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Autumn Color Report 2014
Official autumn color reports by japan-guide.com

Where to see autumn leaves? - When do trees turn colors? - What trees turn colors?
Schedule of upcoming reports - Post your own report

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2014/09/18 - Kurodake Report
by schauwecker

The weather continued to be unstable in Hokkaido today. I had already given up on my initial plans to traverse the Daisetsuzan Mountains from Asahidake Onsen to Sounkyo Onsen yesterday and worried that I would not be able to do much hiking today, at all. So, I drove through the rain to Sounkyo and took the ropeway to the 5th Station of Mount Kurodake (i.e. halfway up the mountain). By then, the rain had stopped.

Mount Kurodake mostly hidden in clouds, viewed from the 5th Station

According to the radar, the heavy rain storms predicted for Hokkaido today did not seem to strike the Daisetsuzan Mountains, so I decided to take the chairlift to the 7th Station (i.e. seven tenths up the mountain) and to hike from there to the summit of Mount Kurodake. The steep ascent takes just about an hour.

The colors intensified as the chairlift gained height; notice the red carpets of chinguruma plants below the lift
Nice colors towards the top of the chairlift
View from the upper chairlift station

Today, the colors were best between the 7th and 9th stations, but were on the decline and partially covered up by snow beyond the 9th Station. Proper hiking shoes are required if you venture beyond the upper chairlift station due to the slippery and uneven terrain of the hiking trail.

Colorful nanakamado bushes
The best colors were found along the hiking trail between the 7th and 8th stations
Autumnal color palette around the 8th Station
Snow on the ground increased as I gained height
Subdued colors beyond the 9th Station

The amount of snow increased gradually towards the summit, and the steep last twenty meters before reaching the top were particularly slippery. The interior of the Daisetsuzan Mountains now seemed to be covered by a few centimeters of snow, although visibility was very bad during my short stay on Kurodake's summit around noon.

View from the summit of Mount Kurodake into the interior of the Daisetsuzan Mountains
Red urashima tsutsuji shrubs covered up by snow

Over the coming weeks, the autumn colors will continue to gradually move down the mountain slopes and should reach the resort town of Sounkyo Onsen in the gorge below around early to mid October.

View from around the 8th Station down onto the chairlift and Sounkyo in the gorge below
Down in the gorge, the trees were still green
Mount Kurodake seen from the 5th Station

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List of Posts:
2014/12/05 - Tokyo Report
2014/12/04 - Kanazawa Report
2014/12/03 - Kyoto Report
2014/12/02 - Kamakura Report
2014/11/28 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/27 - Tokyo Report
2014/11/26 - Nara Report
2014/11/25 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/21 - Osaka Report
2014/11/20 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/19 - Korankei Report
2014/11/18 - Miyajima Report
2014/11/18 - Tokyo Report
2014/11/17 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/14 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/14 - Himeji Report
2014/11/13 - Fuji Report
2014/11/13 - Tokyo Report
2014/11/12 - Eiheiji Report
2014/11/11 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/07 - Tokyo Report
2014/11/07 - Kyoto Report
2014/11/06 - Yamadera Report
2014/11/04 - Fuji Report
2014/11/04 - Hakone Report
2014/10/31 - Karuizawa Report
2014/10/29 - Shima Onsen Report
2014/10/24 - Fuji Report
2014/10/21 - Bandai Report
2014/10/21 - Nikko Report
2014/10/20 - Towada Report
2014/10/16 - Tateyama Report
2014/10/15 - Kurikoma Report
2014/10/08 - Nasu Report
2014/10/07 - Nikko Report
2014/10/01 - Oze Report
2014/09/29 - Tateyama Report
2014/09/26 - Nikko Report
2014/09/19 - Tokachidake Report
2014/09/18 - Kurodake Report
2014/09/17 - Asahidake Report

Tours and Experiences