Kappa Bridge Hits Autumn Peak, Brighter Days Ahead

Karamatsu (Japanese larch) and the Hotaka Peaks, as seen from Tashiro wetlands. (Photo: Ume, 2019/10/23)

As I write, rain continues to bucket down around my office window in Chikuma City. It’s been raining for hours and the Chikuma River is steadily rising to worrying levels. The weather forecasts tell me the rain will have let up by early evening which suggests that we won’t be caught in another big flood like the one two weeks ago. Here’s hoping.

The best thing you can say about days like this is that they eventually end. And with the autumn foliage in Kamikochi now at its peak, we hope to be able to enjoy the scenery amid more favorable conditions next week.

Here’s what the forecast looked like on Friday afternoon:

The good news is that more heavy rainfall is not currently expected for the next few days. The other good news is that, with sunny days expected, a few lucky punters will likely enjoy some fine weather next week.

As you can see from the graphic above, temperatures have been hovering around the 10 degrees Celsius mark and can feel colder on damp and windy days. Please be sure to prepare warm clothing as outlined in Wednesday’s blog.

Foliage 101: Momiji vs. Koyo

The two commonly used terms for autumn foliage in Japan are momiji (紅葉) and koyo (黄葉 or 紅葉). Momiji refers to red leaves while koyo refers to yellow when written “黄葉” or red when written “紅葉”. If you hear the words spoken, you may assume that “koyo” means colored leaves in general whereas “momiji” specifically refers to red leaves.

Where maple trees are concerned, coloration is determined by species within the maple family:

The Acer sieboldainum (AKA Siebold’s maple) displays vibrant red leaves like the ones seen here.

The Acer pictum, or “yellow-painted maple” lives up to its name with bright yellow leaves.

Kappa Bridge and Tokususawa now showing peak colors

Yellow larch trees at the Konashidaira Camping Area. (photo: Sakura)

The dedicated bloggers at Five Sense have posted some recent images from around the Kappa Bridge and Tokusawa areas. As you can see, there is a nice variety of foliage on display with maples and larches all currently displaying some amount of color.

Around Tokusawa, broad leaf trees such as maples and white birches are already bedecked in full color with larches not quite at their peak yet. However, the unusually late onset of colder weather this season has caused the peak period for larches to be much closer to that of broad leaf trees:

And with that we conclude this week’s update. We encourage you to visit Kamikochi in the coming week and urge you all to stay warm and dry so as to get the most out of your experience.

Sources of Information:

Nature Guide: Five Sense, Kamikochi blog: https://fivesense.guide/blog