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Written by: William Habington
Date: 2012/09/28

 

While the thermometer and sudden surge in autumn fashions continually remind us of the change of the seasons, the highly-anticipated period of autumn foliage hasn't quite arrived in Kamikochi yet.  At the time of this post, there were numerous signs of lush reds and yellows beginning to replace the verdant green of summer all around the park.  It's just the beginning of one of the most popular times of the year here.

 

オオカメノキ

 

Autumn means many things to many people in Japan, including the arrival of seasonal fruit.  Here we see some "konashi," one of many species of Japanese pear.  They're nice to look at, with their reddish hue being the perfect compliment to the changing leaves, but you can't eat these particular pears or anything else you find growing in the park ;)

 

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While we can't show you this year's autumn leaves in their full glory just yet, what we can do is offer some images from years past to whet your appetite for the coming season.  Again, please bear in mind, the following are last year's pictures.  Nature and the seasons being what they are though, we can certainly expect more of the same this year.

 

Here, for starters, is a shot from early October last year:

 

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Generally, the changing colors follow an order depending on the type of tree with cherry blossom trees being among the earliest and the Japanese Larch being among the latest.  The special character of different types of trees is also displayed in their colors as seen here.

 

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In addition to changing leaves, the arrival of true autumn weather will also mark the return of snow-capped peaks, creating the sort of arresting scenery seen in this photo from last October:

 

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And this means that from now until the park closes in November, we'll have to take special precautions in packing warm clothing, especially when heading to altitude.  Never underestimate the danger of sudden weather changes in the mountains.  Up above the treeline, preparing for autumn also means preparing for winter-like conditions.

 

At lower elevations, however, packing the right clothing is more a matter of comfort than safety.  Check the weather forecasts and dress accordingly to ensure your trip to Kamikochiis a rewarding and unforgettable experience.

 

If you have any comments or questions, be sure to visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/kamikochi

 

Sources of Information:

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

Shirakaba-so Website: http://shirakabaso.com