Japan/Hokkaido: Hiking in Daisetsuzan NP

Mount Asahidake is part of a series of volcanic peaks grouped around a large volcanic caldera and all being part of the Daisetsuzan National Park right in the center of Hokkaido. These are the highest mountains on the island. Hiking at the top, you walk around treeless landscape of berry bushes all turned scarlet red with the first cold days of the fall. Several scenic small alpine lakes are scattered all around. The volcanic nature of the mountain is evident with several large fumaroles puffing smoke and steam into the air (this is Japan – so you have to observe at safe distance). The mountain is almost perpetually clogged in fog and clouds so the visibility is dismal and you never know if you are in the clouds or the volcanic steam. Occasionally, the clouds break and you get rays of setting sun striking through as if by the hand of god (god probably saying in Japanese – “thank you for visiting the National Park, please come again”).