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Alpine Route: Peak Colors

Kurobe Dam in autumnal splendor

This year's autumn color season is now well under way, with a flurry of color in the process of sweeping down Japan from north to south and from high to lowlands. In continuing the reporting we've done so far this year, today I took a trip to see how the foliage was doing along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.

Raina visited this breathtaking spot three and half weeks ago and captured some beautiful scenes, observing how the highlands of Murodo and Midagahara were approaching peak but the lower areas including the Tateyama Ropeway and the Kurobe Dam were not yet fully showing their color. In light of this, I was eager to get up to breathe in the alpine air and see how things had progressed since then.

Murodo:
End of Season

I first arrive at Murodo, at an altitude of 2450 meters, highest point along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. The area is popular with hikers for its spectacular views and surrounding trails, and, because of its high elevation, is typically one of the first places in the country to see autumn colors. By now, the autumn colors have come and gone, with many of the bushes and shrubs having lost their leaves along with their color. Despite this however, Murodo is still a picturesque place to go for a hike, with great panoramic vistas.

Views of the mountains at Murodo
Many of the shrubs and bushes have lost their leaves
Picturesque vistas
A hiker begins his trek
It's beginning to look a lot like winter
The mild weather brought lots of visitors
Hills, grass and blue skies
A bird looks upon the mountain
I thought I smelled sulfur!
Hikers relax next to Lake Mikurigaike
Looking a little bare in places
Autumnal grass
Returning to Murodo Station along the trails
Picturesque ponds

Tateyama Ropeway:
Beyond Peak

The next place of interest for me today was along the Tateyama Ropeway, a popular tourist attraction that elevates visitors above the valley between Daikanbo and Kurobedaira stations. The state of the ropeway is now past its peak on the whole, but the bottom is still alive with color and made for some great views today. This being said, I expect the colors at the lower levels to come to an end in the next week or two, and would advise those who want to see them along this part of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route to go soon.

The ropeway ascends from Daikanbo Station
There are patches of color, but also bare trees
Visitors observe from Kurobedaira viewing platform
Down at the bottom
The foliage at the lower levels of the ropeway is still glowing
Many bushes are past peak
Coming in to land at Daikanbo Station
Autumn leaves illuminated by the sun

Kurobe Dam:
Peak Color

One of the many charms of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is the relatively long period that autumn colors can be seen here as they wash down through the different elevations. Kurobe Dam is located 1470 meters above sea level and has reached its peak. Japan's tallest dam is surrounded by a blaze of color in the adjacent gorge and on the banks of Lake Kurobe.

Kurobe Dam
The surrounding hills are alive with color
Ablaze with yellows and reds
Looking down into the gorge
More colors
Looking out onto Lake Kurobe
The hills are alive
Visitors take in the scenes
Japan's tallest dam

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