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.
2015/11/06 - Autumn Color Report: Mount Fuji
Today I drove down to the Fuji Five Lakes (Fujigoko) region at the base of Mount Fuji to check on the autumn colors (koyo) around the mountain. The Fuji Five Lakes lie at around 1000 meters above sea level, resulting in colors that peak earlier than those in Tokyo, usually lasting from around the end of October to mid November. So after a relatively green Tokyo trip Wednesday, I had my hopes up to see some vibrant fall colors.
As usual, I started the day bright and early at the Chureito Pagoda so that I could get a good shot of the pagoda in combination with Mount Fuji before the clouds rolled in. The cherry trees planted around the pagoda that create the sea of cherry blossoms effect in spring are a little less showy in autumn, and usually turn a dull shade of orange versus the brilliant tones of the maple leaves. The cherries also tend to change relatively early in the season, and by this morning most of the trees around the pagoda had already dropped their leaves.
Instead it was the maple trees along the stairs and the slopes around the pagoda that provided the majority of color today. Still, they remained in the early stages of changing and won't be at their peak for another week or so.
Moving on, my next destination was the Koyo Tunnel on the northern shore of Lake Kawaguchiko. The rows of maple trees along the road looked similar to those near the Chureito Pagoda and will probably need another week or so to reach their peak.
Heading back east I stopped by Oishi Park to see the fire-red kokia bushes that are planted along the shore. The bushes, which resemble tumbleweed, are relatively early changers and by now most of them have lost their fiery glow and have faded to a dull reddish brown.
Next stop was the Maple Corridor, a maple lined canal between the Kubota Itchiku Kimono Museum and the main road. Again, it was a little early to see great colors along the maple corridor, although some of the more exposed trees around the bottom were showing some nice orange and red tones. I suppose it will be another few weeks before it really reaches the peak along the corridor. In the meantime, visitors can enjoy the local autumn festival which features food and craft vendors along the northern lakeshore. The festival runs through November 23rd, during which time the trees along the corridor will be illuminated in the evenings until 22:00.
The popular cherry trees that line the lakeshore nearby also provide some nice colors in the beginning of the autumn season. The cherry trees were still pretty full with dull orange leaves and made for a nice pairing with the lake and Mount Fuji in the distance.
Next I headed about 30 minutes southwest to the lakeside Yuyake no Nagisa Park along the southern shore of Lake Yamanakako. The trees here are usually slightly ahead of those around Lake Kawaguchiko and the maples seem to be approaching or at their peak around the park. This is probably the best I've ever seen it and totally made the trip for me today. Yuyake no Nagisa Park also has an autumn festival that is usually held relatively early in the season. This year it runs from November 8th (Sunday!) with evening illuminations until 21:00.
Since it was so clear still I headed further around the lake to the Panoramadai viewing point about 10 minutes away along route 730. Here you can see the pampas grass covered slopes in combination with Lake Yamanakako and the mountain.