Leaves are changing color near the summit of Mount Kurodake and its animals seem to be gathering nature's riches while they can, heralding the arrival of autumn even as other parts of Japan continue to swelter in 30-plus degree heat.
Mount Kurodake is 1,984 meters high and lies in the Taisetsusan range in Hokkaido.
The "ezonakiusagi," a northern pika that lives on mountain slopes in Hokkaido, is busily preparing for winter. The animal is a tiny rabbit with mouse-like ears.
Its screeching cries ring out in rocky places where the creeping "urashima-tsutsuji" azalea has spread, bringing a crimson tint to the scene.
The ezonakiusagi are running around with grass and twigs between their teeth.
Autumn colors have arrived about a week later than usual because of the lingering heat.
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