Autumn in Eastern Hokkaido
Soak in soothing hot springs and take in the brilliant colors of autumn.
Autumn is the season of vibrant colors. The long, slender islands of Japan stretch from north to south, and fall comes earliest to Asahidake, the highest peak of the Daisetsuzan Mountain Range, Hokkaido. The summit begins to turn red and gold in early September, and by mid-season, the entire mountain is ablaze in crimson color. If you take the ropeway up Asahidake or Kurodake, you can see the spectacular autumn foliage below. Sounkyo and Tenninkyo, located at the foot of the mountain range, are also well-known viewing spots for Hokkaido's vivid autumn colors. From fall foliage around Lake Mashu, Lake Akan, and the Shiretoko Mountain Range, to Lake Notoro (Abashiri), which turns bright red with glasswort, Eastern Hokkaido is rich with gorgeous fall scenery.
The radiant autumn colors can really enhance the hot spring experience. While soaking in an outdoor tub of hot spring water, you can feel the essence of fall through its magical and special scenery. The great landscape of Eastern Hokkaido, shaped by volcanic activity, is home to numerous hot springs. Some of the more well-known hot springs include Sounkyo, Lake Akan, Kawayu, Tokachigawa Moor, Lake Saroma, and Lake Shikaribetsu Hot Springs. One of the most unique is perhaps the sand bath on the shore of Lake Kussharo. Here, you can dig anywhere in the sand and hot spring water flows up, allowing you to soak your feet in your very own foot bath. Many hidden hot springs can be found within the Shiretoko Peninsula. Perhaps the most interesting is Seseki Hot Springs which, facing the ocean, is submerged under water when the tide comes in. For the more adventurous type, there is Iwaobetsu Hot Springs at the entrance to Mt. Rausu. The virgin forest surrounding this hot spring creates the perfect backdrop for those seeking to relax in nature.