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Autumn Color Blog 2008
by japan-guide.com

This is the official japan-guide.com autumn color blog for 2008 about our reporting trips to various autumn leaf spots across Japan. Check our page on Autumn Leaves for general information.

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2008/12/03 - Kamakura Report


by francois

For the final koyo trip of the year, we headed out to Kamakura to see the city's most famous fall colour sites. We planned on seeing most of Kamakura's famous temples and devised a route that circled around the city. We started in the sout-east at Hase Station, walked north to Kita-Kamakura Station, then walked east through Shishimai valley to Zuisen-ji, and finally headed to Kamakura Station, passing through Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. As can be seen by the photographs below, we were happy to finish our koyo reporting for this year on a high note.

Red maples at Hase-dera

We started the day at Hase-dera, which is most famous for its massive wooden statue of the goddess Kannon. Around the temple's gardens we were able to find some nice leaves.

Sailors admiring a ginkgo tree near the Daibutsu

At the Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kamakura Daibutsu), there were a decent number of trees with colour. There was not so much as to be spectacular, but they made for some nice photos nonetheless. The place was crowded with students, as well as some sailors.

A group of women picnicking at Genjiyama Park

After a decent hike we arrived at Genjiyama Park. We had been looking for the Kewai-zaka Slope, but we found when got there that there was very little in terms of fall colours. Beside the slope was the park, where we found much nicer colours, amongst an imposing statue of Minamoto Yoritomo.

Leaves from a giant ginkgo tree cover the ground and benches

At Jochi-ji the most popular spot was a giant ginkgo tree across from the temple's main hall. A crowd of photographers had gathered around it, trying to get a good shot.

A vibrant tree at Tokei-ji

A short walk away was Tokei-ji, where we were able to find some more colours. This temple too was quite crowded, with many eager photographers vying for position around the most colourful trees.

Bright trees along the entrance to Engaku-ji
From the teahouse at the top of Engaku-ji, a view across to Tokei-ji

Passing the train tracks just below Kita-Kamakura Station, we made our way a short 250 meters from Tokei-ji to Engaku-ji, the important temple under whose branch of Zen Buddhism the two previous temples take part. The entrance to Engaku-ji was particularly impressive, and many people had taken a seat in front and were trying to paint the scene. Inside, the temple grounds were quite extensive and we found quite a few trees and attractive views to admire.

Red trees line the path to a torii gate at Kencho-ji
Walking up the path at the back of Kencho-ji

Kencho-ji is considered first among Kamakura's Zen temples. Among other reasons, it was the first Zen temple built in the city, way back in 1253. It too had very large grounds, and a number of nice views, if not as nice as Engaku-ji. We walked through to the back of the temple, where a walking trail was located.

The sun breaking through the leaves in the Shishimai valley

After walking for a long time along the walking trail from Kencho-ji, we arrived at Shishimai valley. On the walk we had overheard some people excitedly talking about how nice the koyo had been in the valley. Though they may have been a little overexcited, the valley was indeed quite nice.

A bit of koyo around Zuisen-ji's main temple

The eastern-most point on our route, Zuisen-ji is most famous for its rock gardens. As the rocks gardens have not seemed to been affected much by the changing seasons, they were not particularly nice as koyo spots. There was a smattering of colour otherwise, but Zuisen-ji was probably the least colourful of the koyo sites we saw in Kamakura.

The steps up to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu's Main Hall

Our final koyo location before boarding the train at Kamakura Station was Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, Kamakura's most poular and most central site. Here the highlight was definitely the massive gingko tree that is located beside the steps up to the Main Hall. The tree is over 1000 years old, and though it still had some green in it, it was starting to turn to golden yellow. After seeing the shrine, we left to catch our train.

An ancient ginkgo tree and shimenawa (sacred rope)

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List of Posts:
2008/12/03 - Kamakura Report
2008/11/26 - Tokyo Report
2008/11/21 - Kyoto Report (4/4)
2008/11/20 - Kyoto Report (3/4)
2008/11/20 - Miyajima
2008/11/19 - Kyoto Report (2/4)
2008/11/18 - Kyoto Report (1/4)
2008/11/18 - Mino Park
2008/11/12 - Fuji Five Lakes
2008/11/05 - Nikko (2)
2008/10/29 - Lake Towada
2008/10/28 - Shirakami Sanchi (2)
2008/10/27 - Shirakami Sanchi
2008/10/21 - Nishizawa Valley
2008/10/16 - Nikko
2008/10/10 - Akagiyama
2008/10/08 - Shiretoko Peninsula
2008/10/07 - Lake Mashu and Kussharo
2008/10/06 - Lake Akan
2008/10/03 - Tateyama Alpen Route
2008/09/26 - Sounkyo Onsen
2008/09/25 - Daisetsu Kogen Onsen
2008/09/24 - Mount Asahidake

Tours and Experiences