This year's autumn color season is well under way, with colors so far having swept down from Hokkaido, to the Northern Japan Alps and now beginning to trickle into parts of the Kanto Region. Following my trip to Nikko on Tuesday, today I headed to another spot that starts to see color a few weeks ahead of Tokyo; Oze National Park.
Nestled in the mountains about 150 kilometers north of the captial, Oze National Park is a very popular hiking spot, especially come autumn when the grasses of its main attraction, the Ozegahara Marshland, turn a brilliant golden brown color.
I arrived early in the nearby village of Tokura and caught a shuttle bus up to the Hatomachitoge trailhead, the most popular of Oze National Park's three trail heads due to its proximity to the Ozegahara Marshlands. The buses, that depart relatively frequently from the village, are the most convenient way to access the park during peak seasons when the road up the mountain is closed to normal traffic.
After arriving at the trailhead I made my way along the path that winds through the forest and takes around an hour to hike before arriving at the marshland. The trail itself was alive with vibrant with lots of red and yellow leaves and made for quite the display to whet my appetite before reaching the marshlands.
I finally arrived at the Ozegahara Marshland and continued along the boardwalk that suspends hikers above the boggy ground and snakes around the marsh for many kilometers, providing near constant views of Mount Hiuchigatake and Mount Shibutsu at either end. Today, I can conclude that the marshland is in great, peak condition; its grass exhibiting the golden shimmer it is known for come autumn. Barring any unexpected snow fall, I suspect that the park will remain in this optimal state for another one to two weeks.