Naruko Gorge (鳴子峡) is a stunning Autumn leaves spot in Tohoku. The leaves cover the 100 metre deep gorge with stunning orange and gold colours, so this has become one of Japan’s best places to see the Autumn leaves. There are various walking paths and a train that goes through the gorge.
Budget travel tips
- Naruko Gorge is a great idea if you have a Japan Rail Pass or JR East Pass, as the train travel will be completely free.
- Most of the area can be done on foot, so bring some comfy shoes!
- Drop into the Tourist Information Center outside Naruko-Onsen station for an map, which will make getting around much easier.
Things to do
Naruko Gorge Walking Trail (FREE)
The best way to see the gorge, this is a breathtaking 2.5km walk. Exit Naruko-Onsen station, go over the track and walk left to the entrance.
Ofukazawa Walking Trail (FREE)
A quieter walk for Autumn leaves. Not as stunning as the main gorge walk, but worth a visit if you have time. It goes from Narukokyo Resthouse to Ofukazawa Bridge.
Up the road from the Tourist Information Center, this is a tiny traditional hot spring.
Price: 300 yen
Over 5 thousand traditional dolls are on display in this museum, made from the wood of maple and dogwood trees. See local maps for directions.
Price: Adults 300 yen, Children 90-160 yen
Open: 8:30-17:00 (16:00 in winter)
How to get there
From Sendai (or any Shinkansen station), take a Shinkansen to Furokawa station, then the JR Rikuu-East to Naruko-Onsen station (80 mins from Sendai).
Without a Japan Rail Pass
From Sendai station, take the JR Tohoku line to Kogota, then the JR Rikuu-East to Naruko-Onsen station (2 hours, 1660 yen).
Recommended hostels and cheap hotels
Yoshitsune Yukarinoyu Ubanoyu
Next to Naruko-Onsen station, this reasonably priced ryokan (Japanese style hotel) has a nice little hot spring and tatami rooms. Check prices at Booking.com.
A little bit away from the action, this modern ryokan will suit those driving well. Check prices at Booking.com.
More at Booking.com.