Picture Perfect Autumn In Naruko Gorge

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The fall season is over, but if you’re going to Japan for some 紅葉 (koyo/autumn colors) at the end of this year, check out some of these breathtaking sceneries that you can experience in Naruko Gorge!

How To Get There:

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Naruko Gorge is considered to be one of the most scenic gorges in the Tohoku region. It’s about 70 kilometers from Sendai (where we were staying prior to going here), and 2 kilometers away from Naruko Onsen, a small hot spring town. You can either get down on Nakayama Daira Onsen Station (which goes towards the gorge’s western end) or Naruko Onsen Station (which goes towards the gorge’s eastern end). It took us about 80 minutes to get here from Sendai (you can check out which trains to ride here through Hyperdia) and we chose to get off Naruko Onsen Station because there’s actually more things to see around this station.

What Can You See?

During the autumn season, there are buses running towards the gorge from both stations, but unfortunately the service was already over on the day we arrived. We thought that it meant that the leaves have fallen already, but we were excited to hear from the lady in the information center that it was actually still peak (this was around November 8) and that the bus schedule only moves based on the forecast, which isn’t always 100% correct. So even if the bus isn’t running already, there’s still hope that you can catch the wondrous autumn colors of the gorge! For reference to plan your trip, we went here on November 8, 2016 and the leaves actually started falling a day or two after our visit, so it was a lucky day for us. If we went any later, we would have gone for naught.

Inside the Naruko Onsen Station, there’s a small kokeshi doll exhibit (which is free!) so you actually don’t need to go out of your way to the museum if you just want to see what they look like.

They also have a cozy library with tea where you can sit down and read books and manga while enjoying the scenery from the window.

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Step outside, and you’ll see a wooden area with a free footbath! It was getting pretty cold already so we went ahead and warmed up our toes before going to the gorge.

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We actually decided to try hiking all the way up the gorge, but after 30 minutes we just hailed a taxi because we were getting hungry. We asked the locals how long it would take to reach the viewpoint, but they said it would still be 2 hours. The road up to the gorge was very beautiful – you can see the mountains splashed with color even when you’re inside a vehicle.

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After around a 20 minute taxi ride (it cost us around Y1300), we arrived at the famous viewing spot for the gorge where you can take all those postcard-worthy shots! We were left speechless by the scene in front of us. It’s also good because there’s not many tourists, so you can definitely take your time to admire the surroundings.

It was nearing time for lunch so we headed back to the resthouse which is located beside the viewpoint. They served Japanese dishes and sweets with a wide-view glass window, so you can enjoy looking at the gorge while eating.

Once we had our fill, we walked around the area looking for more picturesque spots, and there’s really a lot! Aside from the famous Ofukazawa Bridge shot which you can take from the viewpoint, there’s also a shot of the railway which you can take if you walk across the bridge. There are also beautiful streams around the area.

After a few hours of basking in the autumn leaves, we headed back to the resthouse to call a taxi. Naruko Gorge really gave us a very memorable autumn viewing, and it’s already decided that autumn is our favorite season to travel in Japan.

Have you been to Naruko Gorge? Let us know what you think and feel free to share your experiences below! Thanks for reading!

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15 thoughts on “Picture Perfect Autumn In Naruko Gorge

  1. for some reason, i am not interested (yet) to visit japan, but thank you for this post now that it may awaken my adventurous self to maybe try to get there some time soon because the view is so picturesque. 🙂

    also, the kokeshi doll exhibit looks so cozy to begin with. and as you mentioned it was free, well… interesting! 😀 *freeloader alert lol

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    1. The whole train ride was covered by the JR Train Pass, so we just put it to good use 🙂 We only spent on the taxi ride, which only cost us around $10 per person both ways, so it wasn’t too bad!

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  2. How pretty! Times like this makes me wish the Philippines has 4 seasons instead of just 2 (hot and hotter, lol). Traveling to Japan is definitely on my bucket list, and I love it when I stumble upon posts like this–showing the other, less popular (but no less beautiful) facets of the country. Oh, and that cozy library! I may not read Kanji, but I understand the visuals of manga well enough. I’d totally love to curl up in there with that gorgeous view right outside to soothe my eyes in between reading.

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  3. Oooh, pretty!!! I’ve been to Japan a couple of times, but we’ve only been to Osaka, Nara and Kyoto. I’ve never even heard of Naruko Gorge so I absolutely enjoyed this post. We’re planning to visit Japan again, this time in autumn (for some reason we always end up going during winter) so it would be great if you could share your itinerary. Thank you for sharing this- awesome pictures!!!

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  4. I’ve never been to Naruko. And i’ve never been to any part of Japan yet. The place looks magical in photos, it makes me want to book a ticket and fly to Japan! I’ve been planning to visit this next year! Would love to go to Naruko too!

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  5. Wow, I have not heard about Naruko Gorge in Japan, and reading your post made me really think to push through my Japan travel this year or probably early quarter of 2019. I love those beautiful leaves in their stunning color, and would love to experience Autumn soon. I will definitely include this in my bucket list, thank you so much for sharing this with us.

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  6. I imagine myself in that library drinking tea and reading manga. I would, from time to time, look at the window to enjoy the scenery. I hope this will turn into reality. But as of the moment, I thank you for sharing this with us and give us a glimpse of what to expect once there.

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  7. How wonderful! I love seeing autumn colors. The gorge looks amazing in the pictures you posted. I would definitely enjoy the trip to the Naruko Gorge since many interesting things happen prior, during and after the visit. For instance, I loovee the cafe with the library. I think I would have stayed there for hours. :))

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  8. Hello, I wish you had used larger pictures to do justice to your post.
    Gorges are supposed to be breathtakingly beautiful with water roaring down the cliffs and ravines.
    Maybe you can edit these images and make your post come to life.
    Do you agree?

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  9. I would like to visit Japan one day. This looks like a beautiful place to visit. Do you know of any hiking trails in the Gorge?

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  10. Wow!! Very nice photos you have shared here 🙂 So impressive beautiful, really wish I can travel there personally to view this beautiful scenery myself. Saved your post as my future to-travel list. cheers, siennylovesdrawing

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  11. Japan is on top of my bucket list and I must agree, visiting during autumn does sound like a very good idea. Just look at those beautiful colors and breathtaking view. I’ve always loved autumn and it is unfortunate we do not have it here in our corner of the world. Hopefully, I’d be lucky enough to experience it in Japan with my boys one day soon 🙂

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