Japan is a mountainous country therefore it seems like hiking is a must-do when you arrive here. Hiking is very good for your health, as a challenge, just for fun, but also to be as close as possible to the nature. Hence, to experience hard effort and to admire the beauty of Japanese nature we highly recommend you to go hiking in Kamikochi area.
Kamikochi is a mountainous highland valley located in the heart of the Hika Mountains, the so-called ‘Northern Alps’ of Japan. To get the picture right, it is simply located in Nagano Prefecture. By the way, there are long distance buses running there from both Tokyo and Nagoya; just in case you want to avoid the complicated mix of trains and shuttle buses.
The park is open from the middle of April till the middle of November.
- Azusa River
While hiking you might face the Azusa River which you can actually follow, you will be amazed by the alliance of the forest, the river and the mountains. There is an official trail along that river, it is meant to lead you to the Lake Taisho.
- Lake Taisho & Mt Yake
This lake is a must-see if you hike in Kamikochi, it was created by the eruption of Mount Yake(active volcano) during the Taisho period in 1915. You can now admire the mirror-like reflexion of Mount Yake in the lake.
- Hodaka shrine and festivals
Visiting Hodaka Shrine is also recommended, especially in October, because there are shrine festivals and ceremonies. By the way, there are other festivals held in this area, such as the opening ceremony for the new season and the Weston festival.
- As Kamikochi is part of the Chubu-Sangaku National Park and is a designated National Cultural Asset and Special Place of Scenic Beauty, we advise you to visit a tourist center in order to get a map, and to ask for any rules regarding protection of the area. For instance, private cars are not allowed anywhere.
- Another tip is to avoid the most crowded seasons such as, the Golden Week in May, and the summer peak season from Mid-July till the end of August.