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Hakkoda: Peak Colors

Winding road through the colorful forest

Moving back to the Tohoku Region since our last autumn color report in Oze, I went to Mount Hakkoda in Aomori Prefecture to kick off the work week. Overall I found the autumn colors here to be nearing the end of their peak and many leaves have started to fall. The best colors can be seen around 700 to 900 meter range, around the Sukayu Onsen hot spring accommodation. The season this year seems to be slightly more advanced compared to the last two years when the colors were at their best around the same period as now. Mild weather is forecast for the rest of this week and I expect the rest of this week to be the best time to view the remaining colors in Hakkodasan.

I started my day at Suirennuma Pond, east of Sukayu Onsen and found that there weren't much colors around the small pond. There is some construction work to renew the viewing deck but that did not impact my view of the marshland and pond at all.

Suirennuma Pond looking a little average this time

From there, I headed to my main spot for the day: hiking around Sukayu Onsen and visiting some of the other autumn color spots around the ryokan. First up was Jigokudani Lake and followed by the Tohoku University Botanical Garden. I found the colors at these two places to be at their peak and do not expect them to remain at their best longer than the next two weeks.

Colors near Jigokudani Lake
Jigokudani Lake
I'm sure this road gets crowded like that only in the autumn
Into the garden
Marshland in the garden
I found the colors here nicer than at Jigokudani Lake
Heading up and out
Walking behind Sukayu Onsen
Road leading up to the hot spring ryokan
Colors beside Sukayu Onsen
Hikers making their way down the trail
It's really pretty around the onsen ryokan
Torii gate and Mount Otake

I went for a hike up one of the trails starting from Sukayu Onsen and found the colors to be at their best at the lower elevations. The trees were mostly bald towards the top and the view from above also showed what I had suspected, that the autumn color season here is starting to come to an end despite looking amazing up close.

Bottom of the trail
A few minutes into the trail and I come across this clearing
Hello autumn
Sukayu Onsen looking a little threadbare from the top
Trail didn't look too grim
On the contrary, it was colorful towards the bottom
Muddy leaves on a muddy trail

I also took the opportunity to take the Hakkoda Ropeway given the nice weather. I found the trees above the 1000 meter mark to be almost bare of trees and needless to say, the top was just left with evergreens and almost no fall colors. However, the trees were more colorful and fuller towards the bottom ropeway station.

The ropeway takes about 10 minutes to make the journey from lower to upper station
Not far from the lower station
View on the way up the ropeway
Mix of bare branches and autumn colors midway up
Looking down from the observation deck at the upper station
Pretty green up here
Catching some views on the way down
Autumn colors from Jogakura Bridge
The mountain side looks really good when the sun's shining on it, but not so much when it's in the shade