Autumn Color Report 2011
Official autumn color reports by japan-guide.com
Guide to Autumn Colors - Schedule of upcoming reports - Post your own report

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2011/10/21 - Fukushima Report
by schauwecker

Mount Bandai (֒R, Bandaisan) is a volcano in Fukushima Prefecture which last erupted in 1888 in one of the most violent volcanic eruptions in recent Japanese history, thereby newly shaping the mountain's peak and the Urabandai area north of it. A popular koyo spot, the Urabandai (literally "behind Bandai") area usually remains colorful for the entire month of October thanks to its range of elevation. It is easily combined with a visit to nearby Aizu-Wakamatsu.

Located 90 kilometers inland from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants, the Urabandai area escaped major contamination by radioactive fallout and records only slightly heightened radiation levels of around 0.3 microsieverts per hour (in comparison, travelers are exposed to around 10 microsieverts per hour on board of an airplane due to heightened cosmic and solar radiation at cruising altitude). Nevertheless, tourist numbers have plummeted since the nuclear accident, causing additional problems to the local population.

Autumn colors in the pond dotted highlands of Urabandai are currently reaching their peak. We started the day with the popular Goshikinuma walk that leads for about an hour through the forest, passing multiple ponds and marshes. The trail offered lots of seasonal colors, among which the bright reds of the scattered maple trees were most spectacular.

At the trailhead of the Goshikinuma Walk
Unseasonal combination: (dry) hydrangea flowers in front of colorful maple trees
Goshikinuma Walk
One of the blue colored ponds along the Goshikinuma Walk
More impressed by a plastic bag

Another attraction of the Urabandai area are its spectacular sightseeing roads that wind up the mountains, lead along ridges and provide breathtaking views onto the highlands and the volcanic scenery. Many of these roads used to be toll roads, but were turned free to promote tourism.

Today we drove along the Bandai-Azuma Lake Line, which offered panoramic views and fall foliage at its best. The most popular koyo spot along the road was the Nakatsugawa Gorge where the peak of the season has also been reached.

Bandai-Azuma Lake Line
Panoramic view from the Bandai-Azuma Lake Line
Panoramic view from the Bandai-Azuma Lake Line
Nakatsugawa Gorge along the Bandai-Azuma Lake Line
Nakatsugawa Gorge along the Bandai-Azuma Lake Line

Autumn colors along the even higher Bandai-Azuma Skyline were still nice along the road's lower sections but thinned out as we gained elevation. Additionally, we were wrapped in heavy fog during a large portion of the trip. What I was able to see of the volcanic scenery along the way, however, left me with a strong desire to return here for some hiking.

Bandai-Azuma Skyline
Retreating fog reveals some of the amazing volcanic landscape along the Bandai-Azuma Skyline

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List of Posts:
2011/12/13 - Tokyo Report
2011/12/08 - Kamakura Report
2011/12/05 - Tokyo Report
2011/12/02 - Kyoto Report
2011/12/01 - Nara Report

2011/11/30 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/29 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/28 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/27 - Tokyo Report
2011/11/27 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/23 - Kanazawa Report
2011/11/22 - Tokyo Report
2011/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/21 - Miyajima Report
2011/11/20 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/18 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/15 - Tokyo Report
2011/11/13 - Kyoto Report
2011/11/12 - Unzen Report
2011/11/09 - Sakurayama Report
2011/11/08 - Fujigoko Report
2011/11/04 - Kurobe Report
2011/11/02 - Mitakesan Report

2011/10/27 - Nikko Report
2011/10/27 - Towadako Report
2011/10/26 - Hakkodasan Report
2011/10/21 - Fukushima Report
2011/10/20 - Zao Report
2011/10/19 - Naruko Report
2011/10/12 - Nikko Report
2011/10/12 - Oze Report
2011/10/07 - Nasu Report
2011/10/03 - Nikko Report

2011/09/27 - Norikura Report
2011/09/14 - Ginsendai Report
2011/09/13 - Asahidake Report

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