The earliest fascinating autumn colors in Japan! Hiking from Akadake and Ginsendai to Midoridake

The earliest fascinating autumn colors in Japan! Hiking from Akadake and Ginsendai to Midoridake
Rabbit
Rabbit
Updated

Japan’s largest Daisetsuzan National Park in central Hokkaido is the starting point of the autumn colors wave. Every year in mid-September people from all over the country gather to see the spectacular views. There are several places to enjoy in this national park for just about everyone - from those who do not like hiking so much to the professional climbers - but now I will introduce the trail from Akadake and Ginsendai to Midoridake which is famous for the autumn colors. Let’s go and see Japan’s earliest autumn colors in Hokkaido!

Hiking begins from Ginsendai with its picturesque landscape!

the earliest fascinating autumn colors in japan! hiking from akadake and ginsendai to midoridake | hiking begins from ginsendai with its picturesque landscape!

Ginsendai is the trailhead to one of Daisetsuzan National Park’s peaks, Mount Akadake. When the autumn begins here, the place becomes crowded with tourists who have come to see the first autumn colors in Japan. Every year in early September the leaves start to redden for the peak season later the same month. The conifers’ green contrasts delicately against the broadleaf trees’ red and yellow, turning the entire landscape into a postcard picture. If you go to Hokkaido in September, be sure to visit this fascinating place!

Those who are not used to hiking can only climb up for about an hour to enjoy the autumn colors and return afterwards. Make your decision based on how fit you are. Note: The hiking trail introduced here takes about 6-7 hours.

Climb up along the rope to Akadake’s summit and enjoy the view!

the earliest fascinating autumn colors in japan! hiking from akadake and ginsendai to midoridake | climb up along the rope to akadake’s summit and enjoy the view!

There is a rope to guide you along the trail to Mount Akadake’s summit, so you do not need to worry about getting lost. Some of the slopes are a bit harder to climb, therefore make sure you take a rest from time to time and continue up slowly. Also, there are big crowds of climbers during the high season! Do not go in a hurry and take your time. The flower slopes and distant autumn color hills along the way are the best spots!

The amazing panorama from Akadake’s summit!

the earliest fascinating autumn colors in japan! hiking from akadake and ginsendai to midoridake | the amazing panorama from akadake’s summit!

About 2-3 hours after you’ve departed from Ginsendai you pass along some large rocks which obstruct the hike and reach Mount Akadake’s summit while enjoying the panorama that spreads in front of you. The view of the autumn colors from the top is impossible to describe! Those who climbed all the way up are rewarded with views of the vast northern lands, the range of mountains, and of course, the autumn colors. The amazing scenery fills your heart with joy.

Walking from Akadake to Midoridake on the top of the mountain

the earliest fascinating autumn colors in japan! hiking from akadake and ginsendai to midoridake | walking from akadake to midoridake on the top of the mountain

After taking a break at Mount Akadake’s summit, you pass along Koizumidake (there are easy to spot signs along the trail) and head towards Midoridake. Watch out for the signs at crossroads and do not diverge! The trail is easy to walk. Moreover, the views here make you forget that you are in Japan. Enjoy the scenery while hiking from one peak to the other!

Note: Daisetsuzan is a mountain range and there are different hiking trails. If you lose your way it might be really dangerous, therefore it is recommended to use the services of professional guides when you hike for the first time.

Along Midoridake’s trail you can hear the whistling of the rock rabbit

along midoridake’s trail you can hear the whistling of the rock rabbit

There are several big rocks and cliffs near Mount Midoridake’s summit. From here on we will descend, so be very careful when you go down the trail. See the yellow arrow on the photo. It shows where the hiking trail is. Be sure to check the way carefully because there are a few places where you might diverge by mistake! Hokkaido’s Ezo rock rabbit lives here. During the autumn it is most active as it collects food for the winter. Maybe if you are lucky you can even spot it. But even if you don’t, you will have plenty of chances to hear its whistling. Simply listen carefully near the rocks. There are flower slopes too along Midoridake’s hiking trail. The scenery is totally different from Akadake and that adds to the enjoyment!

Traffic restriction during the autumn

In the autumn the road to Ginsendai is closed to regular traffic and instead shuttle buses operate from Daisetsu Lakesite. It takes about 40 minutes one way and the buses run every 30 minutes. Daisetsu Lakesite is located along National Route 273, about 10 km from Sounkyo Onsen in the direction of Obihiro. So how did you like the hike from Daisetsuzan’s Akadake and Midoridake? Akadake and Ginsendai are said to have the most splendid autumn colours in Japan. Excitement awaits here! Will you go to Hokkaido to see the beginning of the autumn colors?

Note: In 2014 the traffic restriction if between September 9 and September 23. Shuttle buses depart from Daisetsu Lakesite from 6am to 13pm every 30 minutes. One the way back they run from 9am to 16:30pm every 30 minutes.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore sounkyo
Good things are meant to be shared!