By Karyn Lo
I won’t deny it; autumn is my favourite season. If you’re fond of colours such as red, orange, yellow, purple, and blue…Then this is the season for you! It even rhymes! The Hakkoda mountains are stunning in any season of the year. Now that autumn has arrived in Aomori, it’s the perfect time for some autumn foliage viewing. Though up here in northern Japan, autumn is pretty short…
Hakkoda mountains (you can’t miss them, I am pretty sure they take up a good area of Aomori Prefecture) are actually 16 mountains, with Mt Odake as the main peak. It’s perfect for a drive when going from one side of the prefecture to another, and there are fabulous onsen you can stop by. Who doesn’t love onsen?
Now, for all those non-hikers out there, there is an easier way up to the top of the mountains. There’s a ropeway that goes to the peak of Mt Tamoyachi, which takes about 10mins and treats viewers to the glorious Aomori prefecture at its finest. Though try not to go on a foggy day, or all you’ll see is this:
Moving away from autumn… for all the snowboarders and skiers, during winter the mountain tops are a perfect place to start riding the powder down down down…! The view is also pretty amazing, you can go snow trekking, and maybe you can attempt to hug one of these snow monsters.
Just a warning though. Make sure you go on a good day, or they’ll close the ropeway.
Hakkoda Ropeway – March 1st ~ Beginning of November 9:00~16:20
Mid-November ~ February 28th 9:00~15:40.
Runs every 20 minutes.
One Way – ¥1,180. Round Trip – ¥1,850
Address: 1-12, Kansuizawa, Arakawa, Aomori-shi, Aomori-ken, Japan 030-0188
JR bus from Aomori Station to the Hakkoda Ropeway (bound for Lake Towada/Sukayu Onsen).
If driving through the mountains, the Jogakura Ohashi Bridge is worth a stop. Suiren Numa Pond and the Tsuta Numa Lake is also impressive during the autumn season!
Fancy a dip in an onsen? The Sukayu Onsen is at the base of Mt Hakkoda and it’s well worth the visit!
It gets pretty cold and windy up the top of the ropeway, so dress warm!
Also, the mountain path usually closes end of November til February, so don’t get caught out.