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Autumn Color Report 2013
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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2013/10/08 - Nikko Report
by schauwecker

The mountainous Okunikko region above the town center of Nikko is one of the first places near Tokyo to see autumn colors. On our first of multiple report trips to Nikko this year, I was able to confirm that the colors have started appearing in the higher elevations, but that they are overall still at an early state.

The trees in the lower areas around Lake Chuzenjiko, Kegon Waterfall and the Irohazaka Winding Road that connects the town center of Nikko with the Okunikko region, were still mostly green, and the peak of the season here is unlikely to take place before the second half of October.

Irohazaka Winding Road viewed from the Akechidaira parking lot
Many trees around Kegon Waterfall still came with a summer green appearance
View of Lake Chuzenjiko from the Hangetsuyama observation deck
The trees around Lake Chuzenjiko have only just started to color

The exception were - as usual - the trees along Ryuzu Waterfall at the northwestern shores of Lake Chuzenjiko, which are always following a faster coloring pace than the trees in the surrounding areas. In fact, Ryuzu Waterfall was already approaching the peak of its seasonal beauty and made the koyo highlight of the day.

Ryuzu Waterfall offered the best colors in all of Nikko today
Ryuzu Waterfall from above
Continuing beyond Ryuzu Waterfall towards the Senjogahara Marshland

The grass of the Senjogahara Marshland beyond Ryuzu Waterfall has already turned into beautiful golden and reddish tones and was a pleasure to hike through, although the trees' colors were still at an early stage. Located at an even higher elevation, the trees surrounding Yudaki Waterfall and Lake Yunoko were also still at a relatively early stage and need a few more crisp nights to reach their peak.

Elevated hiking trail through the Senjogahara Marshland
Golden Senjogahara Marshland
Continuing the hiking trail towards Yudaki Waterfall
Yudaki Waterfall - the observation platform at its base is currently being rebuilt, which is quite distracting
Yudaki Waterfall from above
Lake Yunoko waiting for more crisp nights

Crisp nights, however, are not in the forecast until Sunday; so, I would not expect the progress of the colors to be too spectacular until next week. Due to the early state of the colors, Nikko was only moderately busy today. But this is soon going to change: with the natural beauty come huge numbers of tourists which routinely cause long traffic jams during a considerable part of October, especially on the weekends.

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List of Posts:
2013/12/11 - Tokyo Report
2013/12/10 - Kyoto Report
2013/12/06 - Kamakura Report
2013/12/03 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/29 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/28 - Kanazawa Report
2013/11/27 - Osaka Report
2013/11/26 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/26 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/21 - Miyajima Report
2013/11/20 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/19 - Korankei Report
2013/11/18 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/18 - Fujigoko Report
2013/11/13 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/12 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/11 - Sakurayama Report
2013/11/08 - Karuizawa Report
2013/11/06 - Fujigoko Report
2013/10/30 - Towada Report
2013/10/29 - Nikko Report
2013/10/29 - Yamadera Report
2013/10/28 - Urabandai Report
2013/10/22 - Gunma Report
2013/10/18 - Nasu Report
2013/10/17 - Nikko Report
2013/10/14 - Fujisan Report
2013/10/12 - Hakkodasan Report
2013/10/10 - Oze Report
2013/10/08 - Nikko Report
2013/09/27 - Tateyama Report
2013/09/21 - Kurodake Report
2013/09/20 - Asahidake Report

Tours and Experiences