This year's autumn color seaon is in full swing, having already washed much of northern Japan with a flurry of reds, golds and oranges. Following my visit to Nikko last week, today I headed to the beautiful Fujigoko Region that lies in the shadow of Mount Fuji.

The Fujigoko district consists of the areas surrounding the five lakes at the foot of Mount Fuji and has long been a popular autumn color viewing spot, not least for its serene landscapes, but also because of its proximity to Tokyo. Seeing as this was the first visit to Fuji this year, I was looking forward to observing how the foliage would be.

Lake Yamanakako

Approaching Peak

My first stop today was by the glassy Lake Yamanako. For a great vantage point, I headed up to Panorama Dai to the southeast of the lake. While the grass was vibrant and golden, Mount Fuji was covered by cloud! I then made my way down to Yuyake no Nagisa Park by the banks of the lake. The colors down here were approaching peak with some radiant reds and golds. It looks as though Yuyake no Nagisa Park will see some nice coloration for another one to two weeks, and these colors will be accentuated with illuminations every evening from sundown to 21:00 ending on November 6.

Chureito Pagoda

Starting to Change

Next on my list was Chureito Pagoda. Interestingly, the relatively small difference in height between the bottom and the top of the hill on which the pagoda stands made all the difference, with the top being almost at peak whilst the bottom was only just beginning to change. Overall, I give this place another week or so before the colors are optimum.

Lake Kawaguchiko

Starting to Change

My final stop today was by the banks of Lake Kawaguchiko. I first headed to the Maple Corridor, which was still predominantly green with a few bursts of color starting to show. Next I dashed over to Maple Tunnel along the road that winds around the lake, and here the colors were similarly green with a few flashes of red and gold showing in the leaves. I expect that it will still be another week or two before the colors really start to show up around these parts. There is a festival taking place near the Maple Corridor until November 23, with illumianations nightly until 22:00.