Check out these articles

Autumn Leaves at Shirakoma Pond, Nagano, Japan: Video Introduction

Image of autumn leaves at Shirakoma Pond, Nagano Prefecture
Photo:Autumn leaves at Shirakoma Pond, Nagano Prefecture

This video, titled "[4K] Mysteriously Spectacular Views|Autumn Leaves at Shirakoma Pond - (shot on BMPCC6K)" ([4K] 神秘の絶景 天空の湖 白駒池の紅葉 - Autumn Leaves at Shirakoma Pond - (shot on BMPCC6K)), was uploaded by "AQUA Geo Graphic."

Shirakoma Pond in Nagano Prefecture is known for its beautiful autumn foliage. The reflection of the colorful trees on the surface of the lake is so beautiful you'd only expect to see it in a painting. Shirakoma Pond is blessed with abundant nature, and is a popular location for hiking as well. The pond is a popular tourist spot that attracts many visitors throughout the year because of its wonderful scenery that changes with the seasons, especially during autumn.
Enjoy the beautiful contrast of between the green, yellow, and fiery red autumn leaves reflected on the mirror-like surface of the lake in this 2-minute long 4K video.

Where is Shirakoma Pond? Location of the Pond in Nagano Famous for Its Autumn Leaves

Image of Shirakoma Pond from Takami-ishi, Nagano Prefecture
Photo:Shirakoma Pond from Takami-ishi, Nagano Prefecture

Shirakoma Pond is located in the eastern part of Nagano Prefecture, on the border between the towns of Koumi and Sakuho. Located on the Yachiho Highland (Yachiho Kogen) at an elevation of 2,115m (~6,900 ft), Shirakoma Pond is the highest and largest natural lake in Japan.
The pond is also known for its extremely high transparency, allowing visitors to see as deep as 5.8 meters below the surface. Shirakoma Pond is easily accessible despite its location on the Yachiho Highland. With a well-maintained promenade, it's becoming a popular tourist attraction.

When to See Autumn Leaves at Shirakoma Pond – Best Season and Photo Spots

Image of autumn leaves at Shirakoma Pond, Nagano Prefecture
Photo:Autumn leaves at Shirakoma Pond, Nagano Prefecture

The area surrounding Shirakoma Pond is known as one of Japan's three largest virgin forests, and during autumn, when the leaves change color, the virgin forest, filled with azaleas, birch trees, and maples, changes color to brilliant shades of red and yellow. Every year, the area is crowded with tourists who come to view the autumn foliage.

If you're planning to visit Shirakoma Pond, autumn is definitely the best season to come so you can see the beauty of the autumn leaves.

In the high elevation areas of Japan's Chubu region, the best time to view the autumn leaves is from late September at the earliest, and from early October on an average year. Since the forecast for autumn leaves at elevations above 2,000m is said to be largely unchanged, the best time to view the autumn foliage at Shirakoma Pond in 2023 is expected to be from late September to mid-October.

During autumn, when the leaves are in season, Shirakoma Pond is crowded tourists. If you're looking to take photos, there are two great spots in front of the mountain lodges "Shirakoma-so" (白駒荘) and "Seitai-so" (青苔荘) that overlook the lakeside area. The two lodges, situated on opposite sides of Shirakoma Pond, are well known for their sunrises and sunsets which can be photographed together with the pond in the foreground.

Hiking at Shirakoma Pond!

Image of the moss forest around Shirakoma Pond, Nagano Prefecture
Photo:The moss forest around Shirakoma Pond, Nagano Prefecture

There are several hiking trails around Shirakoma Pond that can be enjoyed even by beginner hikers. We recommend the route from Shirakoma Pond (白駒池) to Takami-ishi (高見石), which has a minimal elevation change and can be easily hiked.

The hike takes about 2 hours and departs from the Shirakoma Pond parking lot. The hike proceeds along a trail on which hikers can admire the beautiful mosses growing in the area. Once you reach a fork in the road, head toward Takami-ishi Lodge (高見石小屋).

After hiking up behind Takami-ishi Lodge, you'll arrive at Takami-ishi. From Takami-ishi, you can enjoy a spectacular view of Japan's Northern and Central Alps and Shirakoma Pond. After admiring the view, descend from Takami-ishi toward Shirakoma Pond. Follow the boardwalk circling the mystical Shirakoma Pond before returning to the parking lot to end the hike.

Although the trail around Shirakoma Pond is well maintained, it becomes slippery when it rains. When visiting Takami-ishi, a series of rock formations, in particular, extreme care should be taken to avoid injury or accidents. Please be prepared to wear comfortable walking shoes and clothes that are easy to move in, and check the weather before you go out.

Additionally, because the area around Shirakoma Pond is mountainous, temperatures can vary greatly. Please bring warm clothes to adjust for the temperature changes.

After enjoying hiking in the magnificent nature of Nagano, we recommend taking a breather at one of the hot spring resorts in the area. The Shirakoma Pond area is dotted with facilities where you can enjoy hot springs and take in the beautiful scenery. It's a great way to relax after a nice day of hiking.

Camping at Shirakoma Pond

Image of the tent campsite at Takami-ishi Lodge, Nagano Prefecture
Photo:The tent campsite at Takami-ishi Lodge, Nagano Prefecture

In addition to hiking and viewing the autumn leaves at Shirakoma Pond, there are also a few locations where you can enjoy camping.

Seitai-so, the mountain lodge mentioned earlier, has a tent site located right next to it where you can set up a tent right by the lake. The tent site is available year-round and you can even enjoy a beautiful starry sky with a view of the pond frozen over in the winter. Keep in mind that the tent site is reservation only and all garbage must be taken with you when you leave.

Lodge Hours: 7:00 am - 7:00 pm. ※Hours may vary by season.
Fee: The tent site is free of charge. General lodging starts at 5,500 yen/person for adults.

Another campsite is the Takami-ishi Tent Site, located beside Takami-ishi Lodge. Unlike the tent site at Seitai-so, Takami-ishi does not accept reservations, and is open to campers on a first-come, first-served basis.
Additionally, the owners of the lodge provide commentary about the stars at night on the terrace, and invite guests to join them to listen.
While not located directly next to Shirakoma Pond, it's only about 10 minutes from the pond by car.

Lodge Hours: 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Fee: Tent site: 600 yen/person. General lodging starts at 5,500 yen/ person.

Both of the above facilities also having standard accommodations as well, so if you want to stay the night and enjoy the starry skies and autumn leaves, but don't want to stay in a tent, you can always book a room in the lodges.

Parking and Crowding at Shirakoma Pond During the Autumn Foliage Season

Image of autumn leaves at Shirakoma Pond, Nagano Prefecture
Photo:Autumn leaves at Shirakoma Pond, Nagano Prefecture

To get to Shirakoma Pond, it's best to use the parking lot on Route 299. It takes about 15 minutes to reach the pond on foot from the parking lot.
That being said, because it's a famous spot for viewing the autumn leaves, more than 180,000 people visit Shirakoma Pond during the autumn foliage season, and the parking lot becomes incredibly crowded, especially on weekends. At the same time, many cars are entering and exiting the parking lot, resulting in heavy traffic congestion on the surrounding roads.

The most crowded hours at Shirakoma Pond are between 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on weekdays, and 9:00 am to 2:00 pm on weekends and holidays.

If you visit Shirakoma Pond to see the autumn leaves on a weekday, it may be better to go between 6:00 am and 9:00 am. On weekends and holidays, it might be smoother to go between 6:00 am and 8:00 am. However, in the past, there have been some reports that the parking lots were full as early as 9:00 am, so be sure to check the real-time parking conditions when visiting.

For real-time information on congestion around Shirakoma Pond, you'll have the most luck using Twitter. Look up "白駒池" (Shirakoma Pond) in the Twitter search box to check the latest tweets.

It's also recommended that you check live cameras installed at the Shirakoma Pond parking lot. Access the official website of the Shirakoma Pond toll parking lot to view the live camera, which is updated every 5 minutes. This is useful for checking the status of the parking lot and the weather in real time.

Although it is convenient to drive to Shirakoma Pond during the fall foliage season, you may want to consider using public transportation if you're trying to avoid crowds and traffic jams.

Summary of Autumn Leaves at Shirakoma Pond

Image of autumn leaves at Shirakoma Pond, Nagano Prefecture
Photo:Autumn leaves at Shirakoma Pond, Nagano Prefecture

Shirakoma Pond, located in Nagano Prefecture and famous for its autumn foliage, is the highest natural lake in Japan at 2,115 meters above sea level. During the fall foliage season, the azaleas and birch trees change color beautifully, creating a picturesque landscape.

The Shirakoma Pond area is also famous for its "moss forest," which is home to 485 species of moss. The best time to see the mosses is from mid-June to the end of July, after Japan's rainy season, and visitors can enjoy the moss forest until early November every year. We invite you to experience the mysterious beauty of Shirakoma Pond as expressed in the video.

【TripAdvisor】Shirakoma Pond

Written By
Last Updated : Oct. 4, 2023
泉沢 明里(Akari)
I'm a writer born and raised in Hokkaido who loves animals and nature.
Virgin Forests and Autumn Leaves at Shirakoma Pond, Nagano
If this article interests you, be sure to leave a follow.

Recommended Articles