One of the best things about Japan is the marked difference between each season. That difference means that the scenery is constantly changing and every few months you are treated to a new look to the same view. Winter has the beauty of the snow covered mountains, spring sees green gradually make a reappearance, and summer is verdant and lush. Many people choose fall/autumn as their favorite though as the changing of the colors is sensational in this region.
It is a great time to be in the mountains. Cooler temperatures make hiking a pleasure and the scenery is stunning. There are many varieties of trees covering the mountain slopes and they all change color at slightly different times in different shades of red, orange, and yellow.
The Yukiguni Kankousha Echigo Yuzawa Onsen Information Office outside the West Exit of Echigo Yuzawa Station have a special day trip tour that allows visitors to check out the best of the fall colors. It is an easy day-return trip if you are staying in Tokyo, and especially convenient if you have the JR East Rail Pass.
Arriving at Echigo-Yuzawa Station a private taxi will take you up to Naeba Dragondola Station. This is the longest gondola in Japan at a length of 5,481 meters. Jump in one of the 8 person cabins and along the way you get a close up view of the mountains and rivers you pass alongside and above, and further away mountain ranges including Tairappyo. This ride takes about 20 minutes and you exit the Dragondola at the highland plateau at Tashiro.
Take your time up here to enjoy the views and then stroll across to the Tashiro Ropeway. This will take you back down to the valley and on the way down you have amazing views again, and pass over the emerald green lake below. The taxi will be waiting to pick you up at the bottom of the ropeway and drop you back at Echigo-Yuzawa Station.
The whole tour takes about 3 hours and offers a wonderful chance to see the mountains of Japan at their most pretty. Once you get back to town, some local food and a soak in an onsen round out an amazing trip.
For more information and pricing, please send an enquiry marked “Fall Dragondola Tour” to firstname.lastname@example.org