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Autumn Color Report 2015
Official autumn color reports by

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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2015/11/04 - Tokyo Report
by scott

Showa Kinen Koen

The autumn colors around the northern parts of the country seem to be coming to a close a bit faster than in a typical year, leaving us with a bit of a gap before we would normally start covering central and eastern Japan. Regardless, over the past few days we've turned our sights towards some of Japan's most popular koyo viewing spots in our earliest coverage ever from Tokyo and Kyoto

Last week Joe made this year's first koyo report from Kyoto where the leaves were expectedly still green. And today I followed up with my own early trip to Tokyo. Keep in mind, the peak colors are likely still weeks away (and possibly later in Tokyo due to this year's relatively warm temperatures there) so we don't really expect much can be seen around central Tokyo just yet. As a result, the majority of today's reporting was focused on areas outside of the city center that are known to have early colors.

My first stop this morning was a quick visit to the Icho Namiki in central Tokyo to get bearing on the state of the colors in the city. The popular row of ginkgo trees line the approach to the National Stadium at Meiji Jingu Gaien Park, just a short walk from Aoyama-Itchome Station. As expected the trees were still very green and probably still weeks away from their best colors.

The Icho Namiki around Meiji Jingu Gaien Park was still very green
Some of the best colors in the area
It was almost deserted this morning
Looks like we're getting a Shake Shack next week

The next stop on the itinerary was Showa Kinen Koen, a huge city park out in Tachikawa (about 30 minutes from Shinjuku Station along the JR Chuo Line) that was built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the reign of Emperor Showa. The season around Showa Kinen Koen begins about 1-2 weeks earlier than the rest of Tokyo and lasts quite long due in part to the large variety of trees that can be found around the park.

In particular are the 100 or so gingko trees that line the fountains inside the Tachikawa Guchi entrance. While still a bit before the peak, there were some nice colors and vibrant yellow-greens on display. Hopefully it won't be much longer before the trees here reach their peak.

Icho Namiki at Showa Kinen Koen
The path underneath the ginkgoes
With the right backlighting, the leaves would glow in the sun

The other autumn highlight of Showa Kinen Koen is the large Japanese-style garden at the northern end of the park. The Japanese garden includes a large central pond with a tea house and several smaller rest houses around it. Dozens of maple trees are planted around the pond and provided some of the best colors of the day. But it was still rather early in the season and the maples looked like they will improve quite a bit more as they peak over the next few weeks.

Bridge across the large pond at Showa Kinen Koen's Japanese Garden
Nice early colors along the water
More nice colors along the water
The paths around the garden were still relatively green
View out from one of the rest houses around the pond
Not the Japanese Garden, but the cherry trees around a different part of the park

My final stop today was to Mount Takao (Takaosan), a 599 meter high mountain west of the city center, yet still within metropolitan Tokyo. One of the closest and easiest natural recreation areas to the city, Mount Takao is a popular hiking spot and is often crowded with leaf hunters during koyo season. The colors on Takaosan tend to be slightly ahead of the rest of Tokyo, but it is early in the season and green was still the predominant color all along the mountain today. Regardless, it was nice to get out and do some hiking and Takaosan is a good place to combine that with some leaf viewing. Just try to go on the weekdays when it isn't so crowded.

Leaves just starting to color around the bottom of Takaosan
Tokyo from the observation deck. Not many colors up here yet
Still quite green along one of the higher trails
It was a pretty clear day and you could see Mount Fuji in the distance
Some of today's best colors on Takaosan were at the start of the Takaosan-Jinbasan Trail to Itchodaira
Cute statue up at the summit

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List of Posts:
2015/12/09 - Tokyo Report
2015/12/04 - Kyoto Report
2015/12/03 - Tokyo Report
2015/12/01 - Kamakura Report
2015/11/27 - Tokyo Report
2015/11/27 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/27 - Nara Report
2015/11/26 - Osaka Report
2015/11/25 - Miyajima Report
2015/11/24 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/20 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/19 - Tokyo Report
2015/11/19 - Kankakei Report
2015/11/18 - Mount Mitake Report
2015/11/18 - Korankei Report
2015/11/17 - Fujigoko Report
2015/11/17 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/16 - Mount Takao Report
2015/11/13 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/12 - Tokyo Report
2015/11/11 - Hakone Report
2015/11/11 - Fukuroda Falls Report
2015/11/10 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/09 - Koyasan Report
2015/11/08 - Miyajima Report
2015/11/07 - Dazaifu Report
2015/11/06 - Fujigoko Report
2015/11/04 - Tokyo Report
2015/10/30 - Kyoto Report
2015/10/28 - Nikko Report
2015/10/26 - Bandai Report
2015/10/22 - Northern Alps Report
2015/10/21 - Northern Alps Report
2015/10/20 - Mount Fuji Report
2015/10/15 - Hachimantai Report
2015/10/15 - Nikko Report
2015/10/14 - Alpine Route Report
2015/10/14 - Towada Report
2015/10/13 - Hakkoda Report
2015/10/08 - Nasu Report
2015/10/06 - Nikko Report
2015/10/05 - Route 292 Report
2015/09/28 - Oze Report
2015/09/24 - Alpine Route Report
2015/09/17 - Daisetsuzan Report
2015/09/16 - Daisetsuzan Report