November in central Japan is still warmer than Yellowknife was in October, although with a few rainy days. Autumn is a popular time to visit as the natural scenery is very beautiful. Kumoba Pond (雲場池) in Karuizawa is a simple example. The town suburbs almost gracefully blend in to the surrounding forest, and within twenty minutes walk of the railway station, the pond is an opportunity to look over at the trees under which we just walked and enjoy their spectacularly coloured foliage.

Massive mosquito enjoying hips & drips, Kumoba Pond, Karuizawa

A Laputian robot stands guard peacefully at the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka on the edge of Tokyo. At Hitachi, north up the coast, the vast seaside park hosts oceans of flowers.

Laputian robot, Ghibli Museum, Mitaka

To the south of Tokyo is Enoshima, a small offshore island. As legend has it, the mainland villagers were plagued for generations by Gozuryu, a destructive five headed dragon. Goddess Benzaiten raised the island of Enoshima from the sea to serve as her abode. Gozuryu, besotted with the beautiful goddess was both rebuffed and persuaded that plaguing the villagers was a bad thing to do. Ashamed, the dragon devotedly faced south to Benzaiten’s island and changed in to a hill, never again to bother the villagers!

Autumn at Kumoba Pond (雲場池), Karuizawa
Autumn at Kumoba Pond (雲場池), Karuizawa
A scarlet leafed vine scales up the mint-chocolate like bark
Autumn at Kumoba Pond (雲場池), Karuizawa
Mushroom family at Kumoba Pond (雲場池), Karuizawa
Fields of flowers at Hitachi Seaside Park, Ibaraki
RX-0 Unicorn Gundam in destroy mode, Aomi
Tokyo Harbour area at night
Shrine to Ryujin, the dragon god, Enoshima