Autumn Color Report 2015
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

previous post
list all posts
next post

2015/10/26 - Bandai Report
by joe

Mount Bandai with fresh snow on its peak and just a few patches of autumn color left

Continuing our mid-season mountain coverage of this year's autumn color reporting, I made my way today to one of northern Japan's most famous mountains: Mount Bandai. Located in the north-central part of Fukushima Prefecture, Bandai is a 1816-meter tall dormant volcano whose slopes are well-known or their beautiful autumn colors, particularly on the north side of the mountain itself, in the area known as Urabandai.

Nestled between three stratovolcanoes (Bandai, Adatara, and Azuma), the mountainous landscape of Urabandai covers a wide range of elevations, making for a relatively long koyo (autumn color) season in the area, which usually lasts for the duration of the month of October.

Today, I started my day at the eastern entrance of the Bandai-Azuma Lake Line, making my way west. The scenic road starts at the bases of Mount Azuma and Adatara and passes along several mountain lakes in the area. After a short way in, it was pretty clear that the end of October means the end of the koyo season. All of the trees in the higher elevations were all but barren today, with patches of yellow karamatsu (Japanese larch) providing most of the color. The exceptions were some of the lower river gorge areas, including the lovely Nakatsugawa River Gorge, which still had a bit more variety of colorful foliage left.

Morning light slowly illuminating the Bandai-Azuma Lake Line
Bright yellow karamatsu (Japanese larch) holding out their color till the end (of autumn)
Found this obstreperous bunch darting across the road in front of me
Autumonkey
Lake Akimoto from the Bandai-Azuma Lake Line
A bridge stretching over the Nakatsugawa River Gorge
The Nakatsugawa River Gorge, with still a little color left
Golden and brown leaves carpeting the valley floor
Lake Akimoto showing off the last of its autumn colors
Lake Onogawako

Following the Lake Line to its western end, I was conveniently spat out right in front of my next destination for the day, the Goshikinuma ponds. Following the most recent eruption of Mount Bandai in 1888 (which was large enough to blow apart a large park of the peak and kill hundreds of people living below), it is believed a variety of minerals surfaced into the newly-created ponds in this area, giving them all slightly different, brightly-colored hues of greenish blue.

In autumn, the trees around the ponds and walking trails can also get rather colorful. Today, though a bit late for peak color, there were some great shades of yellow and orange here. Juxtaposed with the intensely colorful water, green pines and sasa (alpine bamboo), and susuki (pampas grass), the contrasts were beautiful.

Goshikinuma's Bishamon Pond
Busloads of visitors here to see the autumn colors
Canoes waiting to be ridden
Green and blue
Karamatsu yellow
Giant koi in a grandiloquent conversation
More karamatsu lighting up the background
A hike in the woods
When they named it Goshikinuma (five-colored ponds), it must have been in autumn
Unreal blue and bronze
Artists endeavoring to capture the colors
Akanuma Pond, slightly greener than its big blue brother Bishamon (yet nonetheless named Red Pond)

My last assignment for today was a drive along the Bandaisan Gold Line, the road that leads from central Urabandai along the side of Bandaisan itself out onto the plains of Lake Inawashiro (Japan's second largest lake) to the south. Still rather high up, the road passes by the trailhead of the hiking trail that leads to the summit of Bandai as well as several excellent ski resorts. Like the rest of the area, today was a bit too late in the season for the autumn colors to fully cover the slopes here, but the remaining patches of color were still quite nice.

The many bends of the serpentine Bandaisan Gold Line
The peak of Mount Bandai in full sight, looking like its ready for winter
Through the susuki (pampas grass) fields
Susuki brightening the landscape
Coming to the end of the Bandaisan Gold Line, with a sweeping view of Lake Inawashiro below

previous post
list all posts
next post

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

Tours and travel services