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Raina's Japan Travel Journal
by Raina, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2015/10/15 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko

Today, I went to Nikko for a follow up Nikko autumn color report. I visited Okunikko and Nikko to see how the colors had developed since the last time Joe went nine days ago. The autumn colors are starting to move down towards the lower town area. While there were still some color to be seen at higher elevations around Okunikko, the leaves were starting to fall. There were definitely lots of crunchy leaves along the road side which made very satisfying crunching sounds as I stepped on them.

I started early from Okunikko, a national park area up in the mountains behind Nikko Town and had my first super cold day this year. It was minus three degrees and I was glad to have a warm car and my jacket with me. Despite the chilly temperatures, it was a beautiful day with blue skies and not so many clouds. It warmed up quickly as the day progressed and as I made my way towards lower elevations. Great weather also meant that there were going to lots of visitors as well, but I was still surprised at the number of people I saw at most of the places I went. There were school groups, overseas tour groups and lots of retirees checking out the autumn colors.

My first stop was Konsei Pass, the entrance to Okunikko. The colors here were still beautiful, lots of yellow which made a great contrast against the blue sky. From Konsei Pass, I moved on to Lake Yunoko, which had more colors compared to the last time Joe was here.

At Konsei Pass
Looking out from Konsei Pass, the valley below bathed in orange light
Yellow against blue, reminds me of the Swedish flag
Yumoto-onsen town not far from the pass
Still waters run deep at Lake Yunoko
Trying to get a shot of the Yudaki Waterfall
Yudaki Waterfall

A short drive from Lake Yunoko brought me to Senjogahara Marsh. The scenery on the way there was gorgeous as the trees that lined the road were all yellow and orange. I parked at one of the parking areas nearby and headed into the marshland to check out the autumn foilage along the various trails. Because it had been so cold in the morning, there was a bit of frost on the grounds and the boardwalks.

One of the few trails at the marsh
You can't tell there's a road just by the trees in the distance
Leaves on sticks
Beware of bears in the marsh
View across the bridge from another trail
A portion of National Route 120 leading to Senjogahara Marsh
The view at the parking area

From Senjogahara Marsh, I drove down to Ryuzunotaki falls to check out the colors. The colors here definitely intensified and became fiery red compared to Joe's first Nikko report. However, the leaves have also begun to fall and it won't be long before the trees shed their leaves for the winter.

At the top of Ryuzunotaki, with the trees more vibrantly colored compared to nine days ago
The path leads all the way to the bottom of the falls
Such color, much pretty
Crunchy fallen leaves
Bottom of Ryuzunotaki
Small shopping area at the base of the falls

From the waterfall, I headed to Lake Chuzenjiko and visited Hangetsuyama to check out the observation deck. I wasn't disappointed with the view from the observation deck at all, thanks to the beautiful weather. For those without a car, there is a bus to Hangetsuyama from Chuzenji Onsen that departs about once an hour. From the car park/bus stop, it is another 20 to 30 minute hike up the mountain to the observation deck.

Friends hanging out at Lake Chuzenjiko
Lake Chuzenjiko
Looking down from the parking area at Hangetsuyama
Going on a cruise to see the autumn colors isn't a bad idea at all. That's the Hacchodejima Peninsula
The Hangetsuyama Observation Deck was crowded
Sometimes it felt like I was walking on clouds
Getting a shot of them autumn leaves
Along Lake Chuzenjiko
Vibrant leaves basking in sunshine

My final stop was Irohazaka road, which is a winding section of the National Route 120 that is popular for its autumn foilage. It is split into uphill and downhill sections, the Daiichi Irohazaka road is about 6.5 kilometers long and goes down towards to Nikko city from Lake Chuzenji, while the Daini Irohazaka road which is about nine kilometers long goes up in the opposite direction. The last time Joe was here, the trees were mostly green with slight yellow tinges. Today, the trees have started to take on more color and I expect them to become more vibrant over the next week or so.

Colors just starting to develop, won't be long now

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List of Posts:
2017/05/02 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2017/04/14 - Sneak Peek from Ginza Six
2017/03/21 - A bit of everything in Fukui
2017/03/13 - Nikko Toshogu Uncovered
2017/02/15 - Subculture in Ikebukuro
2017/02/07 - Travel to the Goto Islands
2017/02/06 - Nagasaki Lantern Festival

2016/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2016
2016/12/19 - Winter Illuminations in Tokyo
2016/10/24 - The way of old on the Kunisaki Peninsula
2016/10/11 - Following the Tadami Line in Oku Aizu
2016/08/27 - Fool's Dance at Koenji Awa Odori
2016/08/16 - The three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan
2016/06/20 - Train travel into the Ise-Shima region
2016/04/03 - Setouchi Triennale 2016
2016/03/08 - The hunt for Namahage on the Oga Peninsula
2016/03/02 - Sake Sangria
2016/02/20 - Tokyo Plum Blossom Report
2016/01/26 - Tour de Reinan: Obama, Oi and Takahama
2016/01/25 - Tour de Reinan: Tsuruga, Mihama and Wakasa

2015/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2015
2015/12/10 - 48 hours in Tokushima
2015/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Kankakei
2015/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2015/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/10 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/09 - Autumn Color Report: Koyasan
2015/11/08 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2015/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Dazaifu
2015/10/28 - The 44th Tokyo Motor Show
2015/10/21 - Hirado, where East meets West
2015/10/20 - Kujukushima Islands and Winter Illumination at Huis Ten Bosch
2015/10/19 - Navigating the Christian sites in Nagasaki
2015/10/18 - Cosplay at Haco Stadium Tokyo
2015/10/15 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2015/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2015/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2015/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2015/09/16 - Nakanojo Biennale 2015
2015/08/19 - Traditional culture and hot springs of the Aizu Region
2015/08/17 - Nature and Hot Springs at Naruko Onsen
2015/08/04 - Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 2015
2015/04/30 - Sapporo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/29 - Hakodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/23 - Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/22 - Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/21 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/16 - Sendai Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/09 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/08 - Fukushima Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/06 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/02 - Nara Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/01 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/31 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/27 - Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/26 - Kumamoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/25 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report

2014/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2014
2014/12/15 - Seasonal Illumination: Sendai
2014/12/09 - Seasonal Illumination: Tokyo
2014/12/04 - Autumn Color Report: Kanazawa
2014/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2014/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2014/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2014/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/10/31 - Autumn Color Report: Karuizawa
2014/10/21 - Autumn Color Report: Bandai
2014/10/20 - Autumn Color Report: Towada
2014/10/01 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2014/09/29 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2014/06/19 - Toranomon Hills opens in Tokyo
2014/04/24 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/23 - Morioka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/22 - Aizu-Wakamatsu Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/16 - Matsumoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/15 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/14 - Yoshino Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/13 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/10 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/06 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/05 - Hiroshima Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/04 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/02 - Nagoya Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/31 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/26 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/04 - Early Tokyo Blossom Report