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Autumn Color Report 2010
by japan-guide.com

This is the official japan-guide.com autumn color report for 2010. Please visit also our guide to autumn leaves for more general information and our schedule of upcoming reports.

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2010/11/05 - Yamadera Report
by francois

Yamadera is a temple in the mountains whose name literally means mountain temple. Located just outside of Yamagata City, the temple was my destination for today's autumn color report. Yamadera can also be reached by traveling via Sendai, which was the route I took today.

The train from Sendai passed many colorful trees on the way to Yamadera
A small waterfall surrounded by fall colors seen from the train

From Sendai I took the JR Senzan Line which connects Sendai and Yamagata City, and it took about an hour to get to Yamadera. Along the way I was happy to see a large amount of fall colors, which made we feel quite hopeful about the state of the trees at Yamadera. One small setback was that as the train started to approach the area around Yamadera the blue skies began to turn grey and the weather became quite overcast.

The mountainside and temple buildings of Yamadera seen from the station platform

Immediately upon disembarking the train at Yamadera Station a few of the temple buildings were visible on the mountainside from the platform. They were surrounded by a fair amount of color, so I was looking forward to beginning my hike. The various pamphlets and information center estimated the ascent to take about 30 minutes, which was around the amount of time I took.

A ginko tree in Yamadera's lower regions that is still very green
The hike up the mountainside did not offer many colors

Although there were many temple buildings to see in the lower regions of the temple grounds, there was very little in terms of koyo. The lower mountainside was also very green, so both should continue to improve in terms of color over the next week. However, with the exception of a few trees, the lower regions did not seem as if they would be particularly remarkable as koyo destinations.

Nice fall colors in Yamadera's uppermost area
Yamadera's popular Kaisando Hall and Nokyodo
Visitors to the temple pose with a couple of colorful trees
Rooftops and fall colors in Yamadera's uppermost area
The paths in the upper area offer fantastic views of the neighboring mountainsides

After arriving at the Niomon Gate visitors will enter the main cluster of temple buildings in Yamadera's upper region. This area has a large number of colorful trees and offers fantastic views of the area below and the neighboring mountsides. Travelers looking for fall colors will surely not be dissapinted after arriving at the top of Yamadera. However, a few of the shop keepers commented that this year has not been as vibrant as previous years.

It seems as if this area is suffering from the same condition that Schauwecker and Scott have already noticed this year during other reporting trips on Honshu. This year's exceptionally hot summer has had an adverse effect on the color of the fall leaves. Nonetheless, today I was still able to very much enjoy the combination of the temple atmosphere and the autumnal scenery.

Visitors enjoy the views from the Godaido observation deck

At the very top of the temple grounds is the Godaido observation deck, which is the best spot for a view of the surrounding area. After my hike back down the mountain I noticed that the uppermost building that I had seen from the station platform had been the Godaido. As I looked at the observation deck later in the day I was amused to occassionally see the flashes of cameras goind of now that the area had become busier.

Nice colors in the Fuga no Kuni area south of Yamadera Station

Although the best spot for koyo is certainly at the top of Yamadera, I was also able to find some nice examples of color in the Fuga no Kuni which is located in the opposite direction from the station as Yamadera. The area has a museum dedicated to the famous Japanese poet Basho and another that focuses on Western art. There are also nice craft shops and restaurants that would be able to amuse visitors who decide to stay in the area longer.

Although I was not able to see it personally, I found out that Yamadera is having evening illumintaions for the fall colors that began on October 24 and will finish this Sunday on November 7. The light up can be seen from 18:00 to 21:00 in the evenings.

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List of Posts:
2010/12/09 - Tokyo Report
2010/12/06 - Kamakura Report
2010/12/01 - Kyoto Report

2010/11/30 - Tokyo Report
2010/11/26 - Kyoto Report
2010/11/26 - Osaka Report
2010/11/25 - Kyoto Report
2010/11/24 - Tokyo Report
2010/11/24 - Kyoto Report
2010/11/23 - Kyoto Report
2010/11/19 - Kyoto Report
2010/11/19 - Sakurayama Report
2010/11/18 - Nara Report
2010/11/17 - Kyoto Report
2010/11/17 - Ise Report
2010/11/16 - Tokyo Report
2010/11/16 - Koyasan Report
2010/11/15 - Kyoto Report
2010/11/10 - Kyoto Report
2010/11/09 - Fujigoko Report
2010/11/05 - Yamadera Report
2010/11/04 - Daisen Report

2010/10/27 - Kuju Report
2010/10/27 - Nikko Report
2010/10/26 - Kirishima Report
2010/10/19 - Noboribetsu Report
2010/10/15 - Akita Report
2010/10/14 - Nikko Report
2010/10/14 - Akita Report
2010/10/05 - Nikko Report

2010/09/29 - Oze Report
2010/09/15 - Kurodake Report
2010/09/14 - Asahidake Report

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