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Gero Onsen in Autumn

Maples blaze in the city's Ujo Park

The train from Nagoya to Takayama runs right by the hot springs town of Gero Onsen, though most travelers never disembark. In autumn, however, it seems almost criminal to miss the stunning display of fall foliage that surrounds this town in Japan's central mountains. Perhaps the best place to observe the changing colors is Ujo Park, where easy walking paths following a terraced stream up into the hills. Benches and pavilions make this the perfect picnic spot and the area is remarkably quiet on weekdays. For the best foliage, aim to be in town from mid to late November. As off-the-radar as Gero Onsen is, don't expect much in the way of crowds, meaning you can enjoy the beauty in relative peace.

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