Mt. Omoshiroyama – Wonderful Autumn Foliage Along the Yamadera Temple Trail

When Autumn has arrived in Japan, everywhere is filled with colorful autumn leaves. It will bring you to a natural dimension of life you might enjoy on your trip to Japan.

Omoshiroyama Kogen Valley

Yamadera is the most famous temple on the mountain in Yamagata prefecture, most tourists come to visit in every season but Autumn is arguably the most spectacular. Only some people know the exclusive trail that starts from Omoshiroyama Station which is a local train station near Yamadera station called Omoshiroyama-Kogen.

Downstream Trail of Omoshiroyama

If you start from Sendai Station to Yamagata Station, you have to get off the train at Omoshiroyama Station.  After crossing the bridge on the opposite side, you might go down with ground steep to the hiking downstream beside the river called "Momijigawa". It will bring you to the extremely natural path around 1.7 kilometers. Although the trail is a bit narrow and sometimes almost damp, it might challenge you to complete this way within one and half hours. 

Momijigawa

Along the way, the surrounding views look gorgeous and wonderful because there are a lots of fall foliage from maples trees on both sides of the river in the peak season of autumn. Regarding sightseeing spots, you might enjoy the diversity of beautiful nature that included several waterfalls on the rock and big stone on the blue river. You can enjoy the sound of stream water, and also the water is literally clear up to bottom of the river. Furthermore, it is a beautiful atmosphere on the way. When you stop and look around, you will find yourself being closer with amazing nature.

Colorful autumn foliage 
Waterfall on the rock
Streaming water on the Momijigawa 

In the end of this trail, you might cross the large wooden bridge and go up to the tunnel under train track. You might see the upstream beautiful surrounding view.

After completion for the natural hiking, you might walk on the road leading to Yamadera Temple around 5.8 kilometers with the huge forest on both sides. For the surrounding environment, you can see a superb view from the range of mountains covered with fall foliage. It is really beautiful. During this time, as you enjoy walking, you will pass through the huge pine forests, grass field and small Japanese villages. There are so many spots for taking wonderful photography.

The mountain was covered with fall foliage

After walking around 2-3 hours, the final destination is Yamadera which is located near Yamadera train station for 5 minutes by walking, and there are a lots of shops and restaurants near the entrance of temple. You can enjoy with Japanese food and snack or ice cream to rise your energy before going to the top of Yamadera Temple.

The top view from Yamadera

To reach to the top area of the temple, you need to hike up with 1,000 steps of stone stairs along with mountainside. It takes around 45 minutes to complete. During hiking, you can see the surrounding forest and autumn leaves along the way. Additionally, there are resting places for when you need one. 

The mountain range and valley view from Godaido hall

On the top, there is Godaido Hall which is the check point area of Yamadera Temple, you might see the best top view of the south of the Yamadera area included with long mountain range and valley at the background and foreground with small villages.  It's an impressive amount of steps to reach to the upper area, but it was definitely worth for a fantastic view on the top.

Tips:

  • Prepare your body and equipment such as hiking shoes to support your feet.
  • Check weather forecast and peak period season of autumn leaves (End of October to Middle of November). 
  • Prepare water for drinking when you walk in hiking way.
  • Recommend to start from Omoshiroyama-kogen station in the morning. If you would like to go to the top of Yamadera Temple, you should be there earlier at least 2 hours before closing time (17:00).

Getting to Omoshiroyama Kogen station:

You can take JR trian on Senzan Line 

From Sendai station: around 1 hour

From Yamgata station: 30 minutes 

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