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Written by: William Habington
Date: 2012/11/02

 


 

Last week, we saw clear signs of the approaching winter season as the mountain tops around Kamikochi went chalk white after the first significant snowfall.  But even with the autumn season winding down, there is still plenty to enjoy in the park.  These days, eveywhere you look, fallen leaves have covered the grounds with a carpet of leaves--a final flourish of autumn ambience during the precious final weeks of the 2012 season.

 

カエデの落ち葉

The distinctive red and yellow leaves you see amid the pile in the photo above are Japanese maple, or "kaede," and have a shape quite different from the maple leave I'm used to seeing in my native Canada.  Even the river beds are blanketed in fallen leaves, as seen here:

 

川の落ち葉

 

Of course, one of Kamikochi's most distinctive sights at this time of year is rows of Japanese larch ("karamatsu"), whose needle-like foliage turns a vivd yellow...

 

1-IMG_3949_1_1.jpg

 

...and then decorates the paths around the park with seasonal cheer:

 

1-IMG_3957_2_1.jpg  1-IMG_3956_3_1.jpg

The pictures from the Shirakaba-so blog give a good impression of the sights greeting visitors at Kamikochi these days as well as the kind of clothing you'll want to pack.  It's starting to get chilly even at lowere altitudes, so be sure to dress warmly.

 

1-IMG_3972_4_1.jpg  11-IMG_3969_2_1.jpg

 

As you can see, there's a nice mix of autumn color and early snow on the mountain tops.  Now's your chance to see the rich pageant of the changing seasons up close.  The air is as crisp and clean as ever and the sights are simply breathtaking.

 

1-IMG_3975_1_1.jpg

 

As reported on our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/kamikochi) earlier this week, Kamikochi's closing ceremony will be held on November 15th.  That leaves us just under two weeks to enjoy some of the best scenery the 2012 season has to offer.  What we're seeing now is nature's artistry at its finest.  Huge, colorful oil paintings come to life with an ambience that is almost overwhelming.  Autumn can be a melancholy time, as the warmth disappears and the period of regular business in the park draws to a close.  But we still have time to take in our fill of some of the prettiest scenery and inspiring atmosphere of the year.

 

Sources of information:

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

Shirakabaso Website: http://shirakabaso.com/