In autumn, the hills of Okunikko transform into beautiful fall colors. One of the best ways to experience the striking scenery is to rent a bicycle and pedal through the less-traveled side of Okunikko. Ride at your own pace and enjoy the red and yellow hues reflected in Lake Sainoko and Lake Chuzenji. The foliage along this roughly 4.5-hour route is at its peak in early to mid-October. Staying the previous night at Yumoto Onsen or on the shores of Lake Chuzenji allows you to avoid the traffic jams on Irohazaka Slope that are common during prime leaf-peeping season.
Setting off to Odashirogahara Plateau
Start your day by renting your bike at the Sanbonmatsu-Chaya Eco-Tourism Center (by the Sanbonmatsu bus stop). Before you depart, head across the road and take in the autumn scenery of the Senjogahara Plateau from the Senjogahara Observation Deck. Then hop on your bike and proceed down the road past the Akanuma Nature Information Center until you reach the road for low-emission buses. For the following stretch of the route, cyclists must stay on this road to protect the natural environment, being sure to yield to the occasional passing bus. Follow this road until you reach Odashirogahara Plateau. In autumn, the grasses of this marshland turn shades of red, orange, and yellow, matching the surrounding area's foliage. The one lonely birch tree standing among the grass offers an interesting photo opportunity.