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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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2013/12/06 - Kamakura Report
by sean

Statue of Minamoto Yoritomo in Genjiyama Park

Today I visited Kamakura, the city that was the political center of Japan during the Kamakura Period (1192-1333). Kamakura is no longer of political prominence nowadays, but the many historical buildings and landmarks extant in the city serve to remind us of its past glory, and they are accordingly very popular among tourists. In a typical year, Kamakura is one of the latest places to enjoy autumn colors, which reach their best around early December. However, it seems that the season is slightly early this year, and I was only able to catch the later part of it today.

My first stop was at Hasedera, a temple famous for its precious statue of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, one of the largest wooden sculptures in Japan. Light-up events are held in the evenings from sunset to 19:00 (entry until 18:30), but only till the coming Sunday; understandably so because the season has passed its peak at Hasedera and visitors hoping to catch still somewhat pleasant autumn colors here had better hurry.

Some of the best colors at Hasedera today
Some trees still with attractive colors; others have lost most of their leaves
Incense burner with Jizo Bodhisattva in the background
Pond at Hasedera, around which most of the colors can be seen

A short walk away was the iconic Daibutsu - the Great Buddha of Kamakura. While not a spectacular autumn leaf spot, the area surrounding the Daibutsu offers some nice autumn colors if you come at the right time. Unfortunately, that time had passed, and I was only able to catch some little pockets of colors. Seeing the awesome statue made up for the lack of fall views though.

Tried my best to locate some colors
The Great Buddha of Kamakura behind a light curtain of ginkgo leaves
Local specialties: Hase dango and Great Buddha manju

Next, I hiked to Genjiyama Park, which is located on a hill northeast of the Great Buddha. The season is similarly at its closing stages at the park and I think visitors looking for any fall colors here have only till this weekend at the most. There were a noticeable number of camellia trees in bloom though, and if they are your cup of tea, their season should last quite a bit longer.

Genjiyama Park
The most colorful maple tree remaining
Fallen leaves
Christmas Camellia

Today's best colors were spotted at the two temples that I visited last: Meigetsuin and Engakuji. That having been said, the best colors have already gone too and the autumn views, albeit still good, were on a decline. Many leaves had dried and fallen. The ones that remained on the branches were still pretty, but have lost that freshness and luster that usually accompany leaves at their peak.

As the season inches towards the finish line at Kamakura, should you happen to visit over the next few days, Meigetsuin and Engakuji are your best bets for at least some nice fall colors. Look through the famous circular window at Meigetsuin; if the colors are still good, pay the extra 500 yen to visit the inner garden. At Engakuji, the most promising spots are the stairway that leads from Kita-Kamakura Station to the temple buildings, and around the ponds at the higher sections of the temple.

The famous window at Meigetsuin
In the back garden
Sweeping away the fallen leaves
Sometimes it's beautiful too looking through the window in the opposite direction
Arriving at Engakuji
Pond at Engakuji

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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