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Autumn Color Report 2013
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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2013/09/27 - Tateyama Report
by sean

Today I made a trip to the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, which traverses the prefectures of Toyama and Nagano, through the Northern Japan Alps. The Alpine Route has spectacular scenery to offer for most of the year, and in autumn it is one of the earliest destinations where you can see fall colors, after the Daisetsuzan mountain range in Hokkaido.

I approached the route from Nagano. After parking my car at Ogisawa, I took the trolley bus to the Kurobe Dam. At an elevation of about 1500 meters, the vegetation around the dam was still green, with little tinges of yellow upon closer observation.

View from Kurobe Dam

Taking a cable car from the dam, I arrived at the Kurobedaira Station at about 1850 meters. The trees on the surrounding mountains were beginning to change in color. A gradient between light orange at the higher sections and green at the bottom covered the slopes before me.

On the ropeway towards Daikanbo from Kurobedaira
Looking down from the top ropeway station

A ride on Japan's longest single span ropeway and then on a trolley bus that passes directly under the peak of Mount Tateyama brought me to Murodo at around 2450 meters, where I began my hike for the day. From Murodo Station, I made a loop across hiking trails in the area, going up and down mountain slopes and along rivers, taking time in between to awe at the gorgeous landscapes.

The colors were not at their peak yet, but were generally past the halfway mark and already very pleasant. The grass was turning golden, the chinguruma plants turning velvet, the nanakamado trees turning scarlet, and the maple leaves turning mustard-orange. The warm colors combined with the grey from the rocks, the white from some clouds and steam caused by hot spring water of the Jigokudani, and green from the evergreen shrubs to produce fantastic scenery.

The most saturated autumn colors that I saw today was at the high elevations above 2600 meters, and these colors can be expected to reach their peak in a few days. In the following weeks, as the temperatures drop, the colors will descend the mountain slopes towards Kurobe Dam, where the peak period is usually between mid and end October.

Arriving at Murodo
Golden grass
Mikurigaike Pond
Hikers in a line
Trails to Jigokudani are currently out of bounds due to high volcanic gas concentrations
Precautions to take against volcanic gases
The wind streamer
Fellow hikers
Mountain landscape
Blood Pond: the result of a high iron oxide content
Looking back after descending to lower levels
Lovely view
Chinguruma
Stone path
Camping site
Crossing a bridge
Along a river
Buddhist statues
At higher elevations
Nanakamado
Fallen leaves on a nature trail
Nature's colours
In the glittering sunshine

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List of Posts:
2013/12/11 - Tokyo Report
2013/12/10 - Kyoto Report
2013/12/06 - Kamakura Report
2013/12/03 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/29 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/28 - Kanazawa Report
2013/11/27 - Osaka Report
2013/11/26 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/26 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/21 - Miyajima Report
2013/11/20 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/19 - Korankei Report
2013/11/18 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/18 - Fujigoko Report
2013/11/13 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/12 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/11 - Sakurayama Report
2013/11/08 - Karuizawa Report
2013/11/06 - Fujigoko Report
2013/10/30 - Towada Report
2013/10/29 - Nikko Report
2013/10/29 - Yamadera Report
2013/10/28 - Urabandai Report
2013/10/22 - Gunma Report
2013/10/18 - Nasu Report
2013/10/17 - Nikko Report
2013/10/14 - Fujisan Report
2013/10/12 - Hakkodasan Report
2013/10/10 - Oze Report
2013/10/08 - Nikko Report
2013/09/27 - Tateyama Report
2013/09/21 - Kurodake Report
2013/09/20 - Asahidake Report

Tours and Experiences