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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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2010/11/16 - Tokyo Report
by francois

Colorful leaves near the trailhead to Tokyo's Mount Takao

After our autumn color report from Kyoto's Takao yesterday, today I investigated the state of the leaves in the Kanto region's Takao, a mountain within metropolitan Tokyo. I also visited two autumn color spots in the city, the Rikugien Garden and the Icho-namiki Ginkgo Avenue, but the city's colors won't begin in earnest for at least a few more days.

Rikugien Garden
Some trees are already showing nice colors
Red leaves are falling onto the pond

Rikugien Garden is one of the most attractive Japanese style gardens in Tokyo. It was built about 300 years ago, and has a large pond at its center. There are already a number of trees at the garden that have become quite colorful, but the garden should become even more attractive into next week.

The Icho-namiki Ginkgo Avenue
Despite its early state, many people came to see the trees this morning
Fallen ginkgo leaves

The Icho-namiki Ginkgo Avenue is located near the Aoyama-icchome Subway Station in western Tokyo. It is a street lined with massive ginkgo trees which become a beautiful yellow color in the fall. Many leaves have fallen already, but the tress are for the most part still quite green. Nonetheless, there were many people along the street this morning taking pictures or sketching. The street should be more attractive and crowded next week.

A colorful ginkgo tree above the area map outside Takaosanguchi Station

After about an hour train ride west from central Tokyo, I arrived at Takaosanguchi Station to be begin my hike up Mount Takao. As soon as I left the station I saw a giant ginkgo tree that had already turned a golden yellow.

Colorful trees beside the trailhead and cable car station
More colorful trees and people

After walking past the few shops before the trailhead and cablecar station I saw even more colorful trees. In addition to the yellow ginkgo trees, there were beautiful red maples as well. I wasn't the only one who had decided to come to see the colors, as there were many other people at the base of the mountain. Takao is certainly one of the best spots to see fall foliage near Tokyo at the moment, and is bound to be quite busy as long as the colors persist.

The chairlift ride partway up the mountain

Rather than take the cable car or hike, I decided to go up the mountain by a chairlift that is also available. There was a bit of a wait for the cablecars and I was hoping to get a good view on the way up. Neither the charlift or cablecar go directly to the summit, and to reach the peak a considerable hike is still required.

A nice vantage point just after the cablecar and chairlift stations
A nice walk through the forest, but not too many colors

The views were pretty good on the chairlift, but it wasn't until I reached a rest area shortly after getting on my feet again that I could really get a good look of the area. There was also quite a few colorful trees as well that complemented the view. Based on the experience of previous years, I took the number one trail up to the summit. The walk was quite pleasant, but there was not too much in terms of koyo along the route.

Autumn leaves at the temple
Autumn leaves at the temple
Autumn leaves at the temple

The Yakuoin Temple is located along the way to the summit, and there were a few trees on the temple grounds that were changing color dramatically. In conjunction with the temple buildings, this made for some interesting photo opportunities.

Fall colors at the summit of Mount Takao
Fall colors at the summit of Mount Takao
Fall colors at the summit of Mount Takao

The summit of Takao has an elevation of about 600 meters and the final approach to the top is not very steep. There were quite a few nice trees at the top, but in my opinion the very best trees I had seen were at the base of the mountain. Nonetheless, today was a clear day and the views onto the city were very interesting. Sitting under one of the red maple trees was a good way to take a break after walking up the mountain.

The trail back to the base of the mountain

For the return trip to the train station I decided to hike the entire distance rather than take the chairlift or cablecar. It may have also been the faster decision, since when I passed the chairlift station on the way back down there was a lineup of well over a hundred people. The hike down was very steep and there was little in terms of colors, and I would probably not bother hiking it again the next time I go to the mountain.

The edges of the urban sprawl of Tokyo seen from Mount Takao

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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

Tours and Experiences