The Wonder of “Akibare”

With splashes of yellow and red gradually appearing around the park, the autumn season seems set to deliver a fine sample of what the Japanese call “Akibare” 秋晴れ).  This well-worn term describes conditions of clear blue skies (now without the characteristic haze of summer) and rich autumn tones of red, yellow, and everything in between.  And, while we’re still just in the cusp of this season, what we’re now seeing is enough to make us very excited.

Before I get ahead of myself, I’d like to give a big shout-out to the fine folks at both the Shirakabaso website and the National Park Guide website, the former for posting some beautiful pictures from the past week in Kamikochi and the latter for maintaining a very informative autumn foliage report.


Let’s start with a look at some of the sublime scenes from the Dakesawa Marsh:


DSCN4931  DSCN4928

In addition to the leaves in the foreground, the bracing autumn chill is almost palpable in these pictures.  It’s a time when the air sometimes tastes its sweetest and everywhere you turn, there’s a mountain panorama to look at.  The marsh, of course, is its usual charming self.




Moving up river to the Tashiro Marsh, we can see clear evidence of changing colors.  Compare the image on the left, taken a week ago, with the one on the right from back in June:


田代湿原  春の湿原

As you can see, the difference is quite dramatic.  There’s still a lot of green on the trees, but the grass has turned a yellowish brown.  This is just a forerunner to autumn proper.


What you see in these next images is an early flourish of color on a Pterocarya, or “Japanese Wingnut” as it is popularly known (L), and a sturdy Japanese Elm (R):


  サワグルミ  ハルニレ


If there is a downside to early autumn (and yeah, let’s face it, there is), it’s that the nights and mornings have been quite a bit colder of late.  Just this past week, the thermometer sank to a wintery zero degrees Celsius in the early morning confirming that old hiking maxim of having to prepare for both the pervious season and the next season when in the mountains.  And yes, frost has appeared on Kappa Bridge as well:


寒い… 霜が降りました


But hey, there’s a bright side to all of this in that cold night skies have the prettiest stars and that in itself is a good reason to spend the night in Kamikochi , either in one of our many fine lodgings or a cold weather-appropriate tent.


That’s all for this week, but remember that you can always visit our Facebook page with any questions or comments you migth have:


Till next time, keep warm and best of luck planning your autumn adventure in the Northern Alps!


Sources of Information:


Kamikochi Hotel Shirakabaso website:


National Park Guide website: