It's the second week of November and autumn is slowly maturing as the temperatures continue to fall. Much of northern Japan has now exceeded peak autumn colors with some parts well underway in their transformation into winter wonderlands. More southern areas remain decidedly autumnal, with some areas still a little while away from seeing peak colors.

In continuing our coverage of this stunning season, today I headed to a little-known gem nestled in the hills of Gunma Prefecture. Sakurayama Park is locally renowned as a great place to catch the autumn colors, with the bonus of being home to multiple species of winter flowering cherry blossoms. The park is unfortunately not well served by public transport, and for this reason it is recommended to travel here by rental car; which can be picked up at outlets in the relatively nearby towns of Takasaki and Shinmachi.


Peak Color

I arrived early at Sakurayama Park and had the place virtually to myself for the most part. The foliage around the pond near the car park was stunning and vibrant, while the colors up atop Mount Sakurayama's peak were a little more subtle but impressive nonetheless. The area is certainly in peak and should stay this way for another couple of weeks. It was also great to see the winter flowering cherry blossoms filling the hillsides with pinks and whites. The branches of the cherry trees seemed to be slightly bare and certainly not as lush as some of the other trees, but it made for lovely sights all the same. The park has illuminations to accentuate the colors nightly from 16:00 to 21:00 until November 27.