Hangetsu Lake Autumn 3

10 Best Spots to View Autumn Leaves In & Around Niseko

Sep 08, 2022

The air is getting cooler, the farmers are starting to harvest their crops, the lush green colours are fading away and will soon to be taken over by the autumn colours of yellow, red, and golden brown.

If you are planning your trip to Niseko this autumn, late September until end of October is the peak time to view the autumn foliage in this area. Unlike the famous “Koyo” spots in other regions in Japan, the autumn viewing spots in Niseko are far from the buzz of tourists’ crowd, allow you to truly enjoy the glorious nature and the vibrant colours of autumn.

Here are 10 best spots in and around Niseko you should check out when you are here.

1. Hangetsu Lake

  • What to see & do: Hangetsu lake or so-called Half-moon Lake, the name after its crescent shape. The lake is surrounded by a park that packed with trees. An easy walking path loop around the lake allows the visitors to explore a whole area. Walking in the park on a sunny autumn day under the tall trees with yellow and red leaves above your head and the brown leaves on the ground beneath your feet will make you feel like walking in a “Koyo” tunnel which will bring you a very special autumn experience unlike the other places. The reflection of the colourful trees on the lake is also a favorite scene among tourists and locals. The lake located less than 10 minutes by car from Hirafu, a place worth visiting when you are in town.
  • Access difficulty: Easy walk around the lake with a short walk on steeper part to get into the lake.
  • View location on Google Map: Click HERE.

2. Niseko Panorama Line

  • What to see & do: The most popular scenic route in the area, famous for the mind-blowing scenery with great mix of autumn colours along the curvy road. You will be indulged in the spectacular views of the valley, the iconic Mt. Yotei, Mt. Annupuri, Mt. Iwaonupuri, Mt. Nitori, Mt. Chisenupuri and many more peaks on the Niseko-Annupuri range. If you start from Hirafu on route 343 heading towards Niseko Village, keep continue until you find T-junction, take the right turn then you will merge into Route 66 and keep continue until reaching Niseko Panorama Line. The autumn foliage views will be more stunning when approaching the higher on the mountains. You can explore the scenic route by just driving, cycling or you could also make a few stops for some hikes to the natural marshes or soak in the rich natural hot spring water at Yukichichibu Onsen. Keep on driving to Iwani town is also a good choice, especially if you feel like fresh plate of sushi or seafood rice bowl, there are many local restaurant options with reasonable prices.
  • Access difficulty: Enjoyable and easy drive. Niseko Panorama Line is closed in winter.
  • View route on Google Map: Click HERE.

3. Shinsen-numa

  • What to see & do: It has been said that Shinsen-numa is the most beautiful marsh in the area. Late-September to mid-October is the season many visitors love to come to see its picturesque landscape. During this peak season, the ground will be covered with grass that turns into golden brown, range of yellow leaf trees as a background. Dots of autumn colours on the green mountains from a far and the reflection of the sky on the water that scattered across the wetland. This is great place for all ages who love to explore the nature.
  • Access difficulty: Convenient boardwalk trails.
  • View location on Google Map: Click HERE.

Photo credit: Good Day Hokkaido and NAC.

4. Niseko Oyunuma Pond

  • What to see & do: Located deep in the mountain at about 560 metres above sea level, Oyunuma Pond is a hot spring bog known for its sulfur water and mineral mud that people believe it heal and moisturize the skin. When autumn arrives, the fiery fall foliage will light up the hills and the mountains behind the steamy pond creating a unique autumn scene. The pond is the source of Yukichichibu Onsen which will be another perfect spot to view the autumn leaves while enjoying the hot spring bath in the cool refreshing autumn air.
  • Access difficulty: The pond is accessible by car, parking is also available. You won’t be able to walk in a loop around the pond, but you can take a very short walk to view the pond closer. Yukichichibu Onsen is just right next to the pond.
  • View location on Google Map: Click HERE.

5. Mt. Annupuri

  • What to see & do: If you are up for a hike and want to immerse yourself in the nature to feel a true autumn, Mt. Annupuri will be a great choice. Started off at a trailhead near Goshiki Onsen, it will take you around 1 and a half hour to hike up to the peak which is 1,308 meters above sea level. The hike will bring you closer to the nature, allows you to soak in the autumn colours that are dazzling on the mountains. Once you reach the summit, the stunning view of Mt. Yotei will take your breath away. Many hikers love to start off early to get to see the sunrises from Mt. Annupuri peak, autumn is a good time as the sunrise is not too early like in summer. If hiking is not your thing, just take a drive on route 58 from Kutchan heading toward Goshiki Onsen, one of hidden scenic routes that the locals love, and get to see beautiful scene of the mountains painted with autumn-coloured trees.
  • Access difficulty: Proper hiking trail all the way to the peak, perfect for intermediate-level hikers and not too difficult for beginners. Make sure to bring enough water as there is no water source on the mountain.
  • View trailhead location on Google Map: Click HERE.
  • View hidden scenic Route 58 on Google Map: Click HERE.

6. Niseko Cho Goshiki Onsen Information Centre - Iwaonupuri Trailhead

  • What to see & do: Niseko Cho Goshikionsen Information Centre is where the visitors can get useful information about mountain hiking in the area, and it is where Iwaonupuri trail begins. At the base of Mt. Iwaonupuri near the trailhead, there is a mellow slope covered with low shrubs which their leaves will turn to glorious red during the “Koyo” season, creating the beauty of contrast with the white rocky ground. It is another good spot for photos you shouldn’t miss. From here, you can also enjoy the epic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys painted with autumn colour palette.
  • Access difficulty: Short and easy walk from the information centre to the viewing spot, there is some rocky part that can be little slippery.
  • View location on Google Map: Click HERE.

7. Kagami-numa

  • What to see & do: Kagami-numa is a marsh located in Mt. Annupuri area. Kagami is a Japanese word means mirror which very well represents the appearance of the marsh as you could see the reflections of Mt. Annupuri, sky, clouds on the crystal-clear water in the pond. You will be delighted with dramatic scene of contrast colours leaves if you are visiting the marsh in autumn. To access the marsh, you should head to Hanazono Golf Course where you can find the trailhead near the exit.
  • Access difficulty: An easy 45-minute hike, great conditions for beginners. The trail is very well maintained with mellow slopes. When you approach nearer to the marsh, you will find convenient boardwalk leading you to the marsh.
  • View location on Google Map: Click HERE.

8. Yunosatochusha Park

  • What to see & do: Still a very secret spot that is not popular among tourists, during the quiet periods on the weekdays, you could possibly have a whole place for yourself. A small-size park is full of big trees and when the autumn begins, the different shades of yellow colour will take over the whole area, creating enchanting and relaxing atmosphere. Few benches and tables are provided, make it a great spot for picnic.
  • Access difficulty: Accessible by car, parking is available. Short and easy walk around the park.
  • View location on Google Map: Click HERE.

9. Fukidashi Park

  • What to see & do: Located at the foot of Mt. Yotei, Fukidashi Park is a very popular destination that attracts many visitors all year round. Famous for its fresh and rich mineral spring water that you can take home (don’t forget to bring a bottle or you can buy one at the shop there). In autumn, the lush green colour of the trees will turn to red and yellow. Walk around the park on the wooden walkways, listen to the sound of calm streams and enjoy the beauty of the nature will bring you peace of mind.
  • Access difficulty: An easy walk around the park.
  • View location on Google Map: Click HERE.
Niseko By NISADE Fukidashi Park 2

10. Makkari Jumokuen

  • What to see & do: Another hidden spot only the locals know, Makkari Jumokuen is a quiet and peaceful park with variety of trees. What special about this place are the tall, beautiful trees that line up on both sides of the road leading inside the park. The lush green leaves on the trees will change to bright yellow, the ground will be covered with brown and yellow leaves making it a similar scene you see in some movies. This park is also a good spot to view Mt. Yotei, specially in spring when the Sakura bloom. A famous tofu shop, Wakimizu no Sato, is closed by the park, don’t miss a chance to check it out.
  • Access difficulty: An easy walk through the trees and around the park. The entrance of the park can be tricky to find, look for a big wooden sign with the name of the park ‘真狩樹木園’, you will see a small gravel road leading to the park.
  • View location on Google Map: Click HERE.

Photo credit: Shiribeshi Promotion Bureau, Makkari Town, Rakuten.

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Tel: +81 (0) 136-23-1724

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