Photo/IllutrationRed and green leaves are illuminated on the evening of Oct. 21 in Kuroishi, Aomori Prefecture. (Daichi Itakura)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

AOMORI--Visitors and locals alike are flocking to prime viewing spots in this northern prefecture to take in the vibrant colors of the autumn season.

At Nakano Maple Mountain in Kuroishi, about half of the leaves on maple trees had turned red as of Oct. 21, with many illuminated under the night sky.

“They are beautiful not only during the day but also at night," said Miki Yamamoto, 39, from Odate, Akita Prefecture, who brought along her 8-year-old daughter.

There are about 20 types of maples at the site, according to the city’s tourism department. About 100 such trees were brought from Kyoto by Tsugaru Yasuchika, a feudal lord of the Hirosaki Domain, and planted in the area in 1802.

In recent years, the area has welcomed more than 100,000 visitors from within and outside the prefecture from mid-October through early November, when the leaves are looking their best.

The trees will continue to be lit up at night through Nov. 4.

SUKAYU ONSEN

In the area around Sukayu Onsen in the Hakkoda mountain range, visitors took in views tinged with the yellow of beech trees and red of “nanakamado” (Japanese rowan trees).

Near Jigokunuma pond located along National Road No. 103, called Hakkoda-Towada gold line, a 69-year-old photography enthusiast was snapping pictures from various angles using a single-lens reflex camera.

“I come here every year during the cherry blossom and autumn leaf-viewing seasons,” he said. “The yellow of the beech trees can be seen all around this pond. It’s beautiful.”

OIRASE GORGE

Oirase Gorge in Towada is also a popular spot for autumn foliage viewing, with visitors able to enjoy the red and yellow leaves as well as the flowing waters of the gorge.

The gorge runs about 14 kilometers from Nenokuchi of Lake Towadako to Yakeyama. It features the Ashura Flow, which gushes against the backdrop of colorful trees, the 20-meter-wide Choshi Falls and the Kumoi Falls, which flows in a step-like pattern from a 20-meter-high cliff.

About 1.19 million people visited Lake Towadako, Oirase Gorge and other such sites in the city in fiscal 2017, according to the city.

A man with a group of visitors from China taking pictures on their smartphones said he was amazed by the views.

A city official said leaves started turning red later than usual this year, but visitors will be able to enjoy the autumn colors until around the end of October.

(This article was written by Daichi Itakura, Ayaka Kibi and Kuratoshi Yokoyama.)