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Autumn Leaves at Night

秋のライトアップ | Autumn evening illuminations

The best autumn illuminations in Miyagi

Photo by Town of Matsushima

  • Autumn is the time of year when the rich greens of summer gives way to rich reds, oranges and golds. Sendai and Matsushima have their most vibrant colors in November. The fall leaves are beautiful in daytime, and positively otherworldly at night. Matsushima has an annual light-up event centered around the traditional maple-lined rock gardens of Entsuin Temple. Akiu Onsen has two autumn illumination events, one taking place at the expansive Tenshukaku Gardens, and the other illuminating the trees and river running through Rairaikyo Gorge. Of these autumn color destinations, Zuihoden Mausoleum, with its wonderfully atmospheric forested grounds, is the last to peak.

Roger Smith

Zuihoden Autumn Light Up・瑞鳳殿秋のライトアップ

Zuihoden, the final resting place of the first three rulers of Sendai is illuminated for just a few days each autumn. If you’re lucky, an armor-clad samurai re-enactor will be there to regale visitors with tales from Sendai’s rich history.


Dates: November 15–17 & 22–24, 2019

Hours: 17:00–19:00

Admission: Adults ¥550, high schoolers ¥400, children ages junior high to elementary ¥200

Access: 20-minute walk from Omachi Nishi-koen Station (Sendai Subway Tozai Line)




Roger Smith

Matsushima Fall Colors Light Up at Entsuin・円通院の松島紅葉ライトアップ

The gardens of Entsuin Temple are lit up nightly, accompanied by live musical performances. The music and gentle illumination create a mesmerizing, otherworldly atmosphere where visitors can revel in losing track of time. The highlight is the mirror-like reflection of the foliage on the surface of the heart-shaped pond.


Dates: October 26–November 17, 2019

Hours: 17:30–21:00 (last entry 20:45)

Admission: Adults ¥500 weekdays (¥800 weekends & holidays), children ages elementary to junior high ¥200

Access: 5-minute walk from Matsushimakaigan Station (Senseki Line)



Roger Smith

Akiu Night Museum・秋保ナイトミュージアム

This spacious Tenshukaku Gardens won a Darc lighting design award for this creative and modern illumination. The on-site footbath offers a slightly elevated perspective from which to view the garden as you soak.


Dates: October 22–November 17, 2019

Hours: 17:00–21:00

Admission: Adults & children middle school and up ¥500, Children ages 4 to junior high ¥200

Access: About 60 minutes by bus from Sendai Station, followed by a 15-minute walk. From Sendai Station West Exit Bus Pool Stop #8 (仙台駅西口バスプール8番), board bus bound for Akiu Onsen (秋保温泉). Alight at Akiu Onsen Yumoto (秋保温泉湯元) bus stop. Timetable here.



Roger Smith

Rairaikyo Momiji Path Light Up・磊々峡もみじのこみちライトアップ


Enjoy a walk along an illuminated forest path as you listen to the sounds of the river rushing through Rairaikyo Gorge. There is a free hot spring foot bath near the entrance.


Dates: October 26–November 10, 2019

Hours: 17:00–19:30

Admission: Free

Location: Rairaikyo Gorge (磊々峡)

Access: About 50 minutes by bus from Sendai Station, followed by a short walk. From Sendai Station Ekimae Bus Stop #8 (仙台駅前8番のりば), board bus bound for Akiu Onsen (秋保温泉). Alight at Akiu Sato Center (秋保・里センター). Timetable here.



Roger Smith

Matsushima Autumn Colors Light Up at Kanrantei・観瀾亭の松島紅葉ライトアップ

The grounds of Kanrantei, a 400-year-old samurai tea house, are illuminated in autumn. It is also open for tea and desserts during special evening hours (generally Fridays and weekends) with no reservation required.


Dates: October 26–November 17, 2019

Hours: 17:30–21:00 (last entry 20:45)

Access: 4-minute walk from Matsushimakaigan Station (Senseki Line)

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