Lake Yamanaka, Yamanashi Prefecture - Sunset Shore & Autumn Leaves Festival
※Photographed on November 4, 2015. These photos can be used as a reference for this year.
I went to Lake Yamanaka in Yamanashi Prefecture to photograph the autumn leaves. It was a 20-min bus ride from the Fujikyuko Line's Fujisan Station to the Lake Yamanakako: Asahigaoka bus stop. Only 600 m away from where I got off, I found the popular sightseeing spot I was headed to, the sunset shore observation point, with great ease. It is known for its phenomenal view of the autumn leaves at sunset—hence the name.
15:45: Even when trying to utilize the viewing hut's roof, the bright evening sun managed to interfere with my photography. I wasn't the only one having trouble capturing the perfect photo though.
Looking in the other direction, I was able to snap some gorgeous photos of the autumn leaves. However, Mt. Fuji was not present in them. C’est la vie?
As it was only slightly past peak viewing season, I was still able to observe the autumn leaves in all their glory. I was shocked to see that though Lake Yamanaka is only 20 km away from Lake Kawaguchi, their peak viewing season differed by about a week. My guess was that the difference in elevation was the culprit. Lake Yamanaka sits at 980.5 m, while Lake Kawaguchi is only 830 m above sea level: that's a difference of about 150 m. It would have been nice to be able to experience both areas at the height of their beauty, but I suppose it wasn't meant to be. This area begins illuminating the trees at 16:30, so I decided to have a quick coffee break to escape from the blinding sun while I waited. (I failed.)
15:57: A short walk away from the observation deck and I found myself at the Teddy Bear World Museum and cafe. As I enjoyed my coffee, I watched the sun begin to sink behind Mt. Fuji and the sky rapidly grow dim.
16:08: I rushed to the observation deck. It was almost time for the illuminations and it was growing dark.
17:02: Little by little the sun sank below the horizon. The observation deck had an amazing view of the setting sun illuminating the silhouette of Mt. Fuji.
17:04: It wasn't long before the lights were put on. However, with the night came a sudden drop in temperature, so I'd highly recommend taking measures to stay warm.
17:25: It grew colder and colder. I wished there were more leaves clustered around the observation deck, but, either way, it was getting too cold to remain outside for much longer.
17:40: I noticed the other photographers were beginning to retreat as well, so I waited for them to clear out before taking one last photo with the space all to myself. Finally, the perfect shot!
It may interest you to know that from the Lake Yamanakako: Asahigaoka bus stop you can also take a highway bus that goes directly to Tokyo's Shinjuku Station. Keep in mind that the highway bus does require a reservation in advance.
Lake Kawaguchi’s double Mt. Fuji and momiji tunnel, as well as Lake Yamanaka’s Sunset Shore & Autumn Leaves Festival
■Lake Yamanaka – Sunset Shore & Autumn Leaves Festival
◎Illumination period: October 21 (Fri.) – November 6 (Sun.) 2016 ※Dates may be altered slightly to accommodate peak viewing
◎Illumination hours: 16:30-21:00
Photographed on: November 4, 2015