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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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2013/11/08 - Karuizawa Report
by sean

Mount Asama viewed from Shiozawa Lake

Today I visited Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture to check out some of its autumn leaf spots. Karuizawa is an upmarket mountain resort popular among both foreign tourists and people from Tokyo looking for a weekend getaway. It offers various outdoor activities, shopping opportunities, relaxing dining areas and scenic locations.

My first stop was at the observation platform at Usui Pass. Most trees have already shedded their leaves, but the views of the surrounding mountain ranges were excellent, with some nice colors at the lower elevations. I also visited the nearby Kumano Shrine, where some maple trees still at their peak provided some great fall colors.

Observation platform at Usui Pass
Fallen leaves
Mountain scenery
Shide at the Kumano Shrine

Following that I made my way to Kumobaike, a small photogenic pond not too far north from Karuizawa Station. Although the colors were a little past their best, views were still great with maple trees and azalea shrubs providing still saturated warm colors. Many other visitors were at the pond to enjoy the lovely scenery.

Picture taking at Kumobaike Pond
Close up of some maple leaves
Reflection in the pond

My next stop was at the Shiraito Falls, where the season has already ended. After taking some time to soak in the nice atmosphere around the falls, I briefly crossed the border into Gunma Prefecture to check out the Onioshidashi Park, which is formed by many volcanic rocks deposited here during the 1783 big eruption of Mount Asama. Today I witnessed some awesome autumn colors from the park looking onto the mountain slopes north. The fall scenery around the park is very pleasant at the moment and should last for about another week at least.

Driving along an avenue of larch trees on the way to Shiraito Falls
Path leading to Shiraito Falls
Shiraito Falls
View from Onioshidashi Park
Kannon Hall at the park
Looking into the distance

My day ended with a visit to Shiozawa Lake about four kilometers southwest of Karuizawa Station. The lake is situated in a park which offers many leisure activities such as riding on paddle boats and playing mini golf. It has several paths which go across its precincts, leading to multiple photogenic spots. While the best autumn colors have already gone, the views around Shiozawa Lake were still very appealing, and should remain good at least through the weekend.

Overall, it was a brilliant day at Karuizawa: I remember gasping at magnificent views of fall colors on several occasions while driving through the town today. The relaxing resort atmosphere and numerous artistic buildings and museums add to this charming destination.

Shiozawa Lake
House by the lake
Maples by the lake

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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