Early Signs of Autumn at Month’s End

In Japan, it is often said that the end of the Bon holiday brings a sudden spell of cooler temperatures.  After weeks of stifling heat, many will be glad of this as even in towns and cities the air has cooled a bit (typhoon activity has played a role as well).  But whereas cooler temperatures at lower altitudes just feel like a more comfortable version of summer weather, Kamikochi is now experiencing something more like autumn.  In addition to that telling chill in the morning air, there are visible signs, such as the splash of color on the marsh grass seen in the picture below:

For crowd-conscious visitors to Kamikochi, this time is a kind of boom, as it represents a lull between the busy periods of peak summer in August and the very popular autumn foliage period in October.  It’s certainly when I plan on doing the majority of my hiking in the area.

As with all things, the onset of cooler weather also comes with one or two caveats.  The usual advice about packing warm and waterproof outerwear is more essential than ever with typhoon activity occasionally making things cold blustery and wet.  Keep this in mind when planning your trip.

Apart from that, it’s a splendid time of year to enjoy the park, the peaks, and whatever else you had in mind…provided the weather is nice.  It really must be said that warm and sunny days here can feel just like summer.  Even the briskness of the morning air can feel positively invigorating for those who fancy a quiet stroll along the Azusa River, through the Dakesawa Marsh, or perhaps along the placid banks of Myojin Pond.  You might feel like you’re in a Robert Frost poem as you drink in the deep melancholy of the autumn air.

So if you can free up a weekend–or even better, a weekday–to make the trip out, a sunny day at Kamikochi is the perfect way to ring in autumn.  It’s a completely different version of the alpine experience, and not a bit less glorious.

Source of Information:

National Park Guide website: http://npg-alps.net