After a hot and slow start to the autumn color season in September, the temperatures have dropped to below average in many parts of Japan over the past month, resulting in an acceleration of the season.
Today I visited Mount Fuji and found the colors around the mountain to be at their peak in the high elevations and starting to color or approaching their peak around the Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko). While the colors will soon fade in the higher elevations, the Fuji Five Lake area should remain an attractive autumn color destination through at least the first half of November.
My first stop of the day was the Chureito Pagoda in Fujiyoshida City at the northern base of Mount Fuji. The mountain was unfortunately hidden behind clouds for most of the day, but there were already a few nice colors to be enjoyed around the pagoda. The cherry tree leaves should intensify their color over the next few days but may not hang on to their branches too much longer, while the maple trees should excel into the peak of their seasonal beauty in the first half of November.
The maple trees lining the main road along the northern shores of Lake Kawaguchiko around the Kawaguchiko Music Forest and Kawaguchiko Museum of Art already displayed some brilliant colors today, but overall the season here was still at an early stage. The cherry trees lining the lake shore were still greenish, and the Maple Corridor, where a local autumn color festival with nightly illuminations is scheduled for November 7-29, 2020, was still mostly green.
Mount Mitsutoge is a 1785 meter tall mountain north of Mount Fuji, offering beautiful views of Japan's tallest volcano. There are several hiking trails to reach its summit, and depending on the trailhead, the ascent takes between one and four hours. While the autumn colors were at their peak around Mount Mitsutoge's summit, both Mount Mitsutoge and Mount Fuji were wrapped in clouds today, providing only rather limited views of the surroundings. Check this past report to see how spectacular the views of Mount Fuji can be from Mount Mitsutoge in autumn.
Like other Japanese mountains, Mount Fuji is divided into ten stations, with the 1st station near the base of the mountain and the 10th station being the summit. Several roads climb as far as the 5th station, i.e. about halfway up the mountain. Today I drove up to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station to view the autumn colors in the higher elevations of Mount Fuji and was treated to spectacular views of golden larch trees just below the volcano's tree line. The colors around the 5th Station should remain nice for a few more days while gradually moving further down the slopes.
At Lake Yamanakako, one of the Fuji Five Lakes, I visited Yuyake no Nagisa Park near Asahigaoka/Yamanakako bus stop where an autumn color festival with nightly illuminations is scheduled for October 30 to November 15, 2020. The lakeside park features a large number of maple trees, most of which were still rather green today.