Autumn Color Report 2012
Official autumn color reports by

Where to see autumn leaves? - When do trees turn colors? - What trees turn colors?
Schedule of upcoming reports - Post your own report

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2012/10/04 - Alpine Route Report
by schauwecker

Murodo along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is a spectacular way to cross the Northern Japan Alps by a combination of buses, cablecars and a ropeway. The route leads from Toyama City at the Sea of Japan coast to Murodo at an altitude of 2420 meters before descending into the town of Omachi in Nagano Prefecture. It can be travelled in either direction.

Due to its wide range of elevation, the Alpine Route features autumn colors over an extended time period. One of the first places on Japan's main island of Honshu to see the seasonal colors, Murodo usually sees its alpine bushes start coloring around late September, while the seasonal spectacle lasts into the month of November in the lower elevations along the route.

After our reports from Hokkaido had been somewhat disappointing in terms of colors, I frankly grew a little bit worried about this year's autumn colors in general, especially in Eastern Japan where the summer had been a particularly hot one. These worries, however, were blown away as soon as I stepped out of the Murodo Bus Terminal and was overwhelmed by alpine slopes covered in fiery orange and red nanakamado bushes and other shrubs.

First sight after stepping out of the Murodo Bus Terminal
This street is lined by up to 20 meter high snow walls during the spring months
Nanakamado bushes on fire

Murodo offers walking options for every visitor from easy strolls around the bus terminal to multi-day trekking tours through the Northern Alps. A particularly popular hike is the ascent to the 3015 meter high peak of Mount Tateyama, which takes about two hours one way from the bus terminal.

Ascent to the peak of Mount Tateyama
Ascent to the peak of Mount Tateyama
The ascent to the peak of Mount Tateyama is steep
View from the trail to Mount Tateyama

However, instead of hiking all the way to the peak (which was frequently wrapped in clouds today), I branched off the main trail half way to the top and walked downhill towards the Raichozawa camp ground. This trail traversed one of the most colorful mountain slopes.

Hiking trail leading past nanakamado bushes
Scenery near the Raichozawa camp ground
The colors attracted hikers

Reached in shorter and easier walks from the Murodo bus terminal are a few ponds and a "hell valley". Note however that due to a recent increase of volcanic activity and poisonous gases, entry into the hell valley is currently forbidden.

The hell valley is temporarily closed

Over the following weeks, the autumn colors will gradually descend into the lower elevations of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, while the tallest peaks may soon receive their first snow. We have another report scheduled for the Alpine Route in late October.

The colors have also started to change around Kurobedaira further down the mountain
Colorful mountain slope and Lake Kurobe from the Tateyama Ropeway
Colors were mostly green around Kurobe Dam even further down the route

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List of Posts:
2012/12/11 - Tokyo Report
2012/12/07 - Tokyo Report
2012/12/05 - Kamakura Report
2012/12/02 - Kyoto Report
2012/12/01 - Tokyo Report

2012/11/29 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/29 - Himeji Report
2012/11/27 - Tokyo Report
2012/11/26 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/25 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/23 - Miyajima Report
2012/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/21 - Tokyo Report
2012/11/21 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/19 - Takaosan Report
2012/11/16 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/15 - Mount Fuji Report
2012/11/15 - Shosenkyo Report
2012/11/14 - Hakone Report
2012/11/13 - Tokyo Report
2012/11/09 - Sakurayama Report
2012/11/08 - Koyasan Report
2012/11/07 - Kyoto Report
2012/11/07 - Nikko Report
2012/11/07 - Yamadera Report
2012/11/06 - Naruko Report
2012/11/05 - Hiraizumi Report
2012/11/05 - Mount Fuji Report
2012/11/01 - Kuju Report

2012/10/31 - Towada Report
2012/10/30 - Bandai Report
2012/10/26 - Minakami Report
2012/10/24 - Nikko Report
2012/10/22 - Alpine Route Report
2012/10/18 - Noboribetsu Report
2012/10/18 - Sounkyo Report
2012/10/17 - Shiretoko Report
2012/10/16 - Norikura Report
2012/10/16 - Nikko Report
2012/10/15 - Kamikochi Report
2012/10/12 - Oze Report
2012/10/11 - Hachimantai Report
2012/10/10 - Bandai Report
2012/10/09 - Nikko Report
2012/10/05 - Route 292 Report
2012/10/04 - Alpine Route Report

2012/09/28 - Kurodake Report
2012/09/27 - Kogen Onsen Report
2012/09/26 - Asahidake Report
2012/09/21 - Asahidake Report
2012/09/20 - Kurodake Report
2012/09/18 - Asahidake Report

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