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Raina's Japan Travel Journal
by Raina, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2015/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route

A day after the long weekend, colloquially referred to as Silver Week, I headed off to Murodo, the highest point along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route to check out the autumn colors. Murodo sits at around 2450 meters and the colors here were nicely developed. The fiery red nanakamado bushes were juxtaposed with green shrubs and grey rocks, providing a great contrast.

The timing of autumn colors depends on the temperature and with cooler temperatures recorded across the country for the past month, the 2015 koyo season has been early compared to the average year. However, the development of the colors in Kyoto and Tokyo still remains to be seen.

The weather over the long weekend had been absolutely gorgeous over most of Japan, with warm temperatures and clear skies, and looked set to continue till at least mid morning today. However, it was cloudy when I arrived at Ogizawa Station to start my ascent, and there was a slight drizzle by the time I got to the Murodo Bus Terminal.

The temperature at the top never rose above 10 degrees Celsius when I was there and I saw many day tourists who were underdressed against the wind and rain. There were many hikers all prepared for wet weather and we started our trek towards Mount Tateyama. I didn't hike to the top but branched off mid way to take the path that cut through the nanakamado bushes and the camping grounds. Note that hikers are only allowed on the designated trails and must not veer off the paths.

The view that greets you when you step out of the bus terminal
My hike started here
Hotel Tateyama, the highest located hotel in Japan
Chinguruma
Meandering river, hiking paths and autumn colors
Colors of autumn
The world map according to moss
Walking up towards Mount Tateyama
There was still snow from last winter that didn't melt
A small statue, and where I also branched off to a different trail
Hiking in color
Turning back every now and then to see all that beauty
Nanakamado bushes on the slopes
Fallen leaves

The hell valley in Murodo is still closed due to volcanic activity and visitors can only view the area from afar. The air near the Raichozawa camping ground had a sulphuric smell and I could smell it around the Mikuriga pond.

Hotel Tateyama, Mikuriga pond, the smoking hell valley and Raichozawa campsite can be seen here
Alpine grass near the campsite
Crossing the river to get to the campsite
Looking up from the campsite, the hell valley lies beyond the buildings
Lots of chinguruma here
Walking up towards the ponds
Raining in Murodo
Leaving it all behind and making the trek up

The valley between the ropeway stations of Daikanbo and Kurobedaira, was still relatively green with small patches of yellow and the colors here are expected to develop further. The trees at Kurobe Dam, at a lower elevation of about 1450 meters, were still green though most of their tips had yellow tinges. It wouldn't be long before the autumn colors move down towards these areas and Murodo covered in snow once again.

More green than yellow in the valley
Looking down at the ropeway and the dam from Daikanbo
Waiting in line for the ropeway at Kurobedaira
Taking a picture of the cable car which is pulled up at a 31 degree angle
Kurobe Dam discharging water, and the trees looking pretty green
The Kurobe tunnel trolley bus mascot high-fiving a kid before we boarded the bus back to Ogizawa Station

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List of Posts:
2017/05/02 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2017/04/14 - Sneak Peek from Ginza Six
2017/03/21 - A bit of everything in Fukui
2017/03/13 - Nikko Toshogu Uncovered
2017/02/15 - Subculture in Ikebukuro
2017/02/07 - Travel to the Goto Islands
2017/02/06 - Nagasaki Lantern Festival

2016/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2016
2016/12/19 - Winter Illuminations in Tokyo
2016/10/24 - The way of old on the Kunisaki Peninsula
2016/10/11 - Following the Tadami Line in Oku Aizu
2016/08/27 - Fool's Dance at Koenji Awa Odori
2016/08/16 - The three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan
2016/06/20 - Train travel into the Ise-Shima region
2016/04/03 - Setouchi Triennale 2016
2016/03/08 - The hunt for Namahage on the Oga Peninsula
2016/03/02 - Sake Sangria
2016/02/20 - Tokyo Plum Blossom Report
2016/01/26 - Tour de Reinan: Obama, Oi and Takahama
2016/01/25 - Tour de Reinan: Tsuruga, Mihama and Wakasa

2015/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2015
2015/12/10 - 48 hours in Tokushima
2015/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Kankakei
2015/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2015/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/10 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2015/11/09 - Autumn Color Report: Koyasan
2015/11/08 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2015/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Dazaifu
2015/10/28 - The 44th Tokyo Motor Show
2015/10/21 - Hirado, where East meets West
2015/10/20 - Kujukushima Islands and Winter Illumination at Huis Ten Bosch
2015/10/19 - Navigating the Christian sites in Nagasaki
2015/10/18 - Cosplay at Haco Stadium Tokyo
2015/10/15 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2015/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2015/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2015/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2015/09/16 - Nakanojo Biennale 2015
2015/08/19 - Traditional culture and hot springs of the Aizu Region
2015/08/17 - Nature and Hot Springs at Naruko Onsen
2015/08/04 - Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 2015
2015/04/30 - Sapporo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/29 - Hakodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/23 - Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/22 - Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/21 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/16 - Sendai Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/09 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/08 - Fukushima Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/06 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/02 - Nara Cherry Blossom Report
2015/04/01 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/31 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/27 - Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/26 - Kumamoto Cherry Blossom Report
2015/03/25 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report

2014/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2014
2014/12/15 - Seasonal Illumination: Sendai
2014/12/09 - Seasonal Illumination: Tokyo
2014/12/04 - Autumn Color Report: Kanazawa
2014/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2014/11/20 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Korankei
2014/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Miyajima
2014/11/17 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2014/11/13 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Fuji
2014/10/31 - Autumn Color Report: Karuizawa
2014/10/21 - Autumn Color Report: Bandai
2014/10/20 - Autumn Color Report: Towada
2014/10/01 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2014/09/29 - Autumn Color Report: Alpine Route
2014/06/19 - Toranomon Hills opens in Tokyo
2014/04/24 - Kitakami Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/23 - Morioka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/22 - Aizu-Wakamatsu Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/16 - Matsumoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/15 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/14 - Yoshino Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/13 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/12 - Kanazawa Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/10 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/06 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/05 - Hiroshima Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/04 - Osaka Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/03 - Kyoto Cherry Blossom Report
2014/04/02 - Nagoya Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/31 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/26 - Tokyo Cherry Blossom Report
2014/03/04 - Early Tokyo Blossom Report