Francois' Japan Blog
by Francois, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2009/10/07 - Autumn Color Report: Hachimantai

Tamagawa Onsen surrounded by some colorful trees

Our report on the Tohoku Region's koyo (fall colors) continued today in the Hachimantai area of Towada-Hachimantai National Park. We began at Tamagawa Onsen, which is famous for its exteremly acidic hot spring water. There was a decent amount of color surrounding the onsen, but the peak is still a few days away. We walked around the onsen, where the combination of koyo and the onsen's sulfurous streams and hot steam vents made for some interesting views.

Hot steam vents and colorful trees

Soon after we came across what was probably the day's koyo highlight at Onuma Pond. The parking lot was almost completely full, with both regular cars and a few tour buses. The popularity of the pond was for good reason, as the colorful trees and grass provided fantastic views, which were easily appreciated in the 30 minute walk around the pond. The koyo was almost at its peak, but the colors should still improve into next week.

The entrance to Onuma Pond
Koyo at the water's edge
Koyo and Onuma Pond, seen through trees along the path around the lake

Next we drove to Goshogake Onsen, and found that we were able to find many nice examples of koyo along the way. Goshogake Onsen is similar to Tamagawa Onsen or Hokkaido's Noboribetsu Onsen in having dramatic volcanic geological features, such as sulfurous streams and steam vents.

Goshogake Onsen had a larger area to explore than Tamagagawa Onsen, and its fall colors were also at a more advanced state. A section of the main path was damaged and closed off, but a temporary path has been made, allowing visitors to see the entire area. We didn't have time to stop, but we saw from the road that Fukenoyu also had a significant amount of attractive koyo.

The road winds through colorful trees between Onuma Pond and Goshogake Onsen
The small mud volcanoes of Oyunuma Pond at Goshogake
The walking route at Oshogake, with Mount Nyuto visible in the background
Koyo at Fukenoyu

Our last destination was the area around Mount Hachimantai's summit, which straddles Akita Prefecture and Iwate Prefecture. A path leads around the mountain's peak and passes a number of caldera lakes. Unfortunately, the koyo season has peaked at the top, and in fact it did not seem like there was much vegetation that would provide good koyo colors even at its peak. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable walk, and the views down from the mountain area showed a significant amount of color in the forests. We continued into Iwate and finished the day at Morioka, from where we began our journey yesterday.

Koyo has passed at Hachimantai Pond
Koyo visible in the forests below Mount Hachimantai

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List of Posts:
2011/09/01 - Final Post
2011/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sapporo
2011/05/06 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2011/04/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Aizu
2011/04/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai
2011/04/16 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2011/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2011/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2011/04/13 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2011/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2011/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2011/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2011/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2011/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2011/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima
2011/03/31 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2011/03/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2011/02/11 - Shiretoko Fantasia 2011
2011/02/11 - Asahikawa Winter Festival - by night
2011/02/10 - Asahikawa Winter Festival - by day
2011/02/09 - Sapporo Snow Festival 2011 - by night
2011/02/08 - Otaru Yuki Akari no Michi 2011
2011/02/07 - Sapporo Snow Festival 2011 - by day

2010/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2010
2010/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2010/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/24 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/23 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2010/11/05 - Autumn Color Report: Yamadera
2010/10/27 - Autumn Color Report: Kuju
2010/10/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kirishima
2010/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2010/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2010/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2010/04/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2010/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2010/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2010/03/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2010/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagoya
2010/03/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagasaki
2010/03/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2010/03/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2010/01/23 - Wakakusa Yamayaki

2009/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2009
2009/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2009/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Light Up
2009/11/23 - Autumn Color Report: Nara
2009/11/22 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Ohara
2009/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2009/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Higashiyama
2009/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Kurama
2009/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Hakone
2009/10/07 - Autumn Color Report: Hachimantai
2009/10/06 - Autumn Color Report: Mount Akita-Komagatake
2009/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Kamikochi
2009/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2009/06/18 - Biking the Shimanami Kaido
2009/06/01 - Gunkanjima
2009/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2009/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Himeji
2009/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kobe
2009/04/13 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2009/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2009/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nara
2009/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kobe
2009/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/03/31 - Cherry Blossom Report: Himeji
2009/03/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/03/29 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2009/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2009/01/19 - Bears in Hokkaido

2008/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kamakura
2008/10/06 - Autumn Color Report: Lake Akan
2008/08/18 - Miyajima Trip
2008/06/09 - Post Towns
2008/05/08 - Baseball Game
2008/04/14 - ASIMO and Aoyama Cemetery
2008/04/08 - Ninja Restaurant