An unexpected layer of white was added to the autumn foliage colours this year.

Hokkaido’s capital of Sapporo received 23 centimetres (9 inches) of snow on 6 November, surprising residents of the city who hadn’t seen snowfall exceed 20 centimetres (8 inches) in early November for 21 years. While the unusual event saw sweeper vehicles and snow removal equipment make an early appearance on the streets, nature lovers were quick to spot another rare sight, as the pristine white colours of the snow’s frozen crystals intermingled with the bright red, orange and yellow autumn foliage, creating beautiful images that were captured by a number of photographers on film.

This Twitter user shared an image of fallen leaves on snow that looked like “Japanese confectionery”.

The resemblance between snowy leaves and sweets is a lot clearer if we take out the bright blues, greens and purples from the mix of traditional Japanese konpeito hard sugar candy seen below.

1280px-kompeito_konpeito

The delicate leaves scattered on fallen snow made for beautiful scenes in the aftenoon sunlight.

It was so early in the autumn foliage season that these ginkgo leaves were yet to turn yellow, leaving a vibrant sprinkling of green on the fresh snow.

In Japan, autumn is often considered to be one of the best seasons for dining, so the Twitter user above also had another image of food come to mind when sharing their image. This scene was likened to aonori green laver usually reserved for sprinkling on the top of okonomiyaki savoury pancakes.

modern_yaki_rice_and_tsukemono_by_hirotomo_in_osaka

One of the most dramatic images captured in the city was this one, which looks like it was taken in the depths of mid-winter, only with the vibrant red leaves of a tree in autumn.

Odori Park, well-known as the site of the annual Sapporo Snow Festival, is no stranger to unusual snowscapes and towering ice structures in winter, but the beautiful scenes of snowy foliage were a rare sight to see in autumn.

The unexpected beauty of the early snow cover is another reminder of changing weather patterns recently seen around the country. With Japan being charmed by unusual snow-covered cherry blossoms last year and in April of 2013, people attending hanami sakura viewing parties and hunting for momiji maple leaves might need to start adding some warmer jackets to their sightseeing outfits each season.

Source: Hamusoku
Featured image: Twitter/@VickeBlanka
Insert images: Wikimedia Commons/Midori, Wikimedia Commons/hirotomo from Osaka