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Daisetsuzan: Approaching Peak

Over the next three months, will again accompany Japan's autumn colors as they descend from northern Japan's highest mountains into lower elevations and more southern latitudes.

Every year, the colors make their first appearance around the "roof of Hokkaido", a nickname for Hokkaido's tallest mountains, the Daisetsuzan mountains, in the center of the island. Unlike in more southern areas of Japan which are currently being visited by a typhoon, the weather in Hokkaido was very pleasant today.

View of Biei from the airplane while approaching Asahikawa Airport
Asahikawa Airport with the Daisetsuzan Mountains in the background

Mount Asahidake: Approaching Peak

Due to above-average temperatures in the preceding weeks, the colors in the highest elevations of Daisetsuzan have been appearing a little bit delayed compared to the average year. They are currently still approaching their peak around Mount Asahidake, the tallest peak in the Daisetsuzan mountains, which I visited today. I took the ropeway from Asahidake Onsen to its upper station where the colors, provided by various bushes, shrubs and grasses, were already quite pretty.

From the ropeway
Stepping out onto the terrace of the ropeway station
The nanakamado bushes around the ropeway station have the potential to gain some more color
Many people of different ages, nationalities and hiking skills visited the mountain today
Asahidake's steam vents behind a colorful nanakamado bush
From observation point number one

While most visitors were satisfied with completing the relatively easy, circular hiking trail around the ropeway's upper station (for which the average hiker will require around 45 minutes), I wanted to see some more autumn colors and hiked to the nearby Susoaidaira Plateau which the average hiker can reach in about 100 minutes one way from the ropeway station

Approaching Susoaidaira Plateau
The plateau is famous for its large fields of cute chinguruma plants
Hiking among the chinguruma fields
Nanakamado bushes in the foreground and background
Hiking in paradise

The colors around Mount Asahidake can be expected to further improve over the coming week and remain beautiful through the rest of the month unless they get prematurely covered up by snow. Furthermore, the colors will gradually move down the mountain's slopes and continue to delight visitors into October around the lower sections of the ropeway and the town of Asahidake Onsen.

Completing the rest of the circular hiking track near the ropeway station
Mount Asahidake

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