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Autumn Color Report 2010
by japan-guide.com

This is the official japan-guide.com autumn color report for 2010. Please visit also our guide to autumn leaves for more general information and our schedule of upcoming reports.

 
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2010/09/14 - Asahidake Report
by schauwecker

Welcome to the 2010 autumn color report by japan-guide.com! Over the next three months we will follow the colorful fall foliage as it gradually makes its way from the highest peaks of Hokkaido across the country down into the gardens and parks of Tokyo and Kyoto. We will keep you up to date about the season with periodic reports from popular autumn leaf spots across Japan.

For the third year in a row, we start the reporting from Mount Asahidake, Hokkaido's highest peak and the first place in Japan to see autumn colors each year.

Mount Asahidake

Due to an extraordinarily hot summer (Hokkaido recorded temperatures 2-3 degrees hotter than average), the coloring of leaves around Mount Asahidake has only just started about a week ago, which is considerably later than in the average year. Furthermore, it is expected that the summer heat will also have a negative impact on the intensity of this year's autumn colors, but this should not be obviously noticeable to the average tourist.

Nanakamado leaves that look like they suffered under the summer heat

At 7am, I took the Asahidake Ropeway from Asahidake Onsen to its upper station, where there is an easy 40-60 minute circular walking course past some ponds and sulfurous steam vents. The bushes and shrubs, which provide the autumn colors around the upper ropeway station above the tree line, have started coloring, but need another week or so to reach their peak.

The leaves have only just started to change colors

Rather than doing the 40-60 minute circular trail, I opted for a grander 5-8 hour circular hiking tour through Daisetsuzan National Park. From the upper ropeway station I first climbed to the summit of Mount Asahidake, a 90-150 minute steep ascent with beautiful views. By the time I reached the summit, most vegetation had been replaced by volcanic rock.

Along the ascent to the summit of Mount Asahidake
Scattered patches of autumn colors along the higher slopes of Mount Asahidake

Not too many autumn colors were visible along the next section of the course either, which descended the rear side of Mount Asahidake into the untouched, wonderful volcanic landscape of the Daisetsuzan Mountains. The autumn colors made a comeback when I started my descent towards the Susoaidaira Plateau.

The rear side of Mount Asahidake
Wonderful Daisetsuzan Mountains

Susoaidaira Plateau was the best spot for autumn colors today. Some Nanakamado shrubs, the most prominent providers of autumn colors in the high mountains, already faded into yellow and orange colors, while carpets of Chinguruma grass with its cute white flowers (or better: seeds that remain of the flowers) and Urashima Azaleas complemented the autumnal canvas with their small red leaves. Here too, the colors should be further improving over the coming days.

View down onto the Susoaidaira Plateau
Chinguruma grass with cute white flowers
Susoaidaira Plateau
Patches of Urashima Azaleas with red leaves in front of Susoaidaira Plateau

In order to visit the Susoaidaira Plateau, it is not necessary to travel via the peak of Mount Asahidake. Instead, it is also possible to hike the route in the opposite direction and reach the plateau faster and more directly in about 90-120 minutes one way. The trail for Susoaidaira Plateau branches off the circular 40-60 minute walking course at the Meotoike Ponds.

Simple map of some of the hiking trails around Mount Asahidake

 
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List of Posts:
2010/12/09 - Tokyo Report
2010/12/06 - Kamakura Report
2010/12/01 - Kyoto Report

2010/11/30 - Tokyo Report
2010/11/26 - Kyoto Report
2010/11/26 - Osaka Report
2010/11/25 - Kyoto Report
2010/11/24 - Tokyo Report
2010/11/24 - Kyoto Report
2010/11/23 - Kyoto Report
2010/11/19 - Kyoto Report
2010/11/19 - Sakurayama Report
2010/11/18 - Nara Report
2010/11/17 - Kyoto Report
2010/11/17 - Ise Report
2010/11/16 - Tokyo Report
2010/11/16 - Koyasan Report
2010/11/15 - Kyoto Report
2010/11/10 - Kyoto Report
2010/11/09 - Fujigoko Report
2010/11/05 - Yamadera Report
2010/11/04 - Daisen Report

2010/10/27 - Kuju Report
2010/10/27 - Nikko Report
2010/10/26 - Kirishima Report
2010/10/19 - Noboribetsu Report
2010/10/15 - Akita Report
2010/10/14 - Nikko Report
2010/10/14 - Akita Report
2010/10/05 - Nikko Report

2010/09/29 - Oze Report
2010/09/15 - Kurodake Report
2010/09/14 - Asahidake Report

Tours and Experiences