by Francois, staff writer of japan-guide.com
2009/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
The fall colours are beginning to appear in Honshu, in areas of higher elevations such as Oze National Park. Oze is mostly located in the prefectures of Gunma and Fukushima, and is accessible by public transportation from Tokyo as a day trip. Today we went to Oze to check out the development of the koyo (fall colors), and explored two main areas: the Ozegahara Marshland and Ozenuma Pond.
Oze's fall colors are now at a generally attractive level, mostly due to the rich color of the kusa momiji ("grass fall colours") in the wetland areas. The tall leaves of grass that project around the wooden walkways have turned into vibrant fields of yellows and reds, and make up for the trees along the mountain sides and in the forests. The trees of Oze, except for a few exceptions, are just starting to change colors. Koyo in the area will continue to improve into the first half of Ocotober.
We started the day by taking a bus to the Hatomachitoge Pass and walking down to the Ozegahara Marshland. The walk through the forest provided few instances of koyo, though there were a few exceptions.
Upon arriving at the Marshland, we were treated to an abundance of color. The six kilometer walk through the marshland was one of the highlights of the day, and there was a substantial number of other people also enjoying the colors and taking photographs.
Again there was little koyo while travelling through the forest between the marshland and Ozenuma pond. Around Ozenuma, the most colorful areas were those that had grass growing alongside the pond or sections of the path that crossed through small wetlands. There were a few instances of trees whose leaves had turned into brilliant colours, but not many.
Walking out of the park through the valley south of Ozenuma, there were some attractive views but almost no fall colours.