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Autumn Color Report 2011
Official autumn color reports by japan-guide.com
Guide to Autumn Colors - Schedule of upcoming reports - Post your own report

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2011/10/27 - Nikko Report
by scott

Today I took a trip to Nikko to follow up on the progress of the autumn colors. So far this season I haven't really had the chance to see any good autumn colors (koyo), but looking at our last report from the area really reignited my interest. And even though it has been two weeks since that last visit, Nikko's unusually long koyo season gave me a chance to see some colors at their peak.

I arrived at Okunikko (Inner Nikko) at the very back of the national park from Gunma Prefecture via Konsei Pass, where I was greeted by mostly bare trees and harsh light. The colors around Lake Yumoto were not much better, and only some late changing trees still had yellow leaves. It was the same sight at Yudaki Falls at the outlet of Lake Yumoto. I think it's fair to say that the season has come to a close at the higher regions of the park.

The colors around Konsei Pass are almost gone
Lake Yunoko at Yumoto Onsen
Yudaki Waterfall

Next I headed to Senjogahara Marsh which was not faring much better than around Lake Yumoto. Our favorite larch tree had dropped most of its needles and the marsh grasses were mostly looking brown and dried up. Strangely, I didn't see many people on the trails as I headed into the marsh despite their being a line of cars waiting to get into the parking lot.

Senjogahara Marsh

Ryuzu Falls, one of the area's more popular koyo spots, is usually even further ahead in the season than the higher parts of Okunikko. So it wasn't surprising to find that the season is pretty much finished around there too. Compared to two weeks ago, very few people were still making visits to the waterfall.

Upper area of Ryuzu Waterfall
Some yellow larch trees are left above the waterfall
Terrible light conditions and no more colors around Ryuzu Falls

The higher viewpoints around Lake Chuzenjiko looked to be just beyond the peak of the season. The beautiful red leaves that Schauwecker saw around the Hangetsuyama Observation Deck a few weeks ago were no longer there. However the trees lower down along the shores of the lake were right around their peak, and Lake Chuzenjiko should continue to look nice through next week.

Lake Chuzenjiko from the Hangetsuyama Observation Deck
Nice colors along Lake Chuzenjiko
Sightseeing cruise ships patrol the lake

Despite its proximity to the lake, the trees immediately around Kegon Falls, seem to have surpassed the rest of the lake and look to be beyond the peak of the season. Regardless, it was probably the most crowded spot of the day as busload after busload of school kids and other visitors came to check out the falls.

Kegon Waterfall
Dozens of school kids were visiting the falls today

The highlight of the day was the winding Irohazaka road that connects Okunikko with the temple and town areas of Nikko below. The colors along the road were at their peak and it made for a beautiful drive down the mountain.

Irohazaka road
Irohazaka road
Waterfalls seen along Irohazaka road

There were lots of people out today though, and after battling several kilometers of traffic I finally made it to the last stop of my day, Shoyoen Garden, next to Rinnoji Temple. The garden's maple trees are still changing color, and are quickly approaching their peak. Some trees are still a little green, but the garden could reach peak season very soon if the good koyo weather continues.

Shoyoen Garden
Shoyoen Garden
Shoyoen Garden

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List of Posts:
2011/12/13 - Tokyo Report
2011/12/08 - Kamakura Report
2011/12/05 - Tokyo Report
2011/12/02 - Kyoto Report
2011/12/01 - Nara Report

2011/11/30 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/29 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/28 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/27 - Tokyo Report
2011/11/27 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/23 - Kanazawa Report
2011/11/22 - Tokyo Report
2011/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/21 - Miyajima Report
2011/11/20 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/18 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/15 - Tokyo Report
2011/11/13 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/12 - Unzen Report
2011/11/09 - Sakurayama Report
2011/11/08 - Fujigoko Report
2011/11/04 - Kurobe Report
2011/11/02 - Mitakesan Report

2011/10/27 - Nikko Report
2011/10/27 - Towadako Report
2011/10/26 - Hakkodasan Report
2011/10/21 - Fukushima Report
2011/10/20 - Zao Report
2011/10/19 - Naruko Report
2011/10/12 - Nikko Report
2011/10/12 - Oze Report
2011/10/07 - Nasu Report
2011/10/03 - Nikko Report

2011/09/27 - Norikura Report
2011/09/14 - Ginsendai Report
2011/09/13 - Asahidake Report

Tours and Experiences