Top 6 Autumn Places to Photograph in Tohoku, Japan

Updated: Jan 11, 2020

Mention to someone that you are planning a visit to Tohoku and chances are you'll be met with the response "where's that?" The more popular and 'Instagrammable' places like Tokyo and Kyoto are usually the first preference for new visitors.

But I'm here to show you why the northeast region of Tohoku holds its own and is equally as stunning and rich in culture but with far fewer crowds.

*Note: This trip and blog article was paid for by the Japanese National Tourism Organisation Australia. My photographic brief was to create a blog post about my experiences in the region with no bias towards any particular location or activity.



When I was invited to join this Tohoku trip, I asked myself the same question. I whipped out the map and found that the Tohoku Region (Tohoku Chiho, meaning "North East Region") is made up of six different prefectures on the northern island of Honshu.

Aomori Prefecture

Akita Prefecture

Iwate Prefecture

Yamagata Prefecture

Miyagi Prefecture

Fukushima Prefecture


Plane: There are roughly 8 main airports that connect the major cities to domestic routes from Tokyo. We flew into Sendai in the Miyagi Prefecture from Haneda Airport.

Train: It's no secret that Japan's railway system is world-class. Everything runs like clockwork, train lines reach far and wide, and of course, they're damn fast. The Shinkansen lines run directly from Tokyo and pass through Fukushima, Sendai, Yamagata, Morioka, Akita and Aomori on their way to Hokkaido. Other major railway lines branch out further still.

You can check their details and purchase tickets here. (The recent Typhoon Oct 19 has affected some train lines servicing Tohoku. CHECK UPDATES when planning your journey)

Car: The obvious choice of any photographer who wants the ultimate freedom to stop and capture images along their journey. Car hire can be secured upon your arrival in Tokyo, or you can elect to book a personal driver for the trip. While I didn't personally drive during our time here, I can safely say that driving around Tohoku seems quite civil and easy to do. For those less confident, perhaps catch the train to the region first, then hire your vehicle to avoid the chaos of Tokyo.


Our visit was clearly during the Autumn Season and was a must-see time of the year for us. We'd heard the colours here were some of the best in Japan and that the gorges and mountain regions were stunning. Climate change has meant that the changing of colours has come later in the season this year.

TIP: You can actually check the state of Autumn Colours around Japan using this neat WEBSITE.

Winter is another popular time of the year to explore the area. Check out my friend Tim's BLOG who ventured there during a massive dump of snow.