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Hakone: Peak Colors

It's the second week of November and autumn is progressing nicely as the temperatures continue to fall. Today I went to check out the autumn colors in the famous national park area around Hakone, a popular side trip and hot spring resort less than 100 kilometers from Tokyo.

The Hakone area is blessed with a relatively large height differential from the high to lowlands that permits for a long showing of colors as they leak down the mountain slopes and typically peak around early November. Today, the area proved true to past form, with much of the area, high and low being on the verge of if not very much in peak. This being said, today I was afforded some nice views in the various areas I visited.


Peak Color

The first stop today was Onshi Hakone Park adjacent to Hakone Detached Palace. The weather was decidedly dreary, but the colors were really starting to make a good show, giving the park an overall pronounced autumnal ambiance.

Early morning photos from Onshi Hakone Park's observation platform
Colors and cobwebs
up close and damp at Onshi Hakone Park

Next I headed to the Komagatake Ropeway which was showing optimum colors through the fog that so often lingers around the peaks of the mountain. The colors were most vibrant towards the top of the mountain but were starting to show nicely at the lower levels too.

Looking up the misty Komagatake Ropeway
Views from the rope way
Lovely colors

From the Komagatake Ropeway I headed to the hot spring town of Yumoto. On the way the clouds parted and allowed for the first bit of sunshine I'd seen all morning. The town itself seemed to be on the turn if not at peak just yet, but it can be expected that within the next week or two the river banks will be alive with color.

Yumoto glistens in the sun
The bustling shopping streets of Yumoto

Hakone Open Air Museum is a popular tourist destination in these parts for its outdoor fields of interesting sculptures from international artists. The autumn colors weren't bad either, progressing nicely in the park and peaking on the surrounding mountains. For the best views, I recommend climbing to the observation deck atop the museum's Symphonic Sculpture.

Color bleeds through the leaves
Sculptures with a tinge of autumn at The Hakone Open Air Museum
Chocolate leaves
Beautiful colors
The view from the Symphonic Sculpture

The final stop of the day was around the banks of Lake Ashinoko at Moto Hakone. The sun was just about to set, and the late afternoon light highlighted the foliage, which was just about at peak color, to make for some beautiful gold and orange shimmers. With the lake shore seemingly having recently reached optimum color, I'd estimate that the autumnal scenes will be great around these parts for the coming week to ten days.

Moto Hakone shore
Starting to look autumnal at Hakone Shrine
Torii at Moto Hakone
Fiery reds and oranges
Jammin' out
Great place for photos
Fisherman on Lake Ashinoko at sunset
Lakeside views
Romance on the lake shore