Leaves Turning Red Unusually EarlyJapanese Maples at 400 Meter Elevation, Shiga Prefecture
Japanese maple leaves have begun to turn red at MIHO MUSEUM in Shigaraki-cho, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture. Although the museum is at an elevation of about 400 meters and surrounded by the mountains nicknamed the "Konan Alps," or the Alps south of Lake Biwa, it is still September, and too early for an autumn display. As a result, surprised visitors exclaimed, "They're already ablaze with fall colors?"
Near the main hall and the parking lot, the maple foliage turns from green to yellow, orange, and red. The maples were planted in both areas in 1997 when the museum opened. Reportedly, it is only recently that the autumn coloring has started earlier than usual.
There are still vividly green maple leaves in the vicinity. A landscaping manager speculated, "Possibly, the soil makes a difference," but the specific reasons are unknown.
While this year's heat wave and typhoons caused some deciduous trees to fall down and others to have dull-colored fall leaves, the maples escaped those problems thanks to their low height. Their leaves have begun to turn red as the temperature difference between day and night has increased. It is said that the overall best time to view the autumn foliage is from mid-October or later.(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)