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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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2015/11/25 - Miyajima Report
by scott

Itsukushima Shrine

Today I headed over to Miyajima in Hiroshima Prefecture to check out the autumn colors (koyo) on the island. When Raina visited Miyajima two weeks ago the foliage was just shy of the peak. Unfortunately, koyo doesn't last forever and by now the majority of sights around the shrine island are devoid of colorful foliage save some pockets here and there.

On the ferry to the island
Itsukushima Shrine's famous floating torii gate
One of the more autumn colorful views of the floating shrine

I started the day passing by Itsukushima Shrine and heading up the mountain slope to Momijidani Park, which is one of the island's prime koyo spots as it is just filled with maple trees. However, by now most of the maple leaves have turned brown or fallen or both, and the park is mostly just populated by bare branches. There were a few lone, colorful trees here and there if you looked hard enough though.

Can you spot the deer in Momijidani Park?
Along one of the streams through the park
The approach to the ropeway station

At the top of the park is the ropeway station where you can catch a gondola and then transfer to a ropeway to a secondary peak of Mount Misen. I didn't have very high expectations for the colors, due to the barrenness of the maples around the lower town areas, however I was pleasantly surprised to see some wild maples and a few other later changing trees dotting the mountainside with their colorful foliage.

Sparse yet nice colors under the gondola
Good views of the Seto Inland Sea from the ropeway
The (green) view from the Shishiiwa Observatory

I arrived at the topmost Shishiiwa Station amid a light drizzle, and proceeded to hike the 20-30 minute climb to Mount Misen's highest peak. There were not many color along the way, but the hike was nice and passed by several interesting sights related to Kobo Daishi before culminating at a beautiful, relatively new observation deck at the 500 meter high peak.

Hiding out from the rain at Misen Hondo
No colors up at the peak, but an almost new, very well designed observation deck
Someone has dressed up all the statues around the Hondo
The start of the Daisho-in Hiking Trail down the mountain
Fallen leaves littered the paths

It was getting wetter and wetter so I hastily made my way back down the mountain along the Daisho-in Hiking Trail, which lead to Daisho-in Temple. The temple grounds are another of Miyajima's best koyo spots as there are plenty of maple trees planted around the buildings, which are complemented by an interesting collection of statues, artwork, ponds, and other more lighthearted Buddhist relics to enjoy while exploring.

Two weeks ago, Raina reported that the colors were just approaching peak, so I would have expected that the temple's koyo to be just about over by now. Luckily that didn't seem to be the case and the trees here were holding out as long as possible. The peak was clearly still not over, though the colors were not nearly as dense as when Raina visited.

Daisho-in looked to be still at peak from across the small valley
Wet sutras line the stairway up to the main temple grounds
It was raining quite a storm while I was at the temple
You know what these guys are doing
You could ring the temple bell (for a small donation)
Rakan statues in small knit hats
The rakan were so expressive. Each had a different face and pose.

After hopping a ferry and train back to Hiroshima, I made my last stop at Shukkeien, a traditional Japanese garden about a 10-15 minute walk away from Hiroshima Station. The large garden is designed in a style that miniaturizes famous scenic views, for example, using small manmade hills to represent mountains or ponds as lakes and oceans.

I've visited in spring, when Shukkeien shows off its stuff as one of Hiroshima's popular cherry blossom spots. The cherries there are indeed quite nice, and I'm happy to report that there are plenty of maples planted all around the garden's large pond making it a nice koyo spot as well. Though not quite at the peak yet, the maples were showing off some nice orange and yellows and should continue to improve for several more days. In addition, the garden will be illuminated evenings until 21:00 through November 29th (this Sunday).

Shukkeien Garden
The garden is recognizable by its stone bridge
Autumn colors were mostly provided by maple trees
Construction work started yesterday on the Seifukan roof. It's scheduled to be completed by March 25, 2016.

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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