community-forum community-penpal community-userReports destinations-admission destinations-beenThere-solid destinations-bookmark-solid destinations-city_outline destinations-city_solid destinations-closedDays destinations-date destinations-getThere destinations-hotels destinations-hoursFees destinations-itineraries-3 destinations-nearbySpots destinations-pin-simple-outline destinations-pin-simple destinations-sortBy-dots destinations-tours destinations-town interests-agriculture interests-amusementParks interests-beaches interests-castles interests-city_solid interests-contemporaryArt interests-events interests-festivals interests-flowers interests-foodDrink interests-gardens interests-hiking interests-historicSites interests-industry interests-koyo-single interests-koyo interests-mangaAnime interests-museums interests-nature interests-onsen interests-parks interests-pottery interests-sakura-single interests-sakura interests-scenicRides interests-shopping interests-shrines interests-skiing interests-snow interests-sumo interests-temples interests-traditionalArts interests-traditionalTheater interests-viewpoints interests-volcanoes interests-wildlife interests-winterIlluminations news-section planning-tickets-2 planning-transportation-access planning-transportation-bicycle planning-transportation-boat planning-transportation-bus planning-transportation-car planning-transportation-plane planning-transportation-shinkansen planning-transportation-tickets planning-transportation-train planning-transportation-walk shapes-chevron-down shapes-circle shapes-star social-fb social-gplus social-instagram social-twitter social-youtube ui-alert-construction ui-alert-warning ui-calendar ui-confirmed-outline ui-confirmed-solid ui-date ui-globe ui-lightbulb ui-no_entry ui-ok ui-pencil ui-reverse ui-search ui-time ui-video-play ui-x user-avatar
Autumn Color Report 2014
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

previous post
list all posts
next post

2014/10/21 - Nikko Report
by joe

Morning mist rising from Yunoko Lake

With autumn colors coming to a finish on higher mountains like Tateyama and Nasu, some of the best places to find fall color at this mid-point in the season are the areas just below the highest elevations. Nikko just so happens to be one of those special places that features a huge range of elevations, and a long fall color season. To see how far the colors have moved down the mountains since my last report from Nikko two weeks ago, I headed back there again today.

Amidst a thick morning mist and overcast sky, I started again at the highest part of the national park in Okunikko. The foliage on the trees around the high Konsei pass and the Yumoto Onsen area was all but gone today, though a few pockets of trees were still holding on to their yellows and reds.

The view from the road leading from Konsei Pass to Yumoto Onsen
The last of the autumn leaves lingering above Yumoto Onsen
A duck enjoying some fall leaves as much as I was

Senjogahara marshland and Ryuzu Waterfall, a little further down from Yumoto Onsen, were also well past their peak today. The coniferous larch trees that grow on Senjogahara, though, tend to turn a deep yellow slightly later than other trees, and were still lovely against the orangish brown marsh grasses and low white clouds today.

Clouds hanging low over Senjogahara marshland's still-yellow larch trees
The trees at the top of Ryuzu Waterfall shedding their last leaves
Ryuzu Waterfall

As I moved further down in elevation, it was clear that the place to see autumn color this week is around Lake Chuzenji. The colors of these trees have peaked this week and will probably last through next week, although Mount Nantai was already rather brown. To find a great spot to view the leaves in this area (though perhaps on a clearer day than today), take a 10-15 minute drive up nearby Mount Hangetsuyama. The observation decks that are just a 20-30 minute hike from the upper parking area offer a fanstastic vantage point over Chuzenji, Mount Nantai and the iconic Hachodejima Peninsula.

The autumn color around Lake Chuzenji was at its peak today, while Mount Nantai's higher trees are browning
A sightseeing boat circling Hachodejima Peninsula, at its peak color this week
Foliage around Lake Chuzenji
Boats lined up on the shore of Lake Chuzenji

Just off the lake, the foliage around the Kegon Falls, considered one of Japan's three best waterfalls in Japan, was already a bit past-peak but still colorful.

Kegon Falls
Tourists crowding to take pictures of Kegon Falls

Traveling just beyond Kegon Falls, I found the switchback-riddled Irohazaka Road in full color today. The huge slopes around the road were covered in splashes of yellows and reds that would've been amazing on a sunny day, but were nonetheless impressive to me (and the throngs of tourists oohing and aahing alongside me). Before driving down the road, I drove up to the Akechidaira Plateau not far from Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji. The plateau has great views over the road and the valley it winds through, and for a 730-yen roundtrip ropeway ride, you can access an even higher viewpoint with views across Okunikko and Kegon Falls.

The trees around Irohazaka Road are at their peak this week.
Irohazaka Road
The view from Irohazaka Road

For my last stop in Nikko, I made my way down the Irohazaka Road to the Toshogu Shrine area and visited the Shoyoen Garden beside the immense (and still-scaffolded) Rinnoji Temple. The 400-year-old temple garden is a popular place to enjoy autumn color, and since my last visit two weeks ago, almost all of the Japanese maple (momiji) that appear all around the garden have turned much redder. While its peak is maybe a week or so away, the garden was still colorful and very peaceful and atmospheric with raindrops dangling off of tree branches and a light mist floating past the small teahouse.

A Japanese maple tree (momiji) turning colors just outside of Rinnoji Temple
A visitor enjoying Rinnoji Temple's Shoyoen Garden
The autumn color will be peaking soon at Shoyoen Garden
Red momiji in Shoyoen Garden

previous post
list all posts
next post

List of Posts:
2014/12/05 - Tokyo Report
2014/12/04 - Kanazawa Report
2014/12/03 - Kyoto Report
2014/12/02 - Kamakura Report
2014/11/28 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/27 - Tokyo Report
2014/11/26 - Nara Report
2014/11/25 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/21 - Osaka Report
2014/11/20 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/19 - Korankei Report
2014/11/18 - Miyajima Report
2014/11/18 - Tokyo Report
2014/11/17 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/14 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/14 - Himeji Report
2014/11/13 - Fuji Report
2014/11/13 - Tokyo Report
2014/11/12 - Eiheiji Report
2014/11/11 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/07 - Tokyo Report
2014/11/07 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/06 - Yamadera Report
2014/11/04 - Fuji Report
2014/11/04 - Hakone Report
2014/10/31 - Karuizawa Report
2014/10/29 - Shima Onsen Report
2014/10/24 - Fuji Report
2014/10/21 - Bandai Report
2014/10/21 - Nikko Report
2014/10/20 - Towada Report
2014/10/16 - Tateyama Report
2014/10/15 - Kurikoma Report
2014/10/08 - Nasu Report
2014/10/07 - Nikko Report
2014/10/01 - Oze Report
2014/09/29 - Tateyama Report
2014/09/26 - Nikko Report
2014/09/19 - Tokachidake Report
2014/09/18 - Kurodake Report
2014/09/17 - Asahidake Report

Tours and Experiences