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【Press Release】Fall Foliage near Kinosaki Onsen

Autumn means fall foliage, and Kinosaki Onsen’s surrounding areas are far from lacking in these kinds of vibrant landscapes!

The countryside town of Tanto is home to Ankokuji, a beautiful temple backed by brilliant red leaves in the fall, is a Zen Buddhist temple with a known history dating back as far as 1345. It is part of the Haitoku-ji branch of the Rinzai School, which is one of the three Zen sects of Buddhism in Japan. The temple burned down in a large accidental fire in 1717, but was later rebuilt to the current building seen today. Ankokuji Temple is most famous for the 100-year-old Dodan-Tsutsuji (Enkianthus perultas) trees that were planted in the back of the temple when the temple’s main hall was reconstructed in 1904.

In autumn, usually the middle of November, these trees become a vibrant red, making the view from the main temple look like a living painting. It is truly a one-of-a-kind sight that you do not want to miss. Visitors can take turns posing in front of the tree and taking pictures. It is best to arrive before the sun starts to set. This temple is best reached by car, which you can rent here.

Izushi is a castle town that is popular for its nostalgic atmosphere of old Japan. Here shops, homes, and other buildings retain their original charm as well as community and rural life. One great example of this are the torii gates that lead up to Izushi’s castle ruins. These torii gates line the steps leading up to the castle ruins and Arikoyama Shrine, creating a tunnel effect similar to Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Taisha. This is why Izushi is known as the Little Kyoto of Tajima (northern Hyogo Prefecture). These torii gates resemble Fushimi Inari Taisha but come without the crowds!

Autumn is one of the best times to visit because the fall foliage brings out the brilliant vermilion of the torii gates. The foliage comes from dozens of momiji, Japanese maple trees, that grow amongst the 37 torii gates. The sight is a beautiful reminder of the changing of seasons.

Izushi can be accessed by bus from Toyooka Station. From Kinosaki Onsen Station, take the train about 15 minutes to Toyooka Station before switching to a bus headed for Izushi.

Fall Foliage near Kinosaki Onsen (PDF Version)