by Scott, staff writer of japan-guide.com
This journal is a log of my travels within Japan. Here you'll find my personal opinions on the places I've been and the things I've seen. Also expect to see the occasional review and editorial. Thanks for reading.
2012/11/15 - Autumn Color Report: Mount Fuji
Today I made a follow up visit to the Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko) region on the northern side of Mount Fuji. It's been ten days since our last visit to the area, and since then the autumn foliage has improved to the point that most of the trees were around their peak colors today. And unlike a week and a half ago, today's weather was absolutely beautiful and Mount Fuji was in prominent view pretty much the entire day.
My first stop was to the northern shore of Lake Kawaguchiko. Over the last ten days the cherry trees have passed their peak, and the maple trees have taken over as the dominant autumn foliage. There aren't as many maples as cherry trees, but they were right around their peak today, and glowed beautiful shades of red and yellow. The brilliant maples combined with the red tsutsuji bushes underneath made for a northern shore that was redder than I've ever seen it before. Better check it out soon if you can. The koyo festival and evening light ups (until 10PM) will continue to be held here until November 18th.
Just a few steps away is the Maple Corridor which eventually leads to the Kubota Itchiku Kimono Museum. The maples along the canal have improved quite a bit and there were nice colors especially around the entrance to the corridor. The maples deeper in were not as far along and still a bit before their peak.
Continuing around the lake takes you to the Koyo Tunnel, which was extremely crowded today with dozens of cars parked along the road. The trees along the Koyo Tunnel were only slightly behind the rest of the northern shore today, and many were either at the peak or quickly approaching their peak. It was definitely worth the visit.
After finishing up at Lake Kawaguchiko, I drove over to Lake Yamanakako, the largest of the Fuji Five Lakes. Since the weather was so good, I first headed over the northern shore to try and catch a picture of Mount Fuji behind the lake. Most of the colors along this side of the Yamanakako are provided by the red tsutsuji bushes planted along the strolling paths. While it they were pretty nice, it looks as if they are already past their peak as they only had about half of their leaves left.
Afterwards, I drove back around to the western shore to check out the Yuyake no Nagisa Park near the Asahigaoka bus stop (also known as Yamanakako bus stop). The trees around Lake Yamanakako progress faster than those around Lake Kawaguchiko, and it seems that they have passed their peak already. The maple leaves were beginning to look dull and dry, and lots of fallen leaves littered the ground. Most tellingly, the area's koyo festival and light up events have ended for the season. However, the area was still pleasant in its own way, but you had better visit soon if Yamanakako is in your plans.