Autumn Leaves In Karuizawa

Konnichiwa from Tokyo!

We’re a week into our trip around Japan, and I’m having the most wonderful time. We’ve played futuristic arcade games, created our own noodles at the Cup Noodle Museum, explored the Tsukiji Fish Market… I could go on. Even after so many trips to Tokyo, there are still countless things to experience in this amazing city.

I’m writing this from my little futon in a traditional Japanese inn, known as a ryokan. As you can imagine, I couldn’t be happier!

We timed our visit to coincide with the changing leaves across Japan, and hoped to see the fiery red foliage for ourselves.

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One of my absolute favourite shows on Netflix is Terrace House, which follows a group of Japanese people as they live, work and form relationships with each other. It makes for fascinating (and very relaxing!) viewing.

The previous season was set in Karuizawa, and we always found ourselves admiring the beautiful colours during the autumn episodes. I always knew that I wanted to go there myself, but hadn’t imagined that I would get the chance so soon.

We hadn’t officially planned to visit Karuizawa during this trip, but after learning that the autumn colours were at their peak we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to view those vibrant leaves.

So we grabbed our rail passes and set off!

Karuizawa is roughly an hour away from Tokyo, and the bullet train (shinkansen) makes for a very comfortable journey.

Of course, we weren’t the only people hoping to catch a glimpse of the changing leaves. Koyo viewing is a tradition in Japan, with thousands of people flocking to the most beautiful spots every year – there’s even an autumn leaf forecast!

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The Japanese refer to the autumn colours as koyo or momiji, and both words are written with the same characters: 紅葉.

Koyo is used to describe the changing colours of the season, while momiji has become synonymous with the maple tree.

The colours and natural scenery were even more beautiful than I had imagined – see how the shades of red, orange and yellow are reflected in the lake’s pristine water?

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We were the only non-Japanese people in attendance, so it was a fascinating peek into a tradition that I had previously only seen through a screen. Of course, we managed to make some friends – when Elliott took a beautiful photograph of me sitting next to the lake, we heard some exclamations of ‘sugoi ne!’ (‘wow, amazing!’) and a little queue formed behind us. Each person politely asked Elliott to take a photograph of them in the same spot, and I joked afterwards that we could have made a fortune!

I don’t have too much more to write, as these beautiful photographs really speak for themselves. Trust me, the views were even more stunning in person.

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Experiencing a koyo viewing was so special to me, as it combined two of my favourite things – autumn leaves and the Japanese culture. Best of all, I was able to see it all with my favourite person.

We leave Tokyo today for the next few weeks of adventures across Japan, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us!

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