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Autumn Color Report 2012
Official autumn color reports by japan-guide.com

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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2012/10/17 - Shiretoko Report
by schauwecker

On Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido, the autumn colors are gradually descending into lower elevations, but remain one to two weeks behind their average schedule. On the first day of a 3-day reporting trip across Hokkaido, I visited Shiretoko National Park which covers a large peninsula in the east of the island.

I first visited the Shiretoko Five Lakes where colors have started to change, but can be expected to further intensify over the coming days. Tourists can enjoy the area by walking along a 800 meter long, elevated wooden walkway which leads to one of the five lakes (free of charge) or by walking along nature trails that lead to all five of the lakes.

Road leading to the Shiretoko Five Lakes

I went for the nature trails, which during this time of the year require hikers to attend a short lecture and pay a 250 yen admission fee. There is also a limit on how many visitors are permitted onto the trails. After a frightening short movie on how to avoid bear attacks, I was among the first to explore the trails today. Fortunately, most bears have moved to different areas of the peninsula by now. Note that different admission regulations apply during different times of the season.

The walk past the five lakes takes about 90 minutes and was very calm and beautiful. Green was the dominating color in the forested sections of the walk, but some autumn colors were visible here and there, especially along the lake shores. Among the best koyo providers were the grasses around lake number one, which have turned into a spectacular yellow. I generally expect the colors to further intensify over the coming days.

Lots of green along the nature trail
Lake number five with Mount Rausu in the background
A woodpecker
Lake number three
Lake number one from the observation deck at the end of the elevated wooden walkway
Beautiful yellow grass around lake number one
Along the elevated wooden walkway

Next I drove to the Shiretoko Nature Center from where I made the 15-20 minute walk to the nearby Furepe Falls. Colors along the way were mainly of a yellowish green in the forested, first part of the walk and a brownish red provided by fern like plants in the second part of the walk that leads through grassland.

Yellowish green was the dominating color along the first part of the walk to Furepe Falls
Brown fern took over along the second part
The autumn colors have descended to sea level around the Furepe Falls
Lighthouse and autumn colors near the Furepe Falls

I concluded the report with a drive up to Shiretoko Pass at an altitude of 740 meters above sea level. Colors were quite vivid in the lower parts of the road, but the trees turned increasingly barren towards the top. The landscape around the pass, however, was spiced up by scattered pockets of spectacular yellows and reds provided by maple and nanakamado bushes.

Colorful road leading up to Shiretoko Pass
Most trees are barren at the top of Shiretoko Pass
Colorful pockets among barren trees
Colorful pockets among barren trees

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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

Tours and Experiences