Autumn in Nikko..

It’s November now and the weather in Japan has taken a huge dive! It’s hard to believe that just a month ago, the weather was still pretty humid. Now I’m wrapped up in so many layers of clothes, and the heating is constantly turned on in my apartment! Not that I’m complaining, I much prefer colder weather to humid sticky weather.

A couple of weeks ago we had a day holiday for Culture Day, a national holiday in Japan. Autumn has finally arrived so the trees around my area are starting to turn a beautiful red colour. I decided to head to Nikko, about an hours drive from my town to see the beautiful autumn leaves which were said to be in their peak. I was told by a few of my colleagues at work to be wary of the traffic heading to Nikko, especially with Thursday being a national holiday. I was told that many people from across Japan head to Nikko to see the autumn leaves.

Me and my friends decided to set off early at 8am, which really helped as there was zero traffic on the way there.

I visited Nikko previously in June, and I remember it being ridiculously hot. Visiting the same place again in Autumn was really nice, as it gave the place a completely different feel. Upon entering the car park, I was already taken back by the beauty of the red autumn leaves surrounding the area.

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The entrance to Nikko temple
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Rinnoji pagoda, Nikko

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The red maple trees were stunning, we have similar trees in the UK during Autumn but never this red!

We decided to head to Shoyo-en Garden, a small garden nearby. The entrance to the garden was tiny.

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Ticket to Shoyo-en Garden
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Entrance to Shoyo-en Garden

Within the first few seconds of entering the garden, me and my friends were already gasping at how beautiful it was. The colour of the leaves were incredible, and the garden was so serene.

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After visiting the gardens we decided to drive to Lake Chuzenji, a 20 minute drive away. It was such a nice car journey riding up into the mountains with an incredible view of the autumn leaves. The colours along with the clear, crispy autumn weather made it feel like I was in a movie. It kind of reminded me of home, as the mountains are very similar to those at the Lake District.

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As Lake Chuzenji became visible in the distance, me and my friends let out a big ‘WOW!’ as we drove closer and closer to the lake. The view was absolutely stunning, and very picturesque. The water was so blue, and the weather was perfect!

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We stopped by a small restaurant by the lake to have lunch. Nikko is famous for its Yuba soba, which is soba noodles topped with thinly rolled up tofu. It was delicious, and eating such a light and clear dish on quite a nippy day made it taste even better.

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Yuba soba

After having lunch, we drove further up into the mountains to get a nice view of the lake. The rustic colours of the trees made the view breathtaking. Mother nature sure is beautiful! One thing I love about Japan is that all four seasons are beautiful in their own way. Back in Spring, I was able to enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms, in Summer I was able to experience the gorgeous beaches down by the peninsula. It won’t be long till winter arrives and the place will be covered in a blanket of snow, which will add yet another side of beauty to Japan.

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After taking a little drive, we decided to visit Kegon Falls, a waterfall nearby.

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Kegon Falls

The park we stopped at had a lot of different food stalls. I bought a bowl of suiton dumpling soup. It was soooo nice drinking it in the freezing cold weather, and the soup was so delicious and full of flavour. It was more or less like nabe, which is a soup boiled with many different kinds of vegetables.

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The whole place had such an autumn feel to it. People huddled up drinking soup, and people queueing up to buy roasted chestnuts. The chestnuts were roasted using a cool steam machine (in the picture below). Every so often, the guy would tell everyone to cover their ears whilst the machine made a deafening sound to let out the steam.

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Roasted chestnuts
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Roasted chestnuts

Not much to write for this post, I’ll let the photos do all the talking. All I can say is that autumn in Japan is so wonderfully beautiful. I feel quite fortunate to live so near to mountainous areas like Nikko, Nasu and Shiobara. I don’t want autumn to end!

Anyways, thats all for now! Have a great week!

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