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Autumn Color Report 2012
Official autumn color reports by japan-guide.com

Where to see autumn leaves? - When do trees turn colors? - What trees turn colors?
Schedule of upcoming reports - Post your own report

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2012/11/29 - Himeji Report
by schauwecker

Himeji Castle's keep is still covered up for renovation works

Today I visited Himeji for our first ever autumn color report from that city.

Mount Shosha, a temple mountain overlooking the city from the northwest, is one of Himeji's best autumn color spots. Accessed by a ropeway, the many buildings of the Engyoji temple complex stand in clusters across the forested mountaintop, and it takes about 90 minutes to walk between them and inspect them.

The lady in the ropeway announced that the peak of the fall foliage season had already passed at Mount Shosha, but that some colors remained here and there. After exploring the mountain myself, I agreed that this was an accurate description of the state of the season here. Some of the brightest colors were found along the mountain slopes, that could be viewed from the ropeway and from observation points. On the temple grounds themselves evergreen trees outnumbered colorful ones, and the latter had started to drop their leaves in large numbers.

Colorful slopes of Mount Shosha seen from the observation point near Niomon Gate
Niomon Gate
Some of the best colors on the temple grounds were found around the Maniden Hall
View from the balcony of the Maniden Hall
Colors around the Daibutsu (Great Buddha) statue
Not a lot of colors around the Daikodo Hall, which served as a filming location of The Last Samurai
Evergreen trees outnumber colorful ones
Many trees have dropped a considerable amount of their leaves already

Kokoen is a collection of multiple types of traditional Japanese gardens next to Himeji Castle. The colors in the various gardens were still at their peak, but many of the leaves looked like they may not hang on much longer.

Nice maple leaves in Kokoen's Garden of the Lord's Residence
Maple trees provided the seasonal highlight at Kokoen
Colorful tsutsuji bush and maple trees

Himeji Castle is not particularly well known as a koyo spot, but I can't imagine visiting Himeji without dropping by its castle. The many cherry tress on the castle grounds have already lost most of their leaves, unveiling the young buds which will bring us back here in about four months from now. The best colors on the castle grounds were provided by a few ginkgo and maple trees.

Young buds visible after the cherry trees dropped most of their leaves
Some colors around Himeji Castle
Deeply red maple leaves at Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle remains wrapped under a large scaffolding structure as its roofs and walls get a major overhaul. It will be roughly another two years until the castle keep will see the open sky again. In the meantime, visitors can access observation floors in the scaffolding structure and take a look at the works. Since my last visit in April, the re-tiling of the roof seemed to have been completed, and the re-plastering of the exterior walls had well advanced. The interior of the castle keep remained closed to tourists.

Observation window in the scaffolding structure around Himeji Castle's keep
The renovation works have well progressed
View of the one kilometer long main street leading from Himeji Station to the castle

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List of Posts:
2012/12/11 - Tokyo Report
2012/12/07 - Tokyo Report
2012/12/05 - Kamakura Report
2012/12/02 - Kyoto Report
2012/12/01 - Tokyo Report

2012/11/29 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/29 - Himeji Report
2012/11/27 - Tokyo Report
2012/11/26 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/25 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/23 - Miyajima Report
2012/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/21 - Tokyo Report
2012/11/21 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/19 - Takaosan Report
2012/11/16 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/15 - Mount Fuji Report
2012/11/15 - Shosenkyo Report
2012/11/14 - Hakone Report
2012/11/13 - Tokyo Report
2012/11/09 - Sakurayama Report
2012/11/08 - Koyasan Report
2012/11/07 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/07 - Nikko Report
2012/11/07 - Yamadera Report
2012/11/06 - Naruko Report
2012/11/05 - Hiraizumi Report
2012/11/05 - Mount Fuji Report
2012/11/01 - Kuju Report

2012/10/31 - Towada Report
2012/10/30 - Bandai Report
2012/10/26 - Minakami Report
2012/10/24 - Nikko Report
2012/10/22 - Alpine Route Report
2012/10/18 - Noboribetsu Report
2012/10/18 - Sounkyo Report
2012/10/17 - Shiretoko Report
2012/10/16 - Norikura Report
2012/10/16 - Nikko Report
2012/10/15 - Kamikochi Report
2012/10/12 - Oze Report
2012/10/11 - Hachimantai Report
2012/10/10 - Bandai Report
2012/10/09 - Nikko Report
2012/10/05 - Route 292 Report
2012/10/04 - Alpine Route Report

2012/09/28 - Kurodake Report
2012/09/27 - Kogen Onsen Report
2012/09/26 - Asahidake Report
2012/09/21 - Asahidake Report
2012/09/20 - Kurodake Report
2012/09/18 - Asahidake Report