by Francois, staff writer of japan-guide.com
2010/10/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kirishima
Today we did our very first japan-guide autumn color report from Kyushu, as Schauwecker and I explored the koyo around the hiking trails of the Kirishima Mountains. Following the pattern of the autumn colors elsewhere in the country, Kirishima's leaves are all about a week behind schedule. The leaves are usually at full colour now, but this year the colors will be best seen sometime next week.
The first stop of the day was the trail up to Mount Nakadake. Originally we had hoped to do one long hike across the middle of the mountains on a ridge trail, but we found out yesterday that Mount Shinmoedake had erupted this July and could not be approached, making the trail impassable.
Although there were no bright reds and yellows, the trail up to Nakadake had a nice fall atmosphere. At the very top of the mountain we came across a field of pampas grass which had a beautiful color. Although Ebino Kogen is known for its pampas, the most attractive instance of the grass this year was located on Mount Nakadake.
At Ebino Kogen we followed one of the trails that winds past a few large ponds in the area. Here we were able to find the best reds and yellows in Kirishima. Although the area did not make for a spectacular koyo spot, there were a few particular trees that had very attractive colors. The colors should continue to improve into next week.
As we explored Ebino Kogen's pond area we saw a large patch of red trees along the lower region of Mount Karakuni. We decided to take a closer look and began the trail to the peak. Unfortunately, the colors visible far away from the mountain cannot be seen from the trails within the forest. There was a bit of color though, and the condition should continue to improve.