Kamikochi Season and Events
Kamikochi Visitors Center
Hiking Guide
Access routes to Kamikochi
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Kamikochi in the Chubusangaku National Park is a typical Japanese mountainous park, which includes the whole part of the North Japanese Alps. Kamikochi, whose elevation is 1500 meters above sea level,is a small and slender basin surrounded by high mountains such as the Hodaka Mountains, Mr.Yakedake and Mt. Kasumizawa. This area is thought to have been a sea bed about 300 million years ago.Then intense mountain forming movements and river erosion have formed today's Kamikochi. You can see many species of animals and plants in Kamikochi and these animals and plants have adapted themselves to the climate and geology of Kamikochi over a long time. There is a complicated interaction between them and they live in harmony with each other. From large mammals to soil bacteria, all of them are connected to each other through food and the air. Since old days it has been well known as a base of the North Alps. The view from the Hodaka Mountains and Azusa River is one of the most beautiful mountain scenes in Japan. Rev.Walter Weston who was born in 1861 in Derby, England and he was graduated at the Cambridge University and after that he became a Priest. 1888 he came to Japan and started to explore the Japanese Alps in the Chubusangoku area including Mt.Yaridatake and Mt.Hodaka. He was very fond of the beauty of the Japanese mountains and loved them very much and was sad when he heard that the Kamikochi area is going be a tourist area. When the Kamikochi area was opened to the public, the Japanese Alpine Club built a Relief of Rev. Walter Weston and the environment is strictly protected by special protection area laws in the national park.Although the nature in Kamokochi is severely protected, human activities have had an impact on it. You can see man-made or man-changed "nature" such as the water pollution of the Azusa River, breeding water rats and a decrease in the number of the common char.


Taisho Pond
This pond was made by the natural damming up of the Azusa River due to the eruption of Mt.Yakedake in 1915. On the way of being buried by sand and rocks from Mt.Yakedake and the flow of sand and rocks down the Azusa River.


Tashiro Pond
A small pond surrounded by marsh. On the way of being buried by the flow of sand and rocks down the Azusa River.

Walter Weston

Weston Relief
In memory of Walter Weston who introduced the Japan Alps(North Alps) to the world.There is an open ground Picnic area next to it and from there you can see the splendid view of Mt.Kasumizawa over the Azusa River.
Kappa Bridge
A suspension Bridge which is a symbol of Kamikochi. Very splendid view of Mt.Yakedake and Hodaka mountains.One of the most popular places in Kamikochi.


Kamikochi Visitor Center
Explains geological history,geology, plants,animals, and climate. Exhibits folk crafts and materials. Visitor activities such as guided walks and film shows take place in Summer and it is situated about 150m from the Kappa Bridge. During the Kamikochi season the Center is open daily from 8am to 5pm and during the Summer time (July 20th to August 20th) it is open from 7am to 6pm. Telephone/Fax:0263-95-2606

Visitor Center

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Konashidaira Camp site
Next to the Visitor center is the camp site and known for it's apple blossom (Malus sieboldii) The Larch forest is also beautiful and the Camp ground is crowded in Summer. There are many small huts for rent and a Tent area where you can bring your own tent or you can rent a Tent which are already in ready to use.There is a small shop to buy food items and at the camp site office you can rent all the utensils for cooking. The Huts are equipped with a small gas cooker and a room light. The common toilets are clean and if you want to take a hot bath in the evening after hiking, you can buy a ticket for the public bath which is cleaned and warmed everyday.If you rent a Hut you can cook your own meals in front of the Hut and fire wood is available at the Camp site office. There are many kitchen sinks made for washing your utensils and food items before cooking and are fitted with many clean water taps.
Myojin Pond
A beautiful pond behind Kamikochi and the Mallard stays here over Summer. Hodaka Shrine is located by the pond and this area is very beautiful during Autumn.The river is very wide in this area and if you like you can take a rest near the river bank and I used to boil river water to make a cup of tea after a long hike.
This area was plastered in the middle of the Meiji era. The grass fields with a few elm trees shows a trace of the pasture.....Facing the east face of Mt.Maehodaka.Also there is a mountain Lodge and a Campground. If you travel the 4Km flat trail further from Tokusawa,the uphill trails will lead you to Mt.Yari and Hodaka Mountains.
Kamikochi Season and Events
Komikochi is open to visitors from April 27th to November 15th in every year and it is closed to visitors during the winter time and all the hotels,Mountain lodges and shops also close when the season is over. To top

    Events Throughout the Year
  • April 27 Kamikochi opening ceremony - Lodges open and bus service begins
  • The first Saturday and Sunday in June - Walter Weston festival
  • July 1st - Memorial service
  • July 21st to August 20th - Visitor service campaign (Daily visitor activities)
  • October 8 - Hodaka Shrine festival
  • Kamikochi is closed from November 3rd to April 26th



Hiking Guide

Taisho Pond to Tashiro Pond 20min / Tashiro Pond to Tashiro Bridge 20 min / Tashiro Bridge to Kappa Bridge 20min / Kappa Bridge to Myojin Pond 50min / Myojin Pond to Tokusawa 50min
1-hour course:Start from the Parking area-Kappa Bridge-Right bank of Azusa River-Weston Relief -Tashiro Bridge-Left bank of Azusa Riveer-Parking area
3-hour course:Parking area-Kappa Bridge-Left bank of Azusa River-Myojinn Pond-Right bank of Azusa River-Kappa Bridge-Parking area
4-hour course:Parking area-Kappa Bridge-Myojin Pond-Tokusawa- Shinmura Bridge-Forest road to the Right bank of Azusa River-Myojin Pond-Kappa Bridge
  • 6-hour courses:
  • Parking area-Kappa Bridge-Myojin Pond-Tokugo path (Round trip)
  • Parking area-Tashiro Bridge-Starting point of trail to Mt.Yakedake-Mt.Yakedake(round trip)
  • Parking area-Kappa Bridge-Starting point of trail to Mt.Dakesawa-Dakesawa Hutte(round trip)
1-Day course:Parking area-Tashiro Bridge-Starting point of trail to Mt.Nishihodaka-Doppyo peak of Mt.Nishihodaka (round trip)
If you prefer you can go on your own trips to 3-4 days even and there are many mountain huts where you can stay without any reservations in advance. Wear sturdy and comfortable shoes and the weather changes rapidly in mountain areas, so take rain gear even if the weather is clear when starting a hike. Remember you should have all the essential equipment and food, including a detailed map even if going on the mountains for a day trip.
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    Rules and Regulations
  • Stay on the marked trails
  • Keep quiet while walking
  • Do not make fires apart from in designated areas
  • Carry garbage home with you with your splendid memories
  • Leave Flowers,Trees and any kind of Animals or insects or Fishes an you find them. Do not carry back any Flora and Fauna with you.
  • All vehicles except buses and taxis are prohibited beyond Nakanoyu.
  • Motorists should park their vehicles at Sawando or Hirayu parking areas and must take a bus or a taxi to Kamikochi
  • The main gate at Nakanoyu is close to traffic from 6pm to 6am in the following morning and you cannot enter during this time period

    Access routes to Kamikochi
  • By Train: Take the JR Limited Express train from Shinjuku to Matsumoto and from there take the Matsumoto Train line to Shinshimajima. At Shinshimajima take the Bus going to Kamikochi and if your prefer you can get down at Taisho Pond and start your hiking towards Kamikochi. When you reach Kappa Bridge area and after that you can start your return journey from Kamikochi Bus terminal.
  • By Car/Motorcycle: You have to park your vehicle in Sawando or Hirayu parking area and then take a bus going to Kamikochi. The parking lots are very spacious and your can leave your car for many days and pay the parking charges when you take your car back home.
  • By Bus: Take the Highway Bus leaving in the night from Shinjuku and it arrives at Nakanoyu early morning and when the gate is open the bus continue the journey towards Kamikochi. If you go to Matsumoto by JR lines then you can take a bus to Kamikochi from there if you do not want to travel by Matsumoto train line to Shinshimajima.
  • By Bicycle: This is not recommended because the mountain road with large up and down hills and many narrow tunnels which are dangerous to cycle with other traffics
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    Where to Stay
  • Hotels: There are many Hotels in Kamikochi and some are with a Hot Spa where you can relax after a good hiking and they offer many food items which are special to the mountain areas. The best place is the Imperial Hotel if you can afford it
  • Hot Spas: There are many good Hot Spas before you enter Komikochi area and if you prefer you can stay over night and continue the journey to Kamikochi, next day early in the morning
  • Mountain Huts: Many mountain huts are in the peaks and few are on the ground level and sometimes you do not need any reservations. But it is a good idea to reserve a room in advance specially for those are in the ground level
  • Camping sites: There are many huts for rent in different sizes at Konashidaira camp site and some permanently erected Tents also available. You can bring your own tent and put up in the designated areas and there is a small fee for it

Many text material was taken from the Kamikochi Pocket Guide and some of the information are from my own experience as I used to travel there every year. This is one of the most beautiful mountain side in Japan and many people are visiting there every year and during the Summer time there are many school children going on camping trips. In May you can see the fresh and bright green leaves of the trees and the clean Blue water of the Azusa River. As there are very few people in this time Kamikochi is very quite and beautiful..................

If you need any further information please contact me by e-mail : [email protected] and I will try to help whenever possible

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