Autumn colors across the country are continuing to develop as November marches on, with spots in the higher elevations such as Naruko hitting peak, while other areas such as Kyoto are just starting to change. I started off this week's reports by heading to the Fuji Five Lakes area of Mt. Fuji to check on the colors there.
Two weeks ago, Charles reported that the colors around the mountain were just starting to change. Today I found that for the most part, the colors were still not at their best, but definitely getting there. I would estimate the peak to be within the next week or so.
I started out by heading up to the Chureito Pagoda at sunrise, which offers stunning views of Mt. Fuji off in the distance. The pagoda is surrounded by cherry trees, which were unfortunately already losing their leaves and looking a bit bare. On the other hand, the maples around the pagoda and the steps to reach it were definitely showing some nice colors, with a few still green while others were already into hues of red. Shoulder to shoulder with a number of other early risers, I got a few pictures of the mountain before clouds rolled in to cover it up. Luckily the sun soon burned them off, and I was able to see the beautiful mountain and pagoda with the fall colors all together.
Next up was Lake Kawaguchiko, which has several spots for viewing autumn leaves around the lake. To start was the Maple Tunnel along the lake road, which is definitely approaching peak color but not quite at its best. That didn't stop many a photographer from grabbing a few pictures here, however!
About 3 km further along the road is the northern shore's Maple Corridor. I walked there via the promenade, which is lined by cherry trees. These trees were already a bit past their peak and shedding leaves, but still afforded many interesting spots to photograph them together with Mt. Fuji. The main star here, however, is a little bit further inland and consists of a maple-lined stream that feeds into the lake. The trees here were still quite green aside from a few shows of color. But instead of turning back at the bridge at the end of the corridor, I followed my eyes to a bit more color on past the corridor to the area around the Kubota Itchiku Museum, where the trees were a lot more colorful and further along. Alas, I was too early to enter the museum's grounds, but a few peaks through the gates showed some beautifully colorful trees and garden scenery. It was definitely worth a little more walking for the views there!
A festival celebrating the autumn leaves is currently being held along the north shore until November 23, with booths selling crafts and food from 9AM to 7PM, and a light up along the Maple corridor from sunset to 10PM every evening.
My final stop for the day was Lake Yamanakako, where I first drove along the lakeshore to the Yuyake no Nagisa Park area. This park had a wide range of colors and trees in different stages, from still very green to already losing leaves, but was very beautiful and will probably only continue to improve into next week. The Yamanakako Autumn Leaves Festival is currently going on as well, with some food and picnic areas set up, and a light up event from 4:30PM to 9:00PM until November 10.
From the lake I climbed a curvy mountain road to the Panorama Dai, an observation point at a small parking lot with great views of Mt. Fuji and Yamanakako. It was a very popular place today, especially for motorcycles out enjoying the beautiful weather! The pampas grass turns the plains golden, but already many trees were on the sparse side as the higher elevation comes out of peak season. However the views alone still make this spot a worthy one!