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Whilst Japan has summers that are great for spending time at the beach, and winters full of snow perfect for descending mountains with your feet strapped to a rigid board, the two most popular seasons (at least for tourism, that is) are spring and autumn.
In the spring tourists flock to the country in their numbers eager to get a peep at the fast-existing sakura flowers. Mellow in colour and delicate in shape, the flowers last at most for just 2 weeks at some point in March or April. Yet in autumn, a whole palette of colours explode into vision across the country, as the trees lining mountain peaks turn red, gold and brown in the crisp air. It is these leaves that take the center stage in the ‘Fujikawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival’.
The festival takes place at the lake that surrounds the northern foot of Mount Fuji and this year marks the event’s 22nd anniversary.
The event will see a 1.5km stretch of maple trees on the north shore of Lake Kawaguchi – known as Maple Road - lit up from sunset (around 4:30pm) to 10pm. The illuminated maple leaves provide a colourful frame to a majestic view of Mount Fuji towering over the lake.
Extending from Maple Road the surrounding area is filled with restaurants and stores serving up a range of seasonal products, foods, agricultural goods and crafted gifts.
The town also recommends travelling to the Momiji-tunnel during the maple season, which is located 15 minutes away from the Fujikawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival venue by car.
Fujikawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival 2020
Date: 7 November 2020 - 29 November 2020 Daily festival holding time: 9am - 7pm Maple Corridor light-up time: sunset - 10pm Venue: Maple Corridor and surrounding northern shore of Lake Kawaguchi
The event can be reached by the Kawaguchiko tour bus in an approximate 25 minute bus ride from Kawaguchiko Station. Alternatively, the Fujikyuko Line bound for Oishi Petit Pension Village takes about 20 minutes from Kawaguchiko Station.
The event can also be reached by car, and a temporary free parking lot has been set up for the duration of the event.
Tourism plays a very important role in keeping the region running, and it is clear that areas like Fujikawaguchiko would be on the brink of disappearance without it. With COVID-19 causing a significant drop in inbound international tourism, Fujikawaguchiko Town sends out an invitation to all domestic travellers, and hopes that the event can offer some form of entertainment and also promote a sense of community during these uncertain times.