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Autumn Color Report 2015
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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2015/09/24 - Alpine Route Report
by raina

A day after the long weekend, colloquially referred to as Silver Week, I headed off to Murodo, the highest point along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route to check out the autumn colors. Murodo sits at around 2450 meters and the colors here were nicely developed. The fiery red nanakamado bushes were juxtaposed with green shrubs and grey rocks, providing a great contrast.

The timing of autumn colors depends on the temperature and with cooler temperatures recorded across the country for the past month, the 2015 koyo season has been early compared to the average year. However, the development of the colors in Kyoto and Tokyo still remains to be seen.

The weather over the long weekend had been absolutely gorgeous over most of Japan, with warm temperatures and clear skies, and looked set to continue till at least mid morning today. However, it was cloudy when I arrived at Ogizawa Station to start my ascent, and there was a slight drizzle by the time I got to the Murodo Bus Terminal.

The temperature at the top never rose above 10 degrees Celsius when I was there and I saw many day tourists who were underdressed against the wind and rain. There were many hikers all prepared for wet weather and we started our trek towards Mount Tateyama. I didn't hike to the top but branched off mid way to take the path that cut through the nanakamado bushes and the camping grounds. Note that hikers are only allowed on the designated trails and must not veer off the paths.

The view that greets you when you step out of the bus terminal
My hike started here
Hotel Tateyama, the highest located hotel in Japan
Meandering river, hiking paths and autumn colors
Colors of autumn
The world map according to moss
Walking up towards Mount Tateyama
There was still snow from last winter that didn't melt
A small statue, and where I also branched off to a different trail
Hiking in color
Turning back every now and then to see all that beauty
Nanakamado bushes on the slopes
Fallen leaves

The hell valley in Murodo is still closed due to volcanic activity and visitors can only view the area from afar. The air near the Raichozawa camping ground had a sulphuric smell and I could smell it around the Mikuriga pond.

Hotel Tateyama, Mikuriga pond, the smoking hell valley and Raichozawa campsite can be seen here
Alpine grass near the campsite
Crossing the river to get to the campsite
Looking up from the campsite, the hell valley lies beyond the buildings
Lots of chinguruma here
Walking up towards the ponds
Raining in Murodo
Leaving it all behind and making the trek up

The valley between the ropeway stations of Daikanbo and Kurobedaira, was still relatively green with small patches of yellow and the colors here are expected to develop further. The trees at Kurobe Dam, at a lower elevation of about 1450 meters, were still green though most of their tips had yellow tinges. It wouldn't be long before the autumn colors move down towards these areas and Murodo covered in snow once again.

More green than yellow in the valley
Looking down at the ropeway and the dam from Daikanbo
Waiting in line for the ropeway at Kurobedaira
Taking a picture of the cable car which is pulled up at a 31 degree angle
Kurobe Dam discharging water, and the trees looking pretty green
The Kurobe tunnel trolley bus mascot high-fiving a kid before we boarded the bus back to Ogizawa Station

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List of Posts:
2015/12/09 - Tokyo Report
2015/12/04 - Kyoto Report
2015/12/03 - Tokyo Report
2015/12/01 - Kamakura Report
2015/11/27 - Tokyo Report
2015/11/27 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/27 - Nara Report
2015/11/26 - Osaka Report
2015/11/25 - Miyajima Report
2015/11/24 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/20 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/19 - Tokyo Report
2015/11/19 - Kankakei Report
2015/11/18 - Mount Mitake Report
2015/11/18 - Korankei Report
2015/11/17 - Fujigoko Report
2015/11/17 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/16 - Mount Takao Report
2015/11/13 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/12 - Tokyo Report
2015/11/11 - Hakone Report
2015/11/11 - Fukuroda Falls Report
2015/11/10 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/09 - Koyasan Report
2015/11/08 - Miyajima Report
2015/11/07 - Dazaifu Report
2015/11/06 - Fujigoko Report
2015/11/04 - Tokyo Report
2015/10/30 - Kyoto Report
2015/10/28 - Nikko Report
2015/10/26 - Bandai Report
2015/10/22 - Northern Alps Report
2015/10/21 - Northern Alps Report
2015/10/20 - Mount Fuji Report
2015/10/15 - Hachimantai Report
2015/10/15 - Nikko Report
2015/10/14 - Alpine Route Report
2015/10/14 - Towada Report
2015/10/13 - Hakkoda Report
2015/10/08 - Nasu Report
2015/10/06 - Nikko Report
2015/10/05 - Route 292 Report
2015/09/28 - Oze Report
2015/09/24 - Alpine Route Report
2015/09/17 - Daisetsuzan Report
2015/09/16 - Daisetsuzan Report