While Europe is about to turn their clocks backwards to the winter time, Japan is busy celebrating Halloween. Days are short already as you may recall, and unless you are an early morning bird, you will miss most of it anyway…
On the other hand, I cannot really complain. Until now, the temperatures were above or at least around twenties (Celsius) with only minimal signs of autumn in and around Tokyo. It is easy to take all this for granted, but the truth is that Japan does not have a grey, rainy and depressive autumn period what I recall from Europe. By the time it gets really cool (still around +10-15C), Christmas stuff is getting out on displays even before the autumn leaves. Differently from Europe, November comes with all the colours you may desire, thus the only thing you may get depressed about is the absence of central heating.
There is one place that gets very popular twice a year: in May and in October, and that is Hitachi Seaside Park. A bit more than an hour by train towards northeast from Tokyo, this place is a sign that autumn is indeed coming.
Hitachi Seaside Park is famous for Kochia red leaves. Normally, the peak is around first half of October, though this year it got delayed due to warm weather. As is typical in Japan, it gets super busy and crowded around peak time, mais bon, c’est la vie…
Strolling among other visitors, I am taking many and many photos switching forth and back between camera and smart phone to make sure I capture the best ones. People come with families, kids, or…their dogs. Perhaps you did not know, but in Japan it is very common to treat dogs like babies, including taking them around in strollers (I am not kidding, see the photo evidence below).
Out there among thousands of red bushes and blooming cosmos flowers, with blue sky above and sea breeze in my hair, I am really happy I came here.
On the way back, I jump into a random bakery at the Katsuta station to get a few croissants for the way, with pumpkin filling, of course. Contrary to my expectations, the taste is really good.