|Autumn Color Report 2015|
Official autumn color reports by japan-guide.com
2015/10/15 - Nikko Report
Today, I went to Nikko for a follow up Nikko autumn color report. I visited Okunikko and Nikko to see how the colors had developed since the last time Joe went nine days ago. The autumn colors are starting to move down towards the lower town area. While there were still some color to be seen at higher elevations around Okunikko, the leaves were starting to fall. There were definitely lots of crunchy leaves along the road side which made very satisfying crunching sounds as I stepped on them.
I started early from Okunikko, a national park area up in the mountains behind Nikko Town and had my first super cold day this year. It was minus three degrees and I was glad to have a warm car and my jacket with me. Despite the chilly temperatures, it was a beautiful day with blue skies and not so many clouds. It warmed up quickly as the day progressed and as I made my way towards lower elevations. Great weather also meant that there were going to lots of visitors as well, but I was still surprised at the number of people I saw at most of the places I went. There were school groups, overseas tour groups and lots of retirees checking out the autumn colors.
My first stop was Konsei Pass, the entrance to Okunikko. The colors here were still beautiful, lots of yellow which made a great contrast against the blue sky. From Konsei Pass, I moved on to Lake Yunoko, which had more colors compared to the last time Joe was here.
A short drive from Lake Yunoko brought me to Senjogahara Marsh. The scenery on the way there was gorgeous as the trees that lined the road were all yellow and orange. I parked at one of the parking areas nearby and headed into the marshland to check out the autumn foilage along the various trails. Because it had been so cold in the morning, there was a bit of frost on the grounds and the boardwalks.
From Senjogahara Marsh, I drove down to Ryuzunotaki falls to check out the colors. The colors here definitely intensified and became fiery red compared to Joe's first Nikko report. However, the leaves have also begun to fall and it won't be long before the trees shed their leaves for the winter.
From the waterfall, I headed to Lake Chuzenjiko and visited Hangetsuyama to check out the observation deck. I wasn't disappointed with the view from the observation deck at all, thanks to the beautiful weather. For those without a car, there is a bus to Hangetsuyama from Chuzenji Onsen that departs about once an hour. From the car park/bus stop, it is another 20 to 30 minute hike up the mountain to the observation deck.
My final stop was Irohazaka road, which is a winding section of the National Route 120 that is popular for its autumn foilage. It is split into uphill and downhill sections, the Daiichi Irohazaka road is about 6.5 kilometers long and goes down towards to Nikko city from Lake Chuzenji, while the Daini Irohazaka road which is about nine kilometers long goes up in the opposite direction. The last time Joe was here, the trees were mostly green with slight yellow tinges. Today, the trees have started to take on more color and I expect them to become more vibrant over the next week or so.