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Autumn Color Report 2013
Official autumn color reports by japan-guide.com

Where to see autumn leaves? - When do trees turn colors? - What trees turn colors?
Schedule of upcoming reports - Post your own report

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2013/10/17 - Nikko Report
by sean

Slightly more than a week after Schauwecker last reported from Nikko, I made a trip there today to check out its autumn colors. Each fall, the japan-guide.com team visits Nikko a few times because the area has a relatively long autumn color season. The colors first arrive at the Okunikko area, because of its higher altitude, around early to mid October, before gradually moving down to the town of Nikko around early to mid November.

Approaching from the west, I started the day at the Konsei Pass, and was greeted by some flakes of falling snow, as well as a forest of larch trees whose leaves had turned yellow. Going slightly downhill took me to Yumoto Onsen Town. Interestingly, viewing the town from above as I proceeded towards it, I found that the colors still had room for improvement, but around Yunoko Lake at the town, many trees had already shedded most of their leaves.

View from Konsei Pass
Looking onto Yumoto Onsen Town
Along Yunoko Lake

My next stop was at Senjogahara Marshland, where the grass had turned brownish-gold and the larches, yellow. Other trees had lost their leaves baring grey branches, while some low shrubs remained green. The peak colors here at the marshland should continue for another week or so to captivate more visitors.

Sunshine into the woods
Close up on larch leaves
Approaching the marshland
Senjogahara Marshland
Stream by the marsh
Duck dives in for a catch

Many people had gathered around Ryuzunotaki Waterfall - as usual, and today everybody was able to witness colors here that were close to their best.

Ryuzunotaki Waterfall from the top
Nice maples
Ryuzunotaki Waterfall from the bottom

Descending further to lower elevations took me to the Chuzenji Lake area, where colors were only on their road to the halfway mark. I visited the Hangetsuyama Observation Deck to get a bird's eye view of the lake and Mount Nantai. Autumn colors here will get more beautiful with another week or so of crisp temperatures, but the scenery was already gorgeous as it was.

Lunch close to the parking lot at the foot of the Hangetsuyama Observation Deck
The butterfly
View from the Hangetsuyama Observation Deck

Less than five minutes' drive away was Kegon Waterfall, which in my opinion is the most impressive waterfall in Japan. Autumn leaves were slightly off the halfway mark, and should similarly require bathing in several more cool nights before they show their "true colors".

Kegon Waterfall

Finally, I headed to Akechidaira to catch a good view of the autumn leaves situation at the irohazaka slopes. The colors were just beginning to change and it would likely take another two to three weeks before lovely autumn colors can be spotted here.

Irohazaka viewed from Akechidaira

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List of Posts:
2013/12/11 - Tokyo Report
2013/12/10 - Kyoto Report
2013/12/06 - Kamakura Report
2013/12/03 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/29 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/28 - Kanazawa Report
2013/11/27 - Osaka Report
2013/11/26 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/26 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/21 - Miyajima Report
2013/11/20 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/19 - Korankei Report
2013/11/18 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/18 - Fujigoko Report
2013/11/13 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/12 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/11 - Sakurayama Report
2013/11/08 - Karuizawa Report
2013/11/06 - Fujigoko Report
2013/10/30 - Towada Report
2013/10/29 - Nikko Report
2013/10/29 - Yamadera Report
2013/10/28 - Urabandai Report
2013/10/22 - Gunma Report
2013/10/18 - Nasu Report
2013/10/17 - Nikko Report
2013/10/14 - Fujisan Report
2013/10/12 - Hakkodasan Report
2013/10/10 - Oze Report
2013/10/08 - Nikko Report
2013/09/27 - Tateyama Report
2013/09/21 - Kurodake Report
2013/09/20 - Asahidake Report

Tours and Experiences