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Kamikochi is one of Japan’s preeminent mountain resorts, and it’s extremely popular with foreign tourists, too.
Located at a height of 1,500 meters, it’s home to well-kept walking courses and level paths, with the easy enjoyment of the Northern Japan Alps majestic scenic beauty as its greatest attraction.
Kappa Bridge is a symbol of Kamikochi.
From atop the bridge, you can look out at the Hotaka Mountain Range and Mt. Yakedake, and enjoy the harmony of the flow of the Azusa River and the willow-like Chosenia trees, a gorgeous tableau like something out of a painting.
In summer or when the leaves change, there are many sightseers around Kappa Bridge in a bustling environment that has earned it the moniker “Kamikochi Ginza.
In 1915, mud from the major eruption of Mt. Yakedake blocked the Azusa River, resulting in the formation of Taisho Pond.
The primeval forest was flooded and now, more than a century later, you can still see the dead trees that stand in places, but the water’s surface is like a mirror, reflecting the Hotaka Mountain Range in a most impressive manner.
In particular, you must try to see it with the early morning mist.
This is a pear-shaped pond in the special sanctuary of Hotaka Shrine, formed by the Ichi-no-ike and Ni-no-ike ponds.
Formed by water welling up from Mt. Myojin, the pond constantly has water flowing up from a subterranean river, which means that even in winter the surface never completely freezes over.
There’s a nature trail along the edge of the pond.
Every year on October 8, Hotaka Shrine holds the Myojin Pond Boat Festival.
Along the nature-watching trail that links Taisho Pond and Kappa Bridge, Tashiro Marsh suddenly appears from the primeval forest.
W. Weston, the father of modern mountain climbing in Japan, loved the beauty of Tashiro Pond, lying there so peacefully.
With Hemerocallis flowers in summer and rime in late autumn, it presents a gorgeous vista year-round.
A marsh on the nature trail on the right bank of the Azusa River
Surrounded by primeval forest and with crystal clear water and dead trees still standing, it has an impressive view of Mt. Roppyaku. For a little marsh, this unusually popular spot is packed with Kamikochi charm.
The wooden observation decks set in the marsh are the perfect spot to take a picture.
An active volcano that stands 2,455 meters tall. It’s well known among climbers, particularly many beginners, as a mountain that can be climbed on a day trip from Kamikochi.
A famous peak selected as one of the 100 Famous Japanese Mountains, it’s especially beautiful when the autumn colors tint its foliage.
From the summit, you can enjoy a 360 degree panoramic view of the winding Azusa River, Mt. Yari, and the Hotaka Mountain Range.
Adored by alpinists in Japan and from abroad, Mt. Oku-Hotakadake is the third highest mountain in Japan, while Mt. Yari, like a spear thrust into the sky, is one of the many great peaks in the Northern Japan Alps.
There’s everything from Mt. Yakedake, popular with beginners and a day trip from Kamikochi, to traversing courses that provide a satisfy taste of mountain climbing.
You could say that Kamikochi is a base camp for climbing the Northern Alps.
When climbing the mountains, make proper preparations for food and clothing, and be sure to check ahead of time as to weather conditions and the state of volcanic activity.
Also, consider your own stamina and level of experience, as it’s important not to plan a climb that’s beyond you.
And don’t forget to file a plan of your climb in writing!