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Kagami Numa Wetland Marsh

Serenity halfway up Mount Annupuri

Kagami numa is a natural pond formed in the middle of a wetland marsh that juts out of the northeast face of Mount Annupuri in Niseko. The word kagami in Japanese means mirror and the very apt naming of this lake will become apparent shortly.

There are two trails that lead to the marsh, one that starts along route 58 that is not too convenient in that the trailhead is kind of in the middle of nowhere. I always take the trail that leads up from the Toyuu Golf course in Hanazono. After parking your car in the golf parking lot (I am not sure if this is frowned upon but I have never had a problem) walk back out of the main gate and head up the road about 30 metres. The trailhead is on the right and marked by a rickety looking log bridge. It should be quite easy to find the correct spot even if you miss the Japanese sign.

The hiking course takes about 45 minutes to climb the 570 metres to the marsh and its easy slope and well-maintained path; mean it is a hike that can be enjoyed by young and old of most levels of fitness. That said, the gradient increases sharply for the last 5 minutes of the climb, so if you are hiking with Granddad who wants to take his new hips for a test drive you may want to take it slow. The course goes through some very beautiful forest and crosses two gushing streams along the way. Amateur Botanists will probably take longer than the 45 minutes mentioned as every few dozen feet throws up a new species of Lily, Azalea or some other brightly coloured flower I wouldn't have a hope of naming. A word of caution needs to be noted in that I spotted large clumps of what looked suspiciously like the Japanese poison ivy (つた うるし) on some trees on the upper third of the trail.

The marsh itself appears very suddenly through the trees as the ground changes from muddy track to a squelchy and springy bed of sphagnum moss. The mountain provides a wonderful backdrop as you follow the boardwalk and the at times very noisy din of brilliant blue and red dragonflies to the pond itself. There are a number of benches around the pond for you to sit and eat that onigiri (riceball) you brought with you (there is nothing in the way of facilities at Kagami numa itself, so come prepared). The pond water is crystal clear and when you see how perfectly the Japanese maple trees, silver birches and Mount Annupuri itself are reflected on its surface it is very easy to see why the place got its name.

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