Enjoy autumn foliage, Sado style: driving, hiking and events!
If you are planning a trip in autumn, you cannot forget about autumn foliage. Sado offers a variety of ways you can enjoy the beauty of autumn leaves.
Osado Skyline, passing through mountains of over 1,000 metres, is a popular driving route for taking in displays of colour. Along about a 30-kilometer route, Japanese rowan trees and maples colour up beautifully, and you can enjoy a panorama of the island from the viewing deck at the Exchange Centre Hakuundai (closed for winter from mid-November).
Walkers must visit Mt. Donden, a famous spot for wild plants, to admire the autumn colour. The surrounding areas, around Donden Sanso Lodge and the Donden Highlands, are perfect for viewing autumn glories. A walk while collecting beautifully coloured fallen leaves would be fun!
The best time to enjoy the blaze of colours depends on the year, but is usually around mid-October in the areas close to the summit, and from late October to early November on the sides and skirt.
One of the top spots to view autumn leaves is Momijiyama Park, where you can take in the blazing leaf displays across Mt. Ogamiyama and Mt. Megamiyama. The park has been selected as one of the best 100 things that Sado has to offer. There are many spots to view the glow of red and golden yellow such as Kagamiike Pond and a viewing deck within the park, which is maintained by local volunteers. Momijiyama Festival is held annually on the last Sunday in October, featuring enjoyable events such as an Okesa Persimmon peeling contest and matsutake mashroom hunting in the autumnal forest.
There are, also, many temples and shrines where you can witness stunning autumnal colours, namely Myosenji Temple, Seisuiji Temple, and Keikuji Temple, among others.
Osado Skyline with a dramatic backdrop of autumn colour
Momijiyama Park is Sado's one of the top spots to witness leaves in their autumn glory.
Related spots can be found below.
Sansuke and Okiku, who are reputed to started rice cultivation in Sado, are enshrined at the two peaks of Mt. Ogamiyama and Mt. Megumiyama in the m...
Osado Skyline is approximately 30km-long route for a scenic drive between Kanai and Aikawa. The highest point is above 900m, and you can look over ...
Mount Donden, officially named Mt Tadaramine, is the whole highland area including three mountains above 900m. As the nickname,originated from the ...
Exchange Centre Hakuundai
Hakuundai is a lodge-style building standing at about 850 metres above sea level. The viewing terrace offers a stunning panoramic view across Sado,...
Tamemori Endo (Abutsubo Nittoku Shonin) served Nichiren upon being exiled to Sado and became an avid believer of the Hokke mantra. Together with hi...
Under Emperor Kanmu's ordinance, Seisuiji Temple was founded in 808 by Ken'o Hoshi, a Buddhist monk who came from Kyoto on a missionary tour. There...
Not just the colour, come enjoy more of Sado's autumnal beauty.
In October, which is a festive season in Sado, many traditional community festivals, such as those featuring Ondeko (Deity mask dance), take place all over the island. Large banners are set up at shrines, and the sound of taiko drums and tunes of bamboo flutes can be heard within the villages. Teams of Ondeko travel from house to house, where people prepare newly cultivated rice as part of an autumn feast for the team, to thank them for their dancing and drumming.
Compared to the spring festivals, autumn festivals have a somewhat laid-back atmosphere, perhaps because they are held after the harvest. Under the autumn sky, you can sense the coldness of the sea breeze. Once the festivals are over, winter will start creeping in.
Toki (Japanese crested ibises) fly down to the paddies in the Kuninaka area, seeking food. Pairs of toki form flocks in autumn, and that makes spotting them with the naked eye comparatively easier. The birds exchange their grey-black breeding season feathers for white ones, which enhance the beauty of their peach/salmon-pink feathers.
Please be aware of the Rules for Coexisting with Toki when observing.
The sound of Ondeko drumming echoes in the autumn sky.
Easy-to-spot-toki in post-harvest rice paddies