|Schauwecker's Japan Travel Blog|
by Stefan Schauwecker, webmaster of japan-guide.com
This blog is intended to record some of my travel activities in Japan.
2008/09/24 - Mount Asahidake
Daisetsuzan is a mountain range and national park in central Hokkaido. Also called the "Roof of Hokkaido", Daisetsuzan features some of the island's highest peaks, and is known to see autumn colors earlier than any other place in Japan. Therefore, Daisetsuzan was the obvious choice as the first destination of our autumn leaf report.
On the first day of this 3-day trip, I visited the Asahidake area of Daisetsuzan. Mount Asahidake is with 2290 meters the tallest mountain in Hokkaido, and Asahidake Ropeway lifts tourists to an altitude of 1600 meters above sea. Around the ropeway's top station, autumn colors can usually be enjoyed around mid September, but today, white was the only color to be seen.
Despite being 1500 meters shorter than Japan's tallest mountain Mount Fuji, Mount Asahidake is also the first spot in the country to see snow each autumn, and it seems that with my visit today I hit the day after "hatsuyuki" (first snow)! The temperature was a chilly -4 degrees.
Along the ropeway and around the ropeway's lower station, which is located in the pleasant hot spring resort of Asahidake Onsen, I was able to enjoy some autumn colors without snow, as well. The area attracted surprisingly many tourists even on a weekday with bad weather like today.