Kamikochi Travel Guide

  • Sue & Jim on Kappa-bashi
    Sue & Jim on Kappa-bashi
    by toonsarah
  • Things to Do
    by toonsarah
  • Favorites
    by toonsarah

Kamikochi Things to Do

  • Walking in Kamikochi

    The only real activity in Kamikochi is walking and hiking, but fortunately there are paths to suit everyone, from an easy stroll by the river to a challenging hike up one of the mountains. We stuck to the riverside routes, as did even the best walkers in our group, because of the poor weather conditions (we were actually advised not to venture...

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  • Kappa-bashi Bridge

    Most visitors to Kamikochi, whether coming for the day or to stay a short while, will arrive by bus at the terminal near the Kappa-bashi bridge (“bashi” means bridge, but most English translations add the tautological bridge to the name). This wooden suspension bridge is 36.6 metres long and just over three metres wide. It is something of a symbol...

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  • Weston Relief

    This is the shorthand name given locally to the Reverend Weston Memorial Plaque, situated a short walk from Kappa-bashi. It commemorates the Reverend Walter Weston, an English clergyman and missionary of the Church of England during the late 19th / early 20th centuries. He first visited Japan at the age of 27 and was captivated by its mountain...

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  • Tashiro Bridge and surrounding area

    About a kilometre from Kappa-bashi the path, which at first follows the northern bank of the Azusa River, crosses it via the Tashiro Bridge. The river views on and near the bridge are great, and the water so clear as it runs over the pebbles, even on a wet day. On the far side of the bridge is a small shelter with some interesting information...

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  • Tashiro-Ike

    This was easily my favourite spot of those we visited in Kamikochi. We had been walking in the rain for some time, enjoying the soft light and changing colours, when suddenly the path through the trees emerged into a more open area, filled with rust-tinted reeds and edged with larch and other trees. This was Tashiro Marsh, which is gradually being...

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  • Taisho-Ike

    This trail ends at the Taisho Pond, one of Kamikochi’s most popular and photographed spots. The pond is a relatively recent addition to the landscape here, having been formed in 1915 by the volcanic activity of nearby Yakedake. On June 6th that year an eruption caused an avalanche of mud which blocked the Azusa River and led to the creation of...

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  • post-hike paradise!!!

    after a day hiking up and down the mountains, is there anything better than to let ur soar body soak in the gentle care of a natural hot spring? feels like heaven!!!!

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  • this is how we did it :)) -finally...

    tired and muddy we arrived to a place where the trekking path gradually became more horisontal and ahhh....what an amazing view awaited us there....the valley of kamikochi with its wide river of turqoise waters, and the ever so majestic mountains on the background....that very moment we forgot all the dirt and pain...and walked by the river to a...

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  • still descending!!

    the descend proved to be more demanding than the ascend, first it felt like a decent nut to crack but after a while of pooring rain, it turned into a lovely mud slide!!! hihiii!!! it was slippery with vertical muddy drops that were impossible to do unless sliding down on ur bum!!! and the mud was all over me :)) hehe but why would you care, just...

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  • near the top!

    finally we reached a camping ground near the top where hikers were just starting collect their stuff and getting ready for the days journey. at that point, the peak of shin-hotaka is about 40 minutes hike away. we decided not to ascend to the top due to the unstable weather conditions, the peak was in a cloud and there would be near 0 visibility....

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  • ascending hotaka-dake!!

    so as we had only one day to spend on hiking, we decided to use the cable car to go up a bit, otherwise a hike to the other side of hotaka-dake would be impossible in one day. at the final station we took a hiking trail leading towards the top near 3000 meters. we hiked up about one hour a practically vertical ascend. the views were fantastic, but...

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  • this is how we did it :)) - arriving to...

    well we drove all night from kobe city up to takayama, and when we arrived there in the early morning we took a short nap in the car after a morning coffee at a local joint :)) then the whole first day we spent exploring the pretty city of takayama (see my takayama pages coming up very soon!!) in the evening after dinner, we followed the narrow...

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Kamikochi Restaurants

  • At the bus terminal

    This is a bustling informal restaurant at Kappa-bashi bus terminal where we ate lunch on both of our days here. As the weather was wet, it seemed everyone else had the same idea, and on both occasions we had to wait for a table despite being early for lunch. On our first visit I had soba noodles in a hot soup which was described as being with...

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  • A Japanese feast

    Stays at Nishi-itoya are on a half board basis and the dinners served are amazing, classic Japanese feasts, with multiple courses (albeit all served at once in the Japanese way). The table as we walked in to our group's private dining room on the first evening had us all gasping, and even so this was only part of our meal, as various hot items were...

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  • no these are not for cats!!!

    fresh water fish newly grilled...yummy!!! however, by the time u reach the valley, u are so hungry that anything goes, really!!!

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Kamikochi Transportation

  • By bus to Kamikochi

    We travelled to Kamikochi by bus from Takayama. The first leg of the journey took us from Takayama bus station to Hirayu in about an hour. There we changed buses, with a wait of about 15 minutes, for one bound for Kamikochi. No private vehicles are allowed beyond the entrance to the long Kappa tunnel that leads to Kamikochi; the only access is by...

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  • Leaving Kamikochi

    We left Kamikochi as we had arrived, by bus, but this time bound for Shinshimashima. The journey took about an hour and the scenery was wonderful throughout. Unlike the day of our arrival, the sun was shining, the snowy peaks were visible and the views at almost every turn magnificent (apart from in the many tunnels). But these tantalising glimpses...

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  • Kamikochi Hotels

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Kamikochi Warnings and Dangers

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    by toonsarah Written Jan 6, 2014

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    Kamikochi is part of the Chubu-Sangaku National Park and, like national parks everywhere, there are various regulations in force to ensure the protection of the wildlife here. These include specific protection for certain animals, the rock ptarmigan, antelope and char, which are designated as Precious Natural Animals in Japan. A voluntary group called "Kamikochi Preservation" was established by the local community in 1965 to support conservation activities in the area. They promote three regulations that visitors are asked to observe in order to preserve Kamikochi for future generations:

    1. Don't Feed & Disturb!
    Do not disturb or feed birds, insects, fish or other wild animals.

    2. Don't Harm!
    Do not harm or damage wild flowers and plants.

    3. Don't Dump!
    Carry all your garbage home with your splendid memories.

    With these in mind it is now time to get outside and start exploring.

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    • National/State Park

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Kamikochi What to Pack

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    by toonsarah Written Jan 6, 2014

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    Luggage and bags: Pack light - you'll be carrying everything you bring on and off small buses that aren't designed for suitcases etc. Anything you don't need for these few days can be forwarded to your next destination via the excellent Japan Rail service.

    We had been enjoying great weather on our trip through Japan, but in Kamikochi our luck finally ran out. Rain is not at all unusual here, but we got more than just rain - we got one of Japan's autumnal typhoons!

    On our final day however, the storm had passed and we woke to blue skies. But at this height and at this time of year, clear skies mean low temperatures, and when we went out straight after breakfast to grab some photos, the ground was icy underfoot.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: So pack for this climate. Bring clothes you can layer, and a waterproof top layer. You might want to bring an umbrella too, though the hotels all have them for guests to use. And you'll want good comfortable shoes for walking. Unless you're planning to do any climbing, trainers are fine for these paths, but make sure they are waterproof. Chris discovered that his had sprung a leak and had very wet feet for the latter part of our walk - and his only other pair were in the suitcase that had been forwarded to Tokyo!

    There is no need to bring anything fancy for the evening, as everything here is very casual - in our ryokan some guests wore the yukuta (traditional robe) provided while most of us opted for jeans and a jumper or similar.

    Miscellaneous: And now we are packed, we are ready to catch the bus to Kamikochi

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Kamikochi Favorites

  • The macaques of Kamikochi

    One of the delights of a visit to Kamikochi is the opportunity to observe the resident macaques, who are not too timid to venture into the “populated” area around the hotels. From our limited two days’ experience, it seemed they would put in an experience mid to late afternoon, with a troop making its way along the path in front of our hotel and...

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  • Autumn colours

    One reason for booking an October holiday in Japan had been to see the famed autumn colours (considered by some to rival the cherry blossom season). But we had come a bit too early, as apart from the occasional bright tree in Kyoto's temple gardens, most had remained a stubborn, if beautiful, shade of green. Kamikochi however is high in the...

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  • When the skies cleared

    It had rained for a day and a half. Kamikochi did have a certain beauty in the rain, but it had meant that the mountains we had come to see were hidden from view. Then, at around 9.00 PM on our second evening, we were sitting in the inn’s coffee shop, drinking beers and sake with some of the group, when the guy who was on reception came hurrying...

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