First Signs of Color



There’s a welcome chill in the air today with a glance at the calendar serving notice that September is two thirds gone. Summer stuck around for longer than usual this year, but now appears to on the wane. Just today, Karasawa Hyutte’s homepage posted a photo of the Karasawa Col showing little in the way of autumn color along with the candid explanation, “due to the long summer, the autumn foliage will be late.”

But keen-eyed visitors to Kamikochi can catch tantalizing glimpses of color on leaves and pine needles around the park. The picture above shows a karamatsu (Japanese larch) with traces of orange on its branches. The peak period for yellow larches is around the end of October and, as of today (2019/09/20), trusted sources point to a late October/early November time frame.

The next picture shows a barberry shrub whose now red fruit contrasts pleasingly with the gradually yellowing leaves:


And here we see an Asiatic elm, which is known to change color earlier than other kinds of trees in Kamikochi. Have a look round for some if you’re planning a trip this weekend:


As for the more urgent question of how the overall autumn foliage scene looks at the moment, like this more or less:


That’s right, the larch trees celebrated for their vibrant yellows are still a defiantly deep shade of green. As I said, the peak is still more than a month away.

Thanks as always to the Five Sense Kamikochi blog for sharing the photos used in today’s post. They also suggest that you prepare warm clothing before embarking on a trip to Kamikochi. These days, there is a massive gulf between the high temepratures on warm days and the lows on colder days (as well as mornings and nights). Make sure you at least have a fleece stashed in your pack along with a water repelling jacket.

Last but not least, we’d like to remind you that there are plenty of beautiful autumn days between now and the peak foliage season. For proof, just feast your eyes on this scene:

A sunny day in September is the perfect time for a hike up Mt. Yake, where you will certainly see a better selection of color (at this point in the season) than in central Kamikochi.

That’s all for this week’s blog. We’ll be back next week with more updates on the autumn season. Enjoy your weekend!

Sources of Information:

Nature Guide: Five Sense, Kamikochi blog:

Karasawa Hyutte homepage:年紅葉状況/