The Twilight of Autumn in Karasawa

Among those who appreciate autumn foliage in Japan, Karasawa is holy ground.  A place to be revered even as the brief period of colorful leaves is savoured.  And like any season, this one is coming to an end.   In Karasawa, early to mid October represents the peak of what is called “koyo” season in Japan.  Closer to ground level, of course, you can still enjoy lots of autumn color.  In fact, it is now right around peak time in the Kappa Bridge area.  But higher up the shadow of winter is already starting to appear. 





On the last long weekend, from the 6th to the 8th, scores of campers came to Karasawa to take in the autumn at its peak and they were not disapointed.  As you can see here, visitors were greeted by fine weather and memorable sights.  The reds and yellows of October set the hills ablaze with a warm pallette of color.




These photos from the Shirakaba Lodge blog give a good idea of the conditions at Karasawa two weeks ago.




More recently, we had a spell of rainy weather in the Kamikochi area, but when it broke we were once again treated the sight of autumn glades bathed in sunlight.  This past weekend in particular boasted perfect weather from beginning to end.  Still, a little rain and wind can make for a chilly day in the hills, so be sure to check the weather forecasts before heading out and always pack rain gear.


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As with the brief and glorious cherry blossom season in the spring, autumn “koyo” is a short-lived period of surpassing beauty, made more sublime by the fact that you have to catch it at the right moment or wait another year for it to come again. 


Then again, as the great Romantic poet William Blake tells us:


“He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sun rise.”


Let’s face it, the sights of autumn wouldn’t be so special if we could enjoy them every day.  The seasons pass, taking their seasonal finery with them, but the mountains and wooden glades will always remain, sacred and protected at the heart of Kamikochi.  There’s something to enjoy throughout the autumn season, and we recommend you make the most of it before regular business in the park shuts down in November.


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Sources of information:

Shirakabaso Website:

Myojinkan Blog: