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Mount Fuji: Approaching Peak

Mount Fuji seen from the lower part of the Fuji Subaru Line

We've now reached the middle of the season for autumn colors in Japan, and last Friday Raina reported that Nikko was at peak colors. However it's likely that colors in Tokyo and Kyoto won't be at their best until the second half of November, as Andrew reported last week that Kyoto was still green.

Today I went to the Fuji Five Lakes region to check the leaf conditions at some of the most iconic spots near the northern base of Mount Fuji. I'm happy to report that it is a great time to visit the area. Lake Yamanakako, Chureito Pagoda, and the Fuji Subaru Line up to the Mount Fuji 5th station were all approaching peak or at peak colors. Only the maple corridor on the northern shores of Lake Kawaguchiko had leaves that were mostly green. The trees in region seem to be changing at an average pace. Based on the lack of heavy rain or storms in the forecast, I would predict that the region will continue to look good through mid November.

Fuji Subaru Line

Peak Color

To start the day I took a drive up the Fuji Subaru Line which is a toll road that leads to the 5th station of the Yoshida hiking trail up Mount Fuji. With an elevation change of 1,448m, there were naturally some differences in the states of the leaves. Starting from the bottom on the toll road, three quarters of the drive was at peak colors with the larch trees looking only slightly past peak at the top. There were also some spectacular views along the way.

The view near the bottom of the toll road looking vibrant
Larch trees near the top of the toll road
The Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station
The Fujisan Komitake Shrine at the 5th Station
The view of Lake Yamanakako from the 5th Station

Lake Yamanakako

Approaching Peak

My next stop was Yuyake no Nagisa Park located along the southern shore of Lake Yamanakako. Many of the maple trees were approaching peak colors and the view of Mount Fuji from the nearby lake shoreline was particularly stunning. This is an especially good time to visit since the Yamanakako Autumn Leaves Festival is being held between October 26 and November 11 with an evening illumination everyday of the festival between 16:30 and 21:00.

Banners for the Yamanakako Autumn Leaves Festival line the walk way into the park
Enjoying the autumn colors of Nagisa Park
Beautiful maple leaves shinning in the sun
A pleasant rest hut in the park
The view of Mount Fuji from the southern shores of Lake Yamanakako

Chureito Pagoda

Peak Color

Chureito Pagoda, which is known for its particularly good view of Mount Fuji, did not disappoint with the fall colors at their peak. The orange leaves of the cherry blossom trees that surround the pagoda framed Mount Fuji beautifully and the maples along the stairways were also looking good. The cherry trees on the mountain slope below the pagoda though have started to lose their color.

The walk up to the Chureito Pagoda had many great photo spots
Mount Fuji seen through the giant torii on the stairs leading to Chureito Pagoda
Capturing Mount Fuji
Chureito Pagoda framed by cherry blossom trees
Mount Fuji and the Chureito Pagoda looks amazing surrounded by autumn colors
The cherry blossoms on the hill were just past peak

Lake Kawaguchiko

Starting to Change

Lastly, I ended the day at Lake Kawaguchiko and found the trees along the walking paths to be looking good with the sakura and ginkgo trees displaying vibrant colors. However, the popular maple corridor was just starting to change colors. Although the lower entrance had promising red hues, the interior was almost entirely green. If you're aiming to see the corridor at its best, I recommend coming in two weeks. The Momiji Festival of Fujikawaguchiko will be held November 1 to November 23 from 9:00 to 19:00 with an illumination lasting until 22:00.

Some nice colors on the northern shores of Lake Kawaguchiko
The walking paths along the northern shores of Lake Kawaguchiko
The entrance to the maple corridor had some nice red colors
The maples have only just started to turn at the beginning of the maple corridor
The interior of the maple corridor was still green
Visitors enjoying the view inside the maple corridor even without the autumn colors