8 Less Popular But Equally Gorgeous Places to Photograph the Fall Foliage in Asia

Fall is one of the two seasons (the other is sprind) where shutterbugs go wild as nature bursts with vibrant colors from gold to red. The cue is to go where the trees are. But not just any trees. Oaks, maples, beeches, sweetgums, yellow-poplars, dogwoods, hickories, and some of the tree varieties with leaves changing colors are the fall season approaches.

1. Sayama Lake, Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, Japan

Sayama Lake, Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, Japan

 Photo credit: Pixabay / @sayama

Sayama Lake is one of the two water reservoirs in the City of Tokorozawa in Saitama Prefecture. The other is Tama Lake. Both reservoirs areas are fenced and restricted; no fishing, boating, swimming and any other water activities is allowed. Visitors are only allowed at the dams and the adjoining rest areas. Despite this, both lakes are popular tourist destinations especially among photographers and natures lovers. Due to very limited access to these lakes, several species of rare birds are nesting in the forests surrounding the areas.

On clear days, Mount Fuji can be seen from behind the woods.

Tokorozawa can be accessed from Tokyo through Seibu-Shinjuku and Seibu-Ikebukuro lines to Tokorozawa Station. Tokorozawa is near Kawagoe so a visit to historic Little Edo is also advised.

2. Weiminghu Lake, Peking University, Beijing, China

Weiminghu Lake, Beijing University, Beijing, China

Photo credit: Pixabay / @SW1994

Peking University in Beijing is one of the largest and most prestigious universities in China. The Boya Tower overlooking Weiming Lake at the northern part of the university campus is a popular landmark and during autumn, it is a beauty to behold. The fact that it is located inside a university campus, away from the tourist crowds, makes the place more interesting. Being an academic institution, Peking University is generally restricted for outsiders but they allow a certain number of tourists per day. Visit the campus website to secure a pass.

3. Takachiho Gorge, Miyazaki, Japan

Takachiho, Gorge, Miyazaki, Japan

Photo credit: Pixabay / @oonuma

Takachiho Gorge is a triangular gorge leading to a 17 meter high Minainotaki waterfall flowing down the Gokase River. People would usually reach the waterfall either by a boat through the river or by trekking the paved paths along the edges of the gorge. The lush foliage along the trails and the dense growth around the waterfall is a visual feast during fall.

Takachiho Gorge is located at the center of Kyushu Mountains at the northwestern part of Miyazaki Prefecture.

4. Mount Naejangsan, North Jeolla, South Korea

Mount Naejangsan, North Jeolla, South Korea

Photo credit: Pixabay / @sharonang

Naejangsan National Park in Mount Naejang is one of the best, if not the best, places to appreciate the fall foliage in South Korea. The park is located near Jeong-up, a city in North Jeolla Province in the southwest region of the country. The park is accessible by train or bus, or a three to four hours drive from Seoul.

5. Gyeongju Royal Tombs - Gyeongju, South Korea

Gyeongju Royal Tombs, Gyeongju, South Korea

 Photo credit: VisualHunt / @ScottRotzoll

A bit creepy if you’ll think about it, but the Gyeongju Royal Tombs complex located within the boundaries of Gyeongju is one of the popular destination among locals in South Korea for fall foliage. These Tombs contains the remnants of the rules of the Silla Kingdom. The complex is surrounded by dense trees turning the place a visual delight when the leaves start changing colors in fall.

The Gyeongju Royal Tombs has been declared a Histori Site and is located at the Gyeongsangbuk Province at the east center of South Korea.

6. Sacred Shinkyo Bridge, Nikko Futarasan Shrine, Tochigi, Japan

Sacred Shinkyo Bridge, Nikko Futarasan Shrine, Tochigi, Japan

Photo credit: VisualHunt / @jpellgen

The Sacred Shinkyo Bridge is a bridge at the central town of Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture. The bridge connects the Futarasan Complex to the other side of the Daiya River. It was declared a National Heritage Site and has been rebuilt over and over again for centuries until it arrived to its current design in 1636.

7. Jiuzhaigou National Park, Sichuan Province, China

Jiuzhaigou National Park, Sichuan Province, China

 Photo credit: VisualHunt / @killerturnip

Jiuzhaigou National Park located in the northern part of Sichuan Province, southwestern region of China. The combined beauties of blue lakes, waterfall and the vibrant leaves of autumn makes this natural park or nearly 30,000 heactares a sight to behold. The giant pandas and golden monkeys inhabit the woods along with several other rare species or animals.

Unfortunately, Jiuzhai Valley is currently closed following an earthquake that hit the region in August 2017. However, authorities announced the possibility of reopening the national park in May 2018.

8. Ala Archa National Park, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Ala Archa National Park, Tian Shan Mountains, Kyrgyzstan

Photo credit: VisualHunt / @NotMicroButSoft

Kyrgyzstan may not be the most popular destination in Central Asia but it’s gaining popularity among mountaineers and those who seek outdoor adventures. The Ala Archa National park of the Tian Shan Mountains draws adventurers from hikers, to horse trekkers, and mountain climbers due to its alpine peaks and thick forest that transforms with vibrant colors of auburn during fall.

Noel Cabacungan was born and raised in the Philippines but is currently working in Saudi Arabia. He suspects the universe often conspires to put him in the unfriendliest of places and believes assimilation is the only way to survive. This belief made him capable of seeing the beauty beyond the most dreary locations. His favourite form of entertainment involves observing people do crazy things in the most mundane situations. Read more about his exploits on his blog, Ten Thousand Strangers, or follow his stormtrooper alter-ego on Instagram @troopertravelsph

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