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Autumn Color Report 2009
by japan-guide.com

This are the official japan-guide.com autumn color reports for 2009 from our trips to various autumn leaf spots across Japan. Check our page on Autumn Leaves for general information.

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2009/10/06 - Mount Akita-Komagatake


by francois

Koyo on the slopes of Mount Akita-Komagatake

Today our pursuit of koyo ("fall colors") lead us to the Tohoku Region, where we hiked up Mount Akita-Komagatake in Akita Prefecture. We took an early shinkansen to Morioka Station in Iwate where we picked up a rental car, and then drove for about two hours to Komagatake's 8th Station, located 80% up the mountainside, from where we began our hike.

The koyo along the narrow 10km road up to the 8th Station was by far the best koyo we saw today, which is almost at its peak. At a local information center we were told the leaves should reach their peak in about a week. On October weekends, the narrow road to the 8th Station is closed to individual traffic and only accessible by shuttle buses, but on weekdays like today there are no buses and the road is open to regular drivers. As we headed to the 8th Station, sometimes it was as if we were driving through a tunnel of bright orange and red leaves.

The road to Komagatake's eighth station passes through beautiful koyo
Koyo alongside the road
Branches of koyo beside the road

The 8th Station is located just above the tree line, so all the beautiful koyo we had seen on the drive up were nowhere to be seen once we began our hike. We were still able to get some very nice views of the koyo from above though. Also, Komagatake had a wonderful trail that was very interesting despite the lack of fall colors. At the top of the mountain are a number of peaks, which give breathtaking views out from their over 1500 meter elevations.

A dramatic landscape seen from one of Komagatake's peaks
Another dramatic view from one of Komagatake's peaks

After our hike, we spent the night in nearby Tsurunoyu, one of the half dozen ryokan that make up the rustic Nyuto Onsen hot spring resort. With its remote location in the wooded mountains, guest rooms dating back to the Edo Period (1600-1868), a fine dinner around an irori fire place and one of the most atmospheric open air baths in all of Japan, Tsurunoyu is as good as it gets. Autumn colors around Tsurunoyu are expected to reach their peak around October 10-20.

Tsurunoyu Onsen
Tsurunoyu Onsen
Today's autumn color highlight, vibrant koyo along the path to Komagatake, along with the bare mountain in the background

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List of Posts:
2009/12/08 - Tokyo
2009/12/02 - Kamakura

2009/11/27 - Tokyo
2009/11/26 - Kyoto
2009/11/25 - Kyoto: Light Up
2009/11/23 - Nara
2009/11/22 - Kyoto: Ohara
2009/11/21 - Kyoto
2009/11/19 - Kyoto: Arashiyama
2009/11/18 - Tokyo
2009/11/18 - Kyoto: Higashiyama
2009/11/16 - Kyoto: Kurama
2009/11/16 - Mount Takao (Takaosan)
2009/11/12 - Kyoto
2009/11/09 - Fuji Five Lakes
2009/11/04 - Hakone

2009/10/28 - Mount Fuji
2009/10/19 - Nikko
2009/10/16 - Onuma Park
2009/10/15 - Noboribetsu Onsen
2009/10/14 - Shikotsu-Toya National Park
2009/10/07 - Hachimantai
2009/10/06 - Mount Akita-Komagatake
2009/10/05 - Nikko

2009/09/30 - Kusatsu Onsen
2009/09/28 - Kamikochi
2009/09/24 - Oze National Park
2009/09/16 - Tokachidake Onsen
2009/09/15 - Ginsendai
2009/09/14 - Mount Asahidake

Tours and Experiences