By popular demand, we present to you our recommended spots for flowers and foliage in Kyushu! For those looking to fill your trip with beautiful seasonal sceneries, this is it!
Akizuki Castle was constructed at the foot of Mt. Koshosan in 1203 by Harada Taneo as he claimed the surname Akizuki. It was then dismantled during the Sengoku civil war era, only to be rebuilt in 1623 by Kuroda Nagaoki, the third son of Fukuoka domain-lord Kuroda Nagamasa.
What remains at the site are the black gate, which is designated as an Important Cultural Property of the prefecture. The foliage near and around this gate is a sight to behold, creating a great contrast between the black of the gate and the red and the yellow of the Japanese maple foliage. The best season is between the middle of November to early December.
Kunenan is the former villa of Saga business tycoon Yataro Itami. Built with a large garden, the vacation home took nine years to construct from 1892. The site then was designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan in 1995.
The premises will be open to the public during spring and autumn foliage season. It provides a beautiful, traditional Japanese scenery - with Mount Unzen in the back drop, it gets painted the deep colors of the maple leaves and the rich green of the moss throughout the garden.
Public access for fall season is for only 9 days in mid November.
Said to be one of the three best views in all of Japan, Yabakei was designated by the government in 1923 as an Important Cultural Property. Subsequently, it was registered as Yaba-Hita-Hikosan Quasi-National Park in 1950 and continues to draw many visitors all throughout the year.
Yabakei Gorge here along the Yamakuni River stretches 36km east to west and 32km north to south. You'll find rocky peaks all around here. At sunrise and sunset, these rocks get lit up beautifully through the Japanese maple leaves - especially during autumn foliage, the entire scene is painted in bright red. Best viewing season is from late October to late November.
Mount Unzen is made up of five overlapping ridges; the highest peaks being Fugen-dake at 1,359m/4,459 ft and Heisei-shinzan at 1,486m/4,875 ft.
The mountains turn fully into the foliage colors as over 120 types of trees and plants start to fade. There are acer, Japanese maple, Japanese rowan, dogwood, and enkianthus cernuus trees just to name a few. Recommended spot for foliage viewing is Myokendake looking over Kijindani. The view from the ropeway is also worth checking out. Between late October to early November is the best viewing season.
Mifuneyama Rakuen is a traditional Japanese garden with a path looping around a pond. Utilizing the natural scenery from the nearby Mt. Mifune measuring at 210m, the massive garden was constructed in 1845 by the 28th Takeo domain lord, Nabeshima Shigeyoshi. The 50ha/122acre facility took total of 3 years to complete.
On the premises, you'll find some 500 trees of Japanese maple, acer palmatun, painted maple, and others. The foliage reflecting on the surface of the pond is a highly recommended scenery. The prime viewing season is between early November to early December.
Todoroki Keiryu is the gorge of 996m Mt. Taradake with 30 waterfalls of various sizes. It was registered by the Ministry of the Environment in 1985 as one of the 100 Exquisite and Well-Conserved Waters of Japan.
Equipped with a suspension bridge and paved walk ways, it is a suitable location for enjoying a great view of autumn foliage. Especially with waterfalls in the background, it is a spectacular scenery when the deep red and yellow colors of the leaves reflect off of the surface of the creek. Recommended viewing season is between mid to late November.
Kyusui Gorge is a Y-junction valley where the Chitose River and the Naruko River merge. The sheer cliff continues for about 2km from here. It winds so sharply like a hairpin turn that it is also known as "the 13 chambers."
There are some unique trees non-indigenous to Kyushu here such as horse chestnut, acer mono, and keyaki zelkova trees mixed in with more indigenous Japanese maple, acer, Japanese hemlock, and Japanese Judas trees. The view from here looking down from the peak of the valley is nothing short of breathtaking. The best viewing season is between late October to early November.
Takachiho Gorge had formed as a result of Mt. Aso erupting. The lava flow made its way down the Gokase River and formed this V-shaped valley.
It is truly a beautiful sight witnessing the contrast between the clear water running through the steep valley and the vivid colors of foliage. The area is home to various tree types such as Japanese maple, acer, keyaki zelkova, Japanese oak, Japanese clover, wax, maidenhair, and sawtooth oak. The colors start to turn in early November as the prime foliage season comes up between mid to late November.
Kikuchi Gorge is found northwest of the Aso outer crater, 500m to 800m above sea level. The gorge is in a broadleaf forest zone filled with abundance of nature. It is registered under several notable scenery lists: the Top 100 Forests of Japan, the Top 100 Exquisite and Well-Conserved Waters of Japan, and Japan's Top 100 Waterfalls, just to name a few.
Acer, Japanese maple, keyaki zelkova, and Chinese tallow trees turn bright red and yellow as the season turns throughout Momijigase and Hirogawara regions. It is truly a colorful sight walking through the trails of this expansive, 1,000ha/2,500acre gorge during this season. Recommended between early to mid November.
Soginotaki (or Sogi Falls) Park is situated upstream of the Sendai River. The Sogi Falls measuring at 210m by 12m is nicknamed the "Niagara Falls of Asia" for its resembling appearance.
The water falls and smashes against sharp-edged rocks of this region as it creates erratic currents and loud noises. Acer and maidenhair foliage is prime around late November. Soginotaki Park Momiji Festival is also held here during this season.
Kirishima Skyline is a driving route on Prefectural Road 1 between Kirishima Onsen to Ebino Plateau. It is a beautiful, nature-filled route with an observation deck along the way.
Acer is the tree of Kirishima City; it spreads all over the Kirishima mountain group. It is a treat strolling through the mountains of Kirishima as you capture the highest Mt. Karakuni measuring at 1,700m and Mount Takachiho-no-mine measuring at 1,574m above sea level. The foliage begins here around mid October and peaks between mid to late November.
At 1,200m above sea level, Ebino Plateau is located in the northern Mount Kirishima. Its name derives from when the pampas grass in the region turns into shrimp-like, or "Ebi," colors in fall.
Autumn foliage turns the colors of nearby nature as well, including ivy, Japanese oak, Japanese rowan, and acer. The panoramic view from the Shiratoriyama north observation deck and/or Niko observation deck is simply one of the best. It also gives a very mystic scene as the reflection of the leaves expands throughout the surface of the Pond Rokkannonmiike. Recommended foliage viewing season is between late October to early November.