Nikko’s Autumn Colors Have Arrived

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October 28, 2016

Splashes of red dot the mountain sides and patches of yellow have overtaken the lowlands which can only mean that Nikko's autumn colors have arrived! Let's head out for a look, shall we?

Starting at the base of Mount Nantai, at the Senjogahara Marshlands, we see that, as of early October, the birch trees (kaba) have indeed begun to shed their summer greenery and moved all the way into golden yellow. A short, wooden walkway leads through a small copse of trees right across from the Sanbonmatsu Tea Shop. Stop in at the tea shop before or after hiking around for souvenirs, a quick bite, or hot tea.

Sanbonmatsu Tea Shop at Senjogahara Marshlands Viewpoint

Address: 2493 Chugushi, Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, 321-1661

Phone: +81-50-5784-7218

Website: http://sanbonmatsu.moon.bindcloud.jp/

Hour: 7 am - 7 pm

Ryuzu Falls

Traveling down Nihon Romantic Highway to Ryuzu Falls, we see that some Japanese maples (momiji) have gone full red, adding bright tints to otherwise still green riverside forests. For a great view and a bite to eat, stop at the Ryutou Tea Shop and enjoy the colors.

Ryuzu Tea Shop

Address: 2485 Chugushi, Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, 321-1661

Phone: +81-288-55-0157

The autumn colors from the lower deck of Chuzenji Lakeshore Boathouse make for a serene vista.

Moving along, the shores of Lake Chuzenji are still mostly green. Some few trees have changed their colors, or are beginning to show signs of doing so very soon, but it looks like there is a little bit of time left for lake-goers to get the best views.

Lake Chuzenji

Address: Chugushi, Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, 321-1661

Just down the road to Kegon Falls, the autumn colors are only beginning to show through the mists, but the festivals are in full swing. Many of the vendors around the viewing areas are offering seasonal flavors and pairings that make gazing at the falls that much better. Once you’ve seen the sights from the top of the falls, take the Kegon Falls Elevator down to the base and see the colors all over again.

Kegon Falls Elevator

Address: 2479-2 Chugushi, Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, 321-1661

Phone: +81-288-55-0030

Make your last stop Akechidaira Cable Car station, which promises great views of both Lake Chuzenji and Kegon Falls and is a great way to compare the grand view with the closer views you have just seen. Get in line early for tickets as the peak views can get crowded very quickly. It may also be a good idea to call ahead to check weather conditions and visibility.

Akechi-daira Ropeway

Address: 709-5 Hosoo, Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, 321-1445

Phone: +81-288-55-0331

Website (Japanese only): http://www.nikko-kotsu.co.jp/

That's it until next year! All the locations listed in this article are accessible by bus from Nikko City and make for an easy day trip from Tokyo.

Joel Neff


Joel studied Communication at Northern Arizona University way back in the 90s and has spent the past twenty years trying to figure out what to do next. So far that has included working as a photographer, teacher, writer, editor, game maker, and dog walker. He still doesn't know what's next.


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