We usually avoid the hills around town during midsummer as they are covered in forest, which limits the views, is home to mosquitoes and can get hot and sticky. It’s the season for the high mountains of central Hokkaido instead. In autumn, though, they come into their own as the crisp mornings, vivid colours and clear skies are simply stunning.
On our last visit the hill was ablaze with colour as we climbed up from the forest road and up to the viewpoint, then hauled ourselves up the rope to the main ridge and trail junction. We took the trail to Eboshi-dake first, dropping down into the col and then up the other side on the rough and rocky path. Near the top we waded through overhead thickets of sasa dwarf bamboo up to the open rocky shoulder. Once on the flat ridge that forms the summit we had occasional trouble following the trail through the thick undergrowth, but eventually located the small summit signboard.
The view back to the stubby top of Kamui-dake jutting out of the golden forest made the effort all worthwhile, so after a break and a bite to eat we retraced our steps back to the junction and on up to its small summit. Here the view extended all the way over the city and we passed the time trying to identify our respective apartments in the distance, without much luck. All that remained then was to drop back down the main trail to the car for the five-minute drive to Matsu no Yu, where we relaxed in the outside bath facing the cliffs across the river splashed with yellow and gold. By now our appetite was sharpened for the next item on the agenda, a tasty bowl of miso ramen at Shirakaba Sanso on the outskirts of town. On days like this, it’s no exaggeration to say we feel blessed to live in Sapporo.