The hot summer is beginning to wane as cool breezes blow through the valleys of Nagano. Soon, autumn will be upon us as vivid crimson and yellow leaves cascade down the mountains to Nagano’s many sightseeing spots.
Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of the year in Nagano. Visitors from around the country flock to Nagano’s highlands and mountainous areas for Momiji-gari, or autumn leaf-viewing. The many ropeways around the prefecture make it easy to see golden alpine scenery or hike around the Japanese Alps.
And who could forget the bounty of harvest season? Fresh apples and grapes are ready for the picking in idyllic orchards; fields of mature buckwheat become delicious, aromatic soba noodles; and chestnuts are baked into tantalizing desserts.
See some of our favorite scenic spots and places to go fruit-picking below!
Best Places to see Autumn Colors in Nagano
From September through November, autumn colors slowly spread from the mountain tops to the valley and head south. Below are some of Nagano’s best places to see autumn scenery. You can also check our Fall Colors Watch page for up-to-date reports.
Early September to Early November
The steep slopes of the Senjojiki Cirque were carved by glaciers some 20,000 years ago. During autumn, the cirque becomes a colorful tapestry interwoven with the red leaves of the mountain ash trees.
Late September to Early October
Located at the top of Ryuoo Ski Park’s ropeway lift is the 1,770m-high SORA terrace. It has stunning views of the surrounding mountains as well as unkai, a sea of clouds that appears below.
Late September to Late October
From the top of Hakuba Happo One, you can see beautiful views of the Hakuba Sanzan mountains and their autumn colors. 90 min. on foot from the lift is Happo Pond, one of the area’s most scenic spots.
Early to Mid-October
Mid October to Late October
Located about 1,200 meters high, Togakushi’s highlands are covered in pristine forest that were once home to ascetic monks and ninja. Togakushi’s most popular sights include Kagami Pond and the Okusha Shrine.
Late October to Early November
Nezama no Toko, outside of the town of Agematsu in Kiso, is a group of strange rock formations along the Kiso River—a perfect place to take a nap or relax. Enjoy the sounds of the flowing river along with the beautiful colors of autumn.
Late October to Early November
This natural forest in Kiso is the birthplace of Shinrin-yoku, or forest-bathing in English. There are many trekking paths and a working railroad in the park that makes for great photos.
Late October to Mid November
Komoro Kaikoen is home to the remains of Komoro Castle. The keep no longer exists, but its maze-like stone walls still stand covered in moss. It is well-known for its cherry blossoms and autumn leaves as well.
Mid November to Late November
Carved by the flow of the Tenryu River, the Tenryu Gorge features picturesque cliffs and beautiful autumn colors in November. Visitors can enjoy the view by pleasure boat.
Where to Pick Apples and Grapes in Nagano
Did you know? Nagano is the second largest producer of both apples and grapes in Japan! The countryside is full of farmland and orchards where you can pick and eat your own fruit. Grapes are ripe from August to mid-October. Apples can be picked from August to mid/late November.
See More about Fruit-Picking in Nagano
Outdoor Activities for the Whole Family in Northern Nagano (Apple-Picking at NTA Farm)
Picking Grapes in early Autumn (Sorimachi Noen)
Experiencing the Japanese Countryside in Chikuma (Crown Farm)
Nagano Fruit-Picking Orchards PDF
Below are some of Go! Nagano’s recommended orchards for picking grapes and apples:
Shiozaki Noen & NTA Farm
(Iiyama City, Northern Nagano)
Located just 7 minutes from Iiyama Station, Shiozaki Noen and NTA Farm offer grape and apple-picking during the autumn season. Both grape and apple-picking are all-you-can-eat (with no time limit!). For the former, you also receive a bunch of grapes to take home. For apple-picking, English-speaking guides help explain the apple-growing process, as well as aspects of daily life around the area and its sightseeing spots.
8:30 to 16:30 (Apple-picking until 16:00)
Grape Picking (All-You-Can-Eat + One Bunch): 1,500 Yen
Apple Picking (All-You-Can-Eat): 1,200 Yen
Yamanouchi Area Farms
(Yamanouchi Town, Northern Nagano)
Yamanouchi, famous for its wonderful hot springs and the snow monkeys that soak in them, also has plentiful orchards where you can enjoy fruit-picking. Inquire about fruit-picking in Yamanouchi on their English website.
Grape Picking (All-You-Can-Eat + Gift): 1,500 Yen
Apple Picking (All-You-Can-Eat for 30 min. + Five Apples): 1,500 Yen
(Nakano City, Northern Nagano)
Located near the Shinshu Nakano IC of the Joshin’etsu Expressway, this orchard is perfect for those traveling by car. It has a large souvenir shop with all kinds of fruit and fruit products like jam and cookies. You can pick apples or grapes in the orchards behind the shop.
8:00 to 17:30
Grape Picking (All-You-Can-Eat for 30 min.): 1,000 Yen
Grape Picking (Pay Per Bunch): 500 Yen ea.
Apple Picking (All-You-Can-Eat): 440-490 Yen
(Chikuma City, Northern Nagano)
The owners of this farm near Togura Kamiyamada Onsen have been abroad and can speak English. They’re happy to introduce their orchards to guests. You can see more details of Crown Farm on the Unique Nagano website.
8:00 to 17:00
Apple Picking (All-You-Can-Eat + Six Apples): 1,300 Yen
(Suzaka City, Northern Nagano)
This orchard in Suzaka City sits along the Fruits Line, 15 min. on foot from Kita-Suzaka Station. You can pick you own grapes or apples here and pay by the bunch (no all-you-can-eat plans).
8:30 to 17:00
Varies by bunch
(Shiojiri City, Central Nagano)
Shiojiri City is well known for its grapes and wineries. Hara Noen is a 15 min. walk or 6 min. taxi ride from Shiojiri Station and has many delicious varieties of grapes and apples to choose from. All of their fruit-picking plans are all-you-can-eat. For more varieties, you can upgrade your plan for a few hundred yen.
9:00 to 18:00
Grape Picking (All-You-Can-Eat*): 500 Yen
Grape Picking (All-You-Can-Eat* + Kyoho variety):1,000 Yen
Apple Picking (All-You-Can-Eat*): 500 Yen
*For two or more varieties, add 300 Yen
(Shiojiri City, Central Nagano)
Similarly to Hara Noen, Fumondi Orchard is a 15 min. walk from Shiojiri Station. They have over 16 varieties of grapes to try, including some of Nagano’s most popular varieties such as Shine Muscat and Nagano Purple.
9:30 to Sunset
Grape Picking (All-You-Can-Eat of Two Varieties): 1,080 Yen
Grape Picking (All-You-Can-Eat of 5 Varieties + one bunch of Shine Muscat): 3,260 Yen
(Ina City, Southern Nagano)
Miharashi Farm is an agricultural park with year-round activities for the family. In addition to its grape and apple-picking, it also has restaurants, hot springs, cooking lessons and workshops. See the Miharashi Farm page on our website for more details.
9:00 to 19:00
Grape Picking (All-You-Can-Eat for 60 min.): 1,200 Yen
Apple Picking (All-You-Can-Eat for 60 min.): 600 Yen