price is 20,000 yen for an adult and 10,000 yen for a child. If you were to travel from Tokyo Station to Shin-Aomori Station and back by Shinkansen, the round trip would cost 34,700 yen (adult fare), making the pass a savings of around 15,000 yen for that trip alone (using normal-season adult reserved seats on Hayabusa).

[Details of the JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area)]

Period of Use
Usable year-round
Period of Validity
Any 5 days out of the 14-day period after a date of issue (flexible 5-day pass)
*Date of issue refers to a pick-up date for passes purchased outside of Japan and a date of purchase for passes purchased in Japan.
Prices
Prices outside of Japan is 19,000 yen for an adult (12 and older) and 9,500 yen for a child (6-11). Prices in Japan is 20,000 yen for an adult and 10,000 yen for a child.
Valid For
Unlimited travel within the designated areas in reserved seats on ordinary cars of limited express (including Shinkansen), express, and local trains operated by the East Japan Railway Company.
Conditions of Purchase and Use
The JR EAST PASS is available for purchase by holders of non-Japanese passports with “temporary visitor” visa status and plan to stay in Japan for no longer than 90 days.
*Passport must be presented at time of purchase for confirmation purposes.
Purchase Methods
① Within Japan: Purchase at a location where JR EAST PASS is available.
② Outside of Japan: Purchase an exchange order (e-ticket) from a travel agent or travel company or through the JR EAST website. Then, upon arrival to Japan, trade in the exchange order for your JR EAST PASS at any of the exchange locations.
URL(English)
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/eastpass_t/index.html

This short clip below will give you valuable information if you are interested in this great-value JR passes but don’t yet know how to use or purchase them.