Staff Reports
Raina's Japan Travel Journal
by Raina, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2014/10/31 - Autumn Color Report: Karuizawa

Autumn colors with Mount Asama in the background

After Joe's report from Shima Onsen in Gunma Prefecture, I headed to Karuizawa an upmarket mountain resort in Nagano Prefecture today. Just over an hour away from Tokyo by shinkansen, Karuizawa is a popular getaway for both foreign tourists and those living in the Kanto Region; offering various outdoor activies, shopping, and dining.

My first stop for today was the observation platform at Usui Pass where I had beautiful panoramic views of the mountain ranges of both Gunma and Nagano prefectures. As the observation platform straddles both prefectures, I managed to be in two places at the same time. I also went to check out the Kumano Kotai Shine nearby. Unfortunately, asides from a few trees, the autumn color season here is over.

Maple leaves
I wasn't the first one up the observatory
Looking down towards Gunma Prefecture from the observatory
Colors still strong on this tree
Left foot in Gunma, right foot in Nagano, I'm in two prefectures at the same time
On the grounds of Kumano Kotai Shrine
Fallen maples on grass
Entrance to Kumano Kotai Shrine

From Usui Pass, I headed down to Kumobaike Pond, to check out the autumn colors there. While the colors at this photogenic pond are still beautiful with lots of red, brown and yellow leaves, they are reaching the end of their peak with lots of crunchy leaves on the ground.

Fallen leaves
Kumobaike Pond, nicknamed Swan Lake
Maples against pink leaves at Kumobaike Pond
Red leaves around the pond
Around Kumobaike Pond
Single red maple in a sea of yellow-brown leaves

As tour groups started coming in by the bus loads, I left for another popular tourist spot in Karuizawa, Shiraito no Taki, a three meter high and 70 meter wide waterfall. Unfortunately, the autumn color season here is past peak, with more leaves on the ground and bare branches on the trees. Leaving Shiraito no Taki, I drove further up to Onioshidashi Park in Gunma Prefecture. Entrance to the park costs 650 yen, and it is a short walk from the ticket entrace to the shrine. The area is formed by volcanic rocks strewn all over when Mount Asama had a big eruption in 1783. While there weren't much autumn colors to see at the park, the area north of the park had many trees that looked like they were at their peak.

The area around Shiraito no Taki looking very brown
Small falls from Shiraito no Taki
Oni cut-out in front of Mount Asama
Autumn colors north of the park
Asama Kannon-do Temple with Mount Asama in the background

For my last stop, I headed to Karuizawa Taliesin, a large park in Naka-Karuizawa to check out the autumn colors by Lake Shiozawa (the pond on the park grounds). Entrance into Taliesin costs 800 yen, and I saw many a number of people picnicking in the park and drawing. Like at Kumobaike Pond, the colors here are starting to reach the end of their peak with lots of leaves on the ground. To round up my trip to Karuizawa, I went to Harunire Terrace and chanced upon their outdoor fall library.

At the entrance of Taliesin which was decorated with pumpkins for Halloween
A carpet of crunchy leaves
Wooded trail with lots of colors and leaves on the ground
Mount Asama hiding behind clouds
House on the shore of Lake Shiozawa
View along the way
Outdoor autumn library

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List of Posts:
2018/12/31 - 2018 Travel Highlights
2018/10/25 - Business as usual at Tsukiji Outer Market
2018/08/19 - Hello Kitty Shinkansen
2018/05/16 - Cruising Tokyo's waterways
2018/04/17 - Wisteria blossoms in Ashikaga Flower Park
2018/01/18 - Shinanomachi, the Backcountry of Nagano

2017/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2017
2017/10/25 - The 45th Tokyo Motor Show
2017/10/11 - Dipping into the three onsen towns of Yamanaka, Yamashiro and Katayamazu
2017/07/24 - Remote Riches in Toyama
2017/07/03 - Spiritual Chichibu
2017/05/02 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2017/04/14 - Sneak Peek from Ginza Six
2017/03/21 - A bit of everything in Fukui
2017/03/13 - Nikko Toshogu Uncovered
2017/02/15 - Subculture in Ikebukuro
2017/02/07 - Travel to the Goto Islands
2017/02/06 - Nagasaki Lantern Festival

2016/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2016
2016/12/19 - Winter Illuminations in Tokyo
2016/10/24 - The way of old on the Kunisaki Peninsula
2016/10/11 - Following the Tadami Line in Oku Aizu
2016/08/27 - Fool's Dance at Koenji Awa Odori
2016/08/16 - The three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan
2016/06/20 - Train travel into the Ise-Shima region
2016/04/03 - Setouchi Triennale 2016
2016/03/08 - The hunt for Namahage on the Oga Peninsula
2016/03/02 - Sake Sangria
2016/02/20 - Tokyo Plum Blossom Report
2016/01/26 - Tour de Reinan: Obama, Oi and Takahama
2016/01/25 - Tour de Reinan: Tsuruga, Mihama and Wakasa

2015/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2015
2015/12/10 - 48 hours in Tokushima
2015/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Kankakei
2015/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2015/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/10 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/09 - Autumn Color Report: Koyasan
2015/11/08 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2015/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Dazaifu
2015/10/28 - The 44th Tokyo Motor Show
2015/10/21 - Hirado, where East meets West
2015/10/20 - Kujukushima Islands and Winter Illumination at Huis Ten Bosch
2015/10/19 - Navigating the Christian sites in Nagasaki
2015/10/18 - Cosplay at Haco Stadium Tokyo
2015/10/15 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2015/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2015/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2015/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2015/09/16 - Nakanojo Biennale 2015
2015/08/19 - Traditional culture and hot springs of the Aizu Region
2015/08/17 - Nature and Hot Springs at Naruko Onsen
2015/08/04 - Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 2015
2015/04/30 - Sapporo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/29 - Hakodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/23 - Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/22 - Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/21 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/16 - Sendai Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/09 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/08 - Fukushima Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/06 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/02 - Nara Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/01 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/31 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/27 - Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/26 - Kumamoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/25 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report

2014/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2014
2014/12/15 - Seasonal Illumination: Sendai
2014/12/09 - Seasonal Illumination: Tokyo
2014/12/04 - Autumn Color Report: Kanazawa
2014/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2014/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2014/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2014/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/10/31 - Autumn Color Report: Karuizawa
2014/10/21 - Autumn Color Report: Bandai
2014/10/20 - Autumn Color Report: Towada
2014/10/01 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2014/09/29 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2014/06/19 - Toranomon Hills opens in Tokyo
2014/04/24 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/23 - Morioka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/22 - Aizu-Wakamatsu Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/16 - Matsumoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/15 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/14 - Yoshino Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/13 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/10 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/06 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/05 - Hiroshima Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/04 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/02 - Nagoya Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/31 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/26 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/04 - Early Tokyo Blossom Report