The Four Seasons of Mt. Gozaisho: Fall

Fall colors on Mt. Gozaisho begin at the summit in mid-October, and travel down the mountain sides to Yunoyama Onsen Hot Springs at the base over a period of one month.
Fall leaves decorated by the blended combination of the red of the heath family, the yellow of the laurel family and the green of coniferous trees progress little by little from the summit to the base of the mountain.

What to See in Fall
Fall colors on Mt. Gozaisho

The leaves covering the mountain change color gradually over time.
As the timing of fall colors on the mountain varies widely depending on elevation, they appear in stages first at the summit, then on the mid-mountain and finally at the hot springs area at the base.
As the peak fall colors move down the mountain from the mid-mountain to the hot springs area, they gradually begin to fade from the summit downward.
Fall colors arrive on Mt. Gozaisho in the following three areas at different times.

  • Summit area

  • Mid-mountain area

  • Hot springs area
Peak colors Timing Information on Fall Leaves
Information on Fall Leaves Mid-Oct. toLate Oct. The summit area is at its peak, but colors have not appeared on the mid-mountain or at the base!
Mid-mountain area Late Oct. toMid-Nov. While the mid-mountain area is at its peak, leaves have fallen to the ground at the summit, and colors have not yet appeared at the base!
Hot springs area Mid-Nov. toLate Nov. Peak colors are reaching their final destinations!
The leaves are all gone at the summit and on the mid-mountain, where winter has already arrived! Timings listed are estimates based on prior years’ results.

How does fall colors happen?

During fall, deciduous trees develop a corky layer of cells called the abscission layer, which seals the leaves off from the stem. Fall leaf coloring is a phenomenon where the leaves change color because the corky layer blocks the transport of sugars produced during photosynthesis.

What makes the difference in color?

When chlorophyll disappears and a chemical substance called anthocyanins increases, green leaves turn red, while an increase in carotenoid turns them yellow.
A large difference of temperature and abundance of bright sunlight gives the leaves their brilliant colors. These colored leaves will fall before long, so fall colors also represent the aging process of tree leaves. Local people often say, “In the year when it gets cold early, leaves change color more beautifully”, which means there is a large temperature difference between day and night.

Conditions for fall colors

  • Peak colors progress towards the base of the mountain at 50m (164ft.) per day.
  • Fall colors begin when the lowest temperature at dawn becomes lower than 8 to 9°C (46.4-48.2°F).
  • Leaves begin to change color when the average temperature becomes 15°C (59°F) and peak colors occur at 10 to 12°C (50-53.6°F).

Conditions for fall colors

  • Large temperature difference between day and night
  • Exposure to abundant ultraviolet rays
  • Moderate moisture preventing leaves from drying

Information for Visitors to Gozaisho

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As of Friday, October 19 at 17:00

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