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Yamanashi Travelog: Mystery and Wonder at Nishizawa Ravine

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By Aimee Chen

Two things I never realized until I came to Japan: the beauty of fall leaves (koyo) and the fun of hiking.

Both of these two things I realized at the same time when I went hiking at Nishizawa Ravine in early November. In mid-October through the end of November, the leaves turn to red and gold, creating a wonderful sea of colors. In order to see the fall leaves, I went to Nishizawa Ravine in Mitomi, Yamanashi City.


Nishizawa Ravine is one of the two beautiful ravines on the Yamanashi side of the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park.



It is full of waterfalls and streams, including the famous five-tiered waterfall-Nanatsugama-Godan-no-Taki, brilliantly colored foliage, incredibly fresh air and dappled sunlight, and a great variety of plants and animals.


It is a 10 km course and takes about 4-5 hours to complete. Some parts are rather rocky and almost like climbing a mountain. Those parts are rather challenging, but it is also right next to the various streams and waterfalls, so one can enjoy a good view while climbing up the mountain.  


Other parts, especially the return half, are very relaxing and smooth. Those times are especially good for viewing the fall leaves.


There was a great amount of mixed green, red and yellow, and the autumn leaves were scattered all along the trail to create a brightly colored path.

The mountain air was so crisp and fresh! It was wonderful to inhale deeply and feel surrounded by bright colors and sparkling sunlight reflecting through the leaves.


The dappled sunlight and surrounding trees actually created a very dreamy atmosphere full of mystery and wonder. It really allows one to feel as if one has entered another world, a return to some mysterious place of origin.

A word of warning for the wise, however. One should bring a sturdy backpack (and not a messenger bag like I did...), good hiking boots, a bottle or two of water, and a hat if you’re like me and didn't want to get burned. Last of all, bring your sense of adventure and fun! It was really great to hike here and feel my body becoming healthier and my mind clearer, calmer.