Kamikochi is considered to be the crown jewel of the Alps in northern Japan. This scenic, beautiful area of the country is a basin located at an elevation of 1,500 meters. The Northern Japan Alps rise another 1,500 meters from the basin of Kamikochi, creating a remarkable beautiful backdrop with the stunning aquamarine waters of the Azusa River in the forefront of the view.
The area of Kamikochi is quite a popular area for trekking in the mountains. The usual starting point for mountain treks is the symbolic bridge in Kamikochi, Kappa-bashi. Downriver from the bridge is Taisho Pond, where visitors can view a picture-perfect reflections of the Hotaka Range in the waters of the pond. Upriver from Kappa-bashi is the magical Myojin Pond.
While the majority of tourists come to Kamikochi for just the day, one of the best ways to experience the area is to stay overnight, offering the opportunity to take an early morning or uncrowded evening walk. A part of Japan’s Chubu Sangaku National Park, the valley of Kamikochi has only moderately been developed, including hiking trails, mountain huts, a handful of shops, and around half a dozen hotels. A short from the area’s bus terminal, located at the heart of Kamikochi is the Kappa Bridge. From the bridge, visitors can follow hiking trails down and up the valley, as well as trails towards the surrounding summits of the mountains.
One of the easiest ways to enjoy a visit to Kamikochi is a hike along the trails that follow along the Azusa River, starting at Taisho Pond up to Myojin Bridge. The area is largely flat terrain, allowing visitors of all levels of experience in hiking to enjoy the natural scenery, and only requiring a few hours to hike the trails. The hikes up to the peaks of the surround mountains, however, can be more challenging for hikers, and are only recommended for hikers to climb from the middle of June until the middle of September.
Kamikochi is especially beautiful during the fall foliage season, this time of the years typically hits its peak in the middle of October. Visitors can see a broad variety of alpine flora from the month of May up through the month of October. The best time to view the flora is the middle of May to July. Guests also have the chance to maybe spot monkeys during their visit, as well as different species of birds.
Chubu Sangaku National Park is situated in the heart of the Japan’s Hida Mountain Range, which is also known as the Northern Japan Alps. The Alps are the highest mountain range of the country, towering over the central part of the main island. The Hida Mountain Range acts as the background of the national park, stretching from north to the south. The mountain range consists of two rows of mountains in the northern part of the range, and three rows of mountains at the southern part. Chubu Sangaku National Park is full of “Special Natural Monuments.”