Nature / Scenery

  • Participants with their umbrellas out, enjoying the reddening tree foliage

    Why were people at Kinsenkyo Gorge using umbrellas on such a refreshingly clear autumn day? Autumn has arrived at Kinsenkyo Gorge in the town of Takinoue, located in Eastern Hokkaido's Okhotsk regi...

  • On October 7 in Hokkaido, sky-level cold air inflow led to the coldest temperatures yet for this season across a wide range of locations. As part of this chill, the summit area of the Tokachidake Mountain Range was crowned with snow. Gazing downwards at the summit from an aerial vantage point, the snow-covered Tokachidake Mountain Range ridge shone pure white.

  • In the Southern Hokkaido town of Esashi, a movement has begun by an Esashi volunteer group to elevate a local tree into a town symbol. The tree is a giant Japanese beech situated within national forestland in the town. The giant tree has two major branches pointing upward on the left and right, resembling a yokozuna (highest ranking sumo wrestler) performing the dohyo-iri (sumo ring-entering ceremony). The volunteer group wants to talk with the relevant governmental organizations and make this tree into a new popular spot for the town.

  • Mystical scenery – including sunsets that make the lake surface look like its burning – are enthralling locals and tourists alike as autumn arrives in earnest at Lake Shikotsu (Chitose, central Hokkaido). At just after 5 p.m. on September 30, with Mt. Eniwa (1,320 m) hidden amid the clouds, the blue lake surface was illuminated by the setting sun, turning it vivid shades of orange and red. As the sun gradually set, the light disappeared after approximately 40 minutes.

  • An event to view sunflowers grown for use as green fertilizer was held for the first time in two years, between October 2 and 10, at Kuroda Farm in the town of Otofuke in the Tokachi region of eastern Hokkaido. “I hope it gives people a chance to get out for the first time in a while, and refresh themselves,” said the farm’s owner, Kuroda Hiromitsu.

  • Autumn foliage at ‘Shiretoko Goko’ (five lakes), a popular tourist spot in the Shiretoko World Natural Heritage site in the town of Shari in eastern Hokkaido, reached its peak on October 1. Leaves on the Manchurian ash and mizunara (Mongolian oak) trees in the vicinity of the lakes have turned various shades of red, yellow and orange. Many visitors could be seen taking photographs with Smartphones and cameras on an elevated boardwalk that commands panoramic views directly in front of the Shiretoko Mountain Range and one of the lakes. According to the Shiretoko Goko Field House, the colors of the leaves began to turn in late September, one week earlier than usual.

  • On October 3, a light covering of snow formed on the summit of Hokkaido’s highest peak – Mt. Asahidake in the Taisetsu Mountain Range in the Kamikawa region of central Hokkaido – creating a landscape that signals the arrival of winter. However, it was not officially recorded as the first snowfall of the season, as the snow could not be confirmed visually from the Asahikawa Local Meteorological Office in the city of Asahikawa.

  • The Cape Kiritappu (Cape Tofutsu) in the town of Hamanaka in Eastern Hokkaido's Kushiro region is gradually becoming a breeding area for the sea otter, which is an endangered species. And on September 14, the eighth newborn sea otter cub was confirmed to have been born on the coast of the Cape. At the time of discovery, the newborn cub was assumed to be several days old, and it was covered with soft brown fur. It sat atop its mother's stomach, squealing and suckling. Currently, two female sea otters are raising cubs at the Cape. They can be observed, but the mothers are extremely alert, so observers must take care to not make noise and hide in the grass.

  • The autumn foliage has reached its peak around Taisetsu Kogen Onsen in Sounkyo in the town of Kamikawa in northern Hokkaido. The red rowan and yellow butterfly maple (acer tschonoskii) leaves created beautiful patterns amid the sunlight during the fine weather on September 25.

  • Volcanic smoke rises vigorously from Atosanupuri (Mt. Iou) in the town of Teshikaga in eastern Hokkaido. On September 16, with the help of a local guide, we climbed the mountain – the focal point of Akan-Mashu National Park and what is said to be the source of the Kawayu Onsen hot springs – to photograph the volcanic crater using a drone. The beautiful lemon-yellow fumarole was visible from the drone.