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Autumn Color Report 2014
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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2014/10/21 - Bandai Report
by raina

View from the bridge at Nakatsugawa Gorge

After a day out in Lake Towada yesterday, I headed to Urabandai in Fukushima Prefecture for another day of autumn colors. Due to the large change in elevation around the mountain, autumn colors around Urabandai tend to be good for about a month as they make their way down the slopes.

The weather forecast for today was for rain and generally cooler temperatures and I was worried about how it would affect the views. However, my worries were unfounded as the views from about 800 to 1300 meters were at their peak: beautiful and filled with yellow, orangey-red leaves. From Fukushima Station, I picked up a rental car and drove on the very scenic Bandai-Azuma Skyline towards my first stop, Jododaira. Near the lower levels, the trees were still green, but once we climbed higher towards 600 meters, the colors exploded into view and remained that way until about 1300 meters where the autumn color season was over.

At around 1600 meters, the autumn color season was over at Jododaira. The volcanic terrain reminded me of Mars and had me imagining the Mars scene from Total Recall. I joined the other tourists and climbed to the top of Azuma-Kofuji at 1707 meters to look down the crater; the path is wide enough to walk around the crater, however there are no ropes or fences that prevent people from falling over.

Started the day with blue skies towards Jododaira
View of Mount Azuma
Visitors can walk around the crater on the rocky terrain
Looking down at the Jododaira visitors area
Clouds rolling in and the skies became overcast

The Bandai-Azuma Lake Line was lined with trees at their peak of the season, looking like they were on fire with orangey-red and yellow leaves. I had to tell myself to concentrate on driving as the scenery and view at each turn was fantastic and all I could think of were "That's a great view!" and "I want to stop and take some pictures here".

The autumn colors at Nakatsugawa Gorge were at their peak and will remain so for a while more. There were many tourists there by the time I arrived and I joined some of them walking down to the gorge. The path was a little slippery walking down to the gorge as it had been drizzling and the area by the gorge was slick from the drizzle, sprays from the river and wet leaves. All this did not stop the tripod-wielding photographers from getting their pictures and the seasoned photographers even had their rain boots on. Best views of the autumn colors, however are from the bridge over the gorge as you can see the wall of red, yellow trees with the gorge at the bottom.

Autumn colors along the Lake Line making for a beautiful drive
Red and yellow maples
Visitors walking back up to the parking area from the gorge
Down at Nakatsugawa Gorge
Small yellow maples against green moss
Photographers and their tripods, you can hardly see the bridge from here
More people along the bridge taking in the beautiful view
River flowing between walls of trees at Nakatsugawa Gorge

Finally, I drove to Goshikinuma and went on a short walk along the lakes. There were more tourists here compared to Nakatsugawa Gorge and Jododaira. I walked along the largest lake which had beautiful blue waters and incredibly large koi fishes. The autumn colors here were not as impressive with more green than yellow and red leaves.

On my way back, I took the Bandaisan Gold Line to complete my tour of the skylines in the Bandai area. The Gold Line is a toll road that normally costs 730 yen, but is currently free to promote tourism. Due to its elevation (between 800 to 1200 meters) the autumn colors here were also at their peak and made the return journey very enjoyable. I also managed to get to see a sea of clouds (unkai) over the lake and town below as it had been raining and the cooler temperatures made it possible. However, it also meant that the final part of my drive was not as enjoyable as I had to drive through a thick fog back to the station.

Painting at the lake despite the rain
At the biggest lake at Goshikinuma
All these colors from the one tree against the blue lake
Goshikinuma and peach flavored soft cream
The trees at the Happodai trailhead looking a little sparse
From a viewpoint along the Gold Line
The lake and town below covered in clouds
You can make out the ski slopes from here
Coniferous trees and autumn foliage
Autumn foliage with Mount Bandai in the background

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List of Posts:
2014/12/05 - Tokyo Report
2014/12/04 - Kanazawa Report
2014/12/03 - Kyoto Report
2014/12/02 - Kamakura Report
2014/11/28 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/27 - Tokyo Report
2014/11/26 - Nara Report
2014/11/25 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/21 - Osaka Report
2014/11/20 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/19 - Korankei Report
2014/11/18 - Miyajima Report
2014/11/18 - Tokyo Report
2014/11/17 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/14 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/14 - Himeji Report
2014/11/13 - Fuji Report
2014/11/13 - Tokyo Report
2014/11/12 - Eiheiji Report
2014/11/11 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/07 - Tokyo Report
2014/11/07 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/06 - Yamadera Report
2014/11/04 - Fuji Report
2014/11/04 - Hakone Report
2014/10/31 - Karuizawa Report
2014/10/29 - Shima Onsen Report
2014/10/24 - Fuji Report
2014/10/21 - Bandai Report
2014/10/21 - Nikko Report
2014/10/20 - Towada Report
2014/10/16 - Tateyama Report
2014/10/15 - Kurikoma Report
2014/10/08 - Nasu Report
2014/10/07 - Nikko Report
2014/10/01 - Oze Report
2014/09/29 - Tateyama Report
2014/09/26 - Nikko Report
2014/09/19 - Tokachidake Report
2014/09/18 - Kurodake Report
2014/09/17 - Asahidake Report

Tours and Experiences