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Hills Painted by Autumn Colours

Creative colours woven by Mother Nature

1Three seasons in one?! Biei's Autumn Foliage

When you think of scenery that exemplifies autumn in Japan, you may think of autumn leaves. However, Biei's autumn foliage is distinctively different.

First, from late September through to October, autumn leaves that could be considered the "standard issue" autumn leaves spread over Biei's hills.

The red and yellow leaves of broadleaf trees, such as maple, mountain grape, mountain ash, Mongolian oak, and birch mix in with the green of evergreen trees.
It all starts off at high altitudes and gradually descends to the foothills.

But not to be missed is the autumn coloration of the larch tree.

The larch tree's autumn foliage is a rare thing, visible only for a very short time after every last broadleaf tree's leaves have fallen.

In Japanese, the larch is known as the "karamatsu" and its name written in traditional Chinese characters spells out "pine that drops its needles". As its name would suggest, it is a rare type of pine that loses its leaves.
Among Japanese conifers, the larch appears to be the only one that drops its needles.

During a short period lasting a week to ten days from late October through to the start of November, the leaves on the larch trees all change to yellow at the same time before shedding their needles.
Among Biei's hills, they play the part of windbreakers, often standing in a straight line along the highest ridge of a hill.
When they all change colour at the same time, a golden orange haze spreads out over the horizon as far as the eye can see.

At their feet is a carpet of fresh green autumn-sown wheat shoots.
In the distance, the Tokachi Mountain Range, capped with the first pure white snows, towers over the spectacle.

The contrast of three colours-- the green of new shoots, the gold of autumn leaves and the white of the snow-- is spectacular, marrying three seasonal colours that would not normally be witnessed together at the same time.

We recommend that you sear the memory of this one-time miracle into your heart.

2Where to See Biei's Autumn Colours

●Shirogane Blue Pond

Shirogane Blue Pond, where visitors gather by the hundreds in summer.
However, a little-known fact is that the Blue Pond is also a fine spot for autumn leaves.
When the colour of the leaves are coupled with the calming blue of the water's surface, it creates a unique palette of colours that cannot be seen in summer.
Early October is a great time to see autumn leaves here at the Blue Pond, when the broadleaf trees that surround it change colour.

○Shirahige Waterfall

Shirahige Waterfall is located just a 5 minute drive away from Shirogane Blue Pond.
Considered one of Biei Shirogane Onsen's tourism spots, from the bridge spanning the gorge you can also see the "Blue River", the source of the Blue Pond.
This is a truly luxurious autumn leaf-viewing spot where you can see both a waterfall and autumn colours at the same time!
It's marvellous to look down at autumn colours from an elevation of around 500m~600m above sea level.

●Mt. Tokachi Observation Platform

Mt. Tokachi Observation Platform is located at around 950m above sea level, roughly halfway up the 2077m tall Mt. Tokachi. That's 700m higher than Biei Station, which is at 250m above sea level.
The charm of this spot is the fact that you can take in a panorama of the autumn colours of the Daisetsuzan Mountains, said to be the earliest autumn colours in all Japan.
The footpath here is not paved and the rocks are uneven underfoot, so please be sure to wear sensible shoes for walking.

○Roadside Station Shirogane Birke

Biei's second roadside station opened in 2018, "Shirogane Birke".
Along the direct road linking the roadside station and Shirogane Blue Pond, you can enjoy some beautiful autumn scenery.
At Biei Roadside Station Shirogane Birke, you can pick up rental bikes, so please feel the pleasant breeze and enjoy the autumn scenery to your heart's content!

 

3Experience Programs for Enjoying Autumn Leaves

Mt. Tokachi Mini Trekking

Hill Town Biei DMO are pleased to offer a program where you can enjoy a panorama of autumn colours.
Set off from the observation platform halfway up Mt. Tokachi and enjoy an hour of mini trekking in Daisetsuzan National Park.
We highly recommend this experience for those who want to feel the thrill of trekking on Mt. Tokachi, a live volcano!
The goal of this trekking is not the mountain's summit, but more to enjoy the walking routes midway up the mountain so even if it is your first time trekking, you'll be able to take part with peace of mind.

◆Click here for more info! →Mt. Tokachi Mini Trekking

Patchwork Hills Walking Tour

Enjoy a walk while taking in Biei's patchwork hills.
You can enjoy the colourful hill scenery to your heart's content! Won't you come for a wander with us to refresh your heart and your body?
From late October to early November, you can see larch autumn foliage.

◆Click here for more info! ↓
Patchwork Hills Walking Tour (Takushinkan Course)
Patchwork Hills Walking Tour (San-ai-no-Oka Course)

Please come and see Biei's autumn colours, brightening our town before we are plunged into a long winter of pure white.