Kamikochi, the Gateway to the Japanese Alps is a high mountain valley approximately 18 kilometers in length and situated in the Chubu-Sangaku National park that includes includes the whole part of the Northern Japan Alps. Kamikochi was used extensively by the logging industry until the mid 19th century. In 1861-1940, a British Missionary Rev. Walter Weston lobied to preserve the Kamikochi.
Kamikochi, whose elevation is 1,500 meters (4,500 feet) above sea level is a small and slender basin surrounded by high mountains such as Hodaka Mountains, Mt. Yakedate, and Mt. Kasumizawa.
Hiking the trails along Azusa River, from Taisho Pond to Myojin Bridge is the simplest way to enjoy a day in Kamikochi. The Taisho pond is seen as a romantic place where one can be "lured into the world of fantasy" beacuse of its amazing view of the surrounding mountains with a fantastic reflection. However, climbing to the surrounding peaks are more challenging and only recommended between mid June and mid September.
During the autumn foliage season which usually peaks in mid October, the Kamikochi is particularly beautiful. You can view a wide range of alpine flora during mid May through July and encounter some wildlife such as monkeys and various birds. There are also bears but rarely encountered.
There are also hotels, souvenir shops, post office and visitor center in the area.
From Shinshimashima Station (East Japan Railway), just follow the path on the road. If you see two different roads, which is usually going straight and going left, always go with the former. The drive from the said train station to Kamikochi usually takes 45-50 minutes.
Kamikochi will be open to public from mid/late April until November 15 and will close during winter (November 16 to around mid/late April.)
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