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Autumn colors in Norikura

Paris, France
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Autumn colors in Norikura

Hi Shot!

I am going to Takayama and thought about doing one or 2 days hikes. Following recommendations I saw here, I thought about doing 1 day hike in Kamikochi and 1 in shin hotaka and doppyo peak.

Today when I was looking to see if autumn colors reached kamikochi already, I ran into a site that saya that there is a very nice foliage in Norikura now. I looked and saw it is reachable from Takayama, and when I looked what in Norikura I saw that there is a nice hike to Kengamine peak with great views. However the site was in Japanese and I used google translate so I am not sure if the foliage is near the bus station and Kengamine peak or somewhere else. Also, I am not sure if the views there are good or not (compared to doppyo peak which I saw you highly reccomended to some people).

So my questions are:

-Is there really nice foliage there?

-Are the views good? or is it better to stick to the original shin hotaka plan?

Thank you

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Takayama
Takayama
Gifu Prefecture, Japan
Kamikochi
Kamikochi
Matsumoto, Japan
Nara, Japan
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1. Re: Autumn colors in Norikura

Kamikochi is now going to be great; maybe the peak will be from around next weekend to the one after; Karasawa is already exceptionally gorgeous this year, it seems. Even if you don't go that far, reaching Tokusawa and then Yokoo will suffice if your main concern is the colors. Yes, catching the great views, soaking in the alpine feel, with a golden belt of birches lined along the river, red and vemillion maples dotted around there all seen at Kappa Bridge and then at Myojin Pond, which is 1hr away, will be enough for ordinary tourists. If you hike hunting for more amazing colors, though, then I must suggest yo go beyond Myojin.

Doing Doppyo Peak (to be hiked from Shin Hotaka) at this time of year will mean you need proper attire including crampons. See pics in here:

…sakura.ne.jp/sakura/…nisihodaka.html

The hikers are more intent on climbing a peak to Mt West Hotaka than enjoying autumn foliage. Yes, you can witness awesome colors waiting for you below your eyes. So like the woman hiker in the pic above, you might be better off going from the mountain hut to a hill called Maruyama, which commands a great view nonetheless, not trying to climb all the way up from there to Doppyo.

I really would've liked to answer your question on Norikura, but I've never been there..., still been my bucket list. Yet my google-search tells me this weekend will most probably be the peak period this year for autumn colors in there. One thing to know is, the peaks of Mt Norikuras (over 3000meters above sea level) can be reached fairly safely, it is said, and that without making a (tremendous) effort involved in climbing the Hotakas from Kamikochi. Yes, you'd need proper attire in doing so. But anyway I think you'll have a grea time to hunt for the colors just as well when you stay in the 1600-2000 above sea level places doing your hike.

So all in all, it'll be a toss-up whether you should make it to Norikura, or Kamikochi and/or Doppyo Peak.

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Kamikochi
Kamikochi
Matsumoto, Japan
Myojin Pond
Myojin Pond
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Matsumoto, Japan
Paris, France
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2. Re: Autumn colors in Norikura

Wow! Thanks a lot for the answer

As I don't have serious hiking equipment, I think the best is to stick to Kamikochi and Norikura.

You helped me a lot!

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Kamikochi
Kamikochi
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Paris, France
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3. Re: Autumn colors in Norikura

Regarding my question about autumn colors in kamikochi: I forgot to mention that the best for me is to come there in few days (wednesday). Will it be too early to see it? Or even before the peak season it will be seen?

Paris, France
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4. Re: Autumn colors in Norikura

Regarding my question about autumn colors in kamikochi: I forgot to mention that the best for me is to come there in few days (wednesday). Will it be too early to see it? Or even before the peak season it will be seen?

Nara, Japan
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5. Re: Autumn colors in Norikura

I still haven't been really able to vouch for this, but from what I gathered from the official web site to Kamikochi, the koyo season for hikers and tourists has already set in. Yet I may be a bit off the mark if I reiterate here yet another again: "a golden belt of birches lined along the river" and "red and vemillion maples dotted around" are there. But given that Karasawa has already seen, or possibly will have seen, its peak this week, Kamikochi's will be just a week and a half or two away. Umm, my gut feeling tells me you'll be able to see nice foliage. But in case you can't quite catch what you want to when you're around Kappa Bridge or Myojin, you should extend your hike to Tokusawa and even farther to Yokoo. Then you sure can hunt for the colors.

A word of caution here:

Temps fluctuate more than you'd want: (0C to) 5C to 15C during the daylight hours. So you may like to bring a parka or something if you come early in the morning. As for your footgear, trekking shoes are definitely better, but it's possible to trail on the paths in jogging/tennis shoes, unless you go beyond Yokoo to hit either Karasawa or Yarisawa.

Hope you'll have a blast!

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Kamikochi
Kamikochi
Matsumoto, Japan
Paris, France
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6. Re: Autumn colors in Norikura

Thanks!

I tried to find information about Maruyama peak but couldn't.

Is it complicated to get there from the hut?

Thanks!

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7. Re: Autumn colors in Norikura

No, not at all. From the mountain hut to the lowest elevation of Maruyama is about a 10min walk. You’ll soon see the trail to Maruyama once you go past the hut, the one you find on your left-hand side. A good deal of large rocks are embedded on that trail along the slope, so you can’t miss it. There’s a few cairns along the rocky trail going up, the last one located at the end of the trail you have walked though, where you’ll find a tall wooden signpost at the trailside that says, ‘丸山, or Maruyama,’ which is 2452meters above sea level. BTW, technically Maruyama is not a peak but just a low shoulder stretching its ridge to Doppyo Peak. See how it looks:

www.tabinet-jp.com/cgi/bigview.cgi…

The peak in the upper-center, which looks the tallest in the photo but actually is not, is Pyramid Peak. See there’s another towering behind it on the left-hand side? Yes, that’s Mt West Hotaka/Nishiho. Standing abreast on the left is Mt Ainodake, which has perhaps engulfed the most human lives around here.

For Maruyama, see the rocky (though looks sandy) trail that goes up. That’s what we call Maruyama. So the top of it you may call ‘Maruyama Peak’ if you like. There’s a couple of trapezoid-shaped peaks on its left; the right one, which is larger than the left, is Doppyo Peak; the left one nameless, so just another peak.

From ‘Maruyama Peak,’ nice views get unfolded. See:

tabinet-jp.com/erea/panorama/nisiho/main.htm

Not as panoramic as what you’d get from Doppyo Peak, but they are amazing. I know a picture says more than a thousand words, yet the above doesn’t…. So hope you don’t mind me guiding you around here:

If you look back from here toward the hut then you’ll see Mt Yake, an active volcano; looming ahead on the left-hand side of it are gorgeous Norikuras; way down below in that direction lies Kamikochi; across from Kamikochi are Mt Kasumizawa and Mt 600, and on farther left are Mt Myojin and Mt Maeho; it’s a shame you don’t see Mt Okuho from here; if you pan the camera from the hut toward right, then you’ll see Mt Shakujo and beautiful Mt Kasa and her brother Mt Nukedo; if you come to Shin Hotaka during the springtime then you’ll know the snow-blanketed ridges from Mt Kasa to Nukedo are just as awesome as those of the West Hoakas.

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Kamikochi
Kamikochi
Matsumoto, Japan
Paris, France
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8. Re: Autumn colors in Norikura

I can't seem to be avle to open the photo so I will have to just see for myself! I am going there today, so just to make sure: I heard that from the hut there are 2 trails - to Kamikochi and to Doppyo peak. Mayurama is on the way to Doppyo peak if I understand correctly? Also, how much time is it supposed to be from the hut?

Yhanks again!

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Kamikochi
Kamikochi
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Paris, France
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9. Re: Autumn colors in Norikura

Ohh, now I realize that you said that there is a sign to Mayurama, which will be if I choose the left hand side trail in the hut...

So I am just left with my question on the time that takes to get there (and the technical difficulty...)

Thanks again for you quick detailed replies!

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10. Re: Autumn colors in Norikura

Seems I'm too late saying this. By now maybe you're back on the ropeway or on the bus backtracking your way to Takayama... I guess fall colors are gorgeous around the top ropeway station. I think I should've said something about, or put some emphasis on, the trail running from that station to the mountain hut, which I did in another thread: an approximately 60min-long rather tedious uphill walk...

Anyway I passionately hope that you've managed it well and enjoyed thoroughly the northern alps views and the red leaves as well.

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Takayama
Takayama
Gifu Prefecture, Japan