Kamikochi - Nagano

Located deep in the Hida Mountain Range in the western regions of Nagano Prefecture, Kamikochi (上高地) is a popular remote tourist destination that offers one of the most spectacular views of what is dubbed as Japan's Northern Alps.  

Kamikochi (上高地)
Kamikochi (上高地)

Kamikochi Details

The name Kamikochi could be translated to "upper highland" due to its topographic characteristics. To be more exact, Kamikochi is a 15-kilometer long plateau in the Azusa River Valley. It is surrounded by four of Japan's highest peaks namely Yakedake (2455m), Nishihotakadake (2909), Maehotakadake (3090m), and Okuhotakadake (3190m). 

Kamikochi - Nagano Prefecture

The male and female kappa... Kamikochi's mascot

In the past, Kamikochi was one of the main sources of logs in the region. However, due to the sudden interest in recreational mountaineering in Japan brought by the writings of Reverend Walter Weston, a lot of locals lobbied to preserve the Kamikochi area and the Northern Alps. In recognition of his contribution to the conservation of the area, the festival held every June was named after him. 



Now we know where we are...

because we checked out Kamikochi's guide map

The manhole here is the same as that in Nagano which features Temari Balls

Gosenjaku Hotel

Inside Kappa Shokudo

Lunch at Kappa Shokudo

Kappabashi Public Toilet

At present, Kamikochi is protected as part of the Chubu-Sangaku National Park. Hence it is only moderately developed with only a handful of hotels and ryokans to accommodate its guests. There are also some mountain huts along the hiking trail up the mountain for hikers. To prevent overcrowding the place and to lessen pollution, private cars were banned from entering Kamikochi. The only way to access it is by bus or taxi. In our case, we left our car at the parking area at Sawado then took the taxi to Kamikochi. Parking here costs 1250-4200 yen depending on the length of stay. The trip costs around 10,000 yen one way (yup you read it right). If you have plenty of time but a limited budget, you can ride the overnight buses (Meitetsu buses) from Nagoya. It costs 11,310 yen for a round-trip ticket. 

The Hotaka mountains serve as a great backdrop to the Kappabashi bridge

Crossing the Kappabashi Bridge

Kappabashi bridge
Kappabashi Bridge

Gotta love the view!

Follow the path and explore this beautiful place.

The picturesque Azusa River 

My daughter checking out how clean the Asuza River is.

Nakase Public Toilet

Kamikochi Imperial Hotel

If you're planning to visit Kamikochi, the park is officially open from mid-April to mid-November. The peak season is from the end of July to August and also in October when the autumn leaves give additional beauty to Kamikochi. 

Walking along the forested path going to Kamikochi Imperial Hotel

My wife seems to be enjoying these long walks.

My family and I got to visit Kamikochi during our Gifu-Nagano Road Trip on our 16th day in Japan. It was our last destination for the day. During our visit, we spent the whole afternoon exploring the Visitor Center Area where you'd see the Kappabashi Bridge, and then strolled to the Imperial Hotel following the Azusa River Route. I highly recommend the said route particularly to nature lovers as the route is perfect for those who want to commune with nature and also admire its raw beauty. 
Team Nicerio visits Kamikochi

Here's a short video that I took in Kamikochi:


Kamikochi Admission Fee:

It's good to note that Kamikochi is free from any admission fees. However, if you brought your car, you need to pay a 600 yen parking fee. From the parking lot, you need to ride a taxi (4000-10000 yen depending on the number of passengers - one way) or a bus (around 1000 yen per passenger - one way).  

Kamikochi opening hours:

Kamikochi is open from mid-April until mid-November. It is closed every winter.

Why visit Kamikochi?

Overall, Kamikochi is a nature lover's paradise. It also provides hikers a jumpoff point to four major mountains of Japan. Therefore, if you're that person who's into nature then what are you waiting for, add Kamikochi to your itinerary in your upcoming visit to Japan. 

Getting to Kamikochi:


From Tokyo, ride the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen to Toyama and transfer to the JR Hida limited express train to Takayama (4 1/2 hours, 14000 yen). 

Even the view from the parking lot in Sawado is amazing

From Takayama, ride the Nohi bus to Hiraya Onsen. The one-hour trip costs around 1600 yen. From there transfer to another bus going to Kamikochi. The 25-minute trip costs around 1200 yen. 


Another option is to hop on a night bus (Meitetsu bus) from Nagoya. Round trip tickets cost 11,310 yen. 


Ratings:
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Overall rating

Comments

  1. Wow that view truly is beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kamikochi is truly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Japan.

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  2. Looks beautiful. I love being outdoors, and this looks like it's a pretty view!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it is but these pictures really don't give justice to how beautiful this place really is.

      Delete
  3. I've never heard of Kamikochi before but i'm so glad I came across this post! What an amazing place that you rarely hear about. I will def add this to my list of places to see

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your comment made my day. I hope you get to visit this wonderful place soon.

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  4. I want to go here so so so bad!! This looks absolutely beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should visit this place when you are in Japan. It's one for the books.

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  5. wow! i want to see these Japan Norther Alps. I love mountain ranges. When I lived in Vancouver, the rocky mountains were my favourite thing about it! I would love to visit here one day and see it for myself. Lovely photos

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Cendu. I do hope you get to visit Japan's Northern Alps.

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  6. Wow. Breath-taking. I have always been fascinated to Japan. Hoping to travel there in the future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please do visit Kamikochi when you have the chance.

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  7. Replies
    1. Kamikochi is really one of the most beautiful place in Japan.

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  8. Replies
    1. I'm happy that you now know that there is such paradise as Kamikochi.

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  9. I never heard about this place. But, the photos are amazing. I would like to go there :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should visit Kamikochi Shubh. =) You'll surely love it.

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  10. It is beautiful Indeed! Looks like a must visit place in Japan.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for visiting my blog. Yup. I do agree Kamikochi is a must visit place in Japan. =)

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  11. Wow, This is such a wonderful place I love the nature great shots I love it!

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  12. love my reading here, I love travel around, so gonna keep this as wish I can travel here one day. love the captures shared here. Am keeping this post to my to-travel list. cheers, siennylovesdrawing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please do include Kamikochi to your bucketlist / travel list. It is really worth the visit. =)

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  13. Your photos are beautiful. Such a green and wonderful place!

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  14. Wow this looks really amazing. I hope to visit Japan one day and I would love to go here!

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  15. Glad you enjoyed Kamikochi. I went there in 2015 and LOVED it. It is so beautiful!

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    Replies
    1. WOW!!! Did you visit during fall or spring? Someday, I'd be back here and hopefully it's fall. =)

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  16. So pretty...cannot believe all the blues and greens of nature

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  17. It sounds like an amazing place to visit. I love the log cabins and nature trails.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Then this place is for you. =) You should visit Kamikochi and see for yourself how amazing this place is.

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  18. This is another wonderful place on japan, May be I should recommended this place to my friend. Thank you for share

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    Replies
    1. Yes please do recommend Kamikochi to your friend. You might want to visit it as well.

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  19. Kamikochi is so beautiful! I will add it to my bucket list for my future Japan trip.

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    Replies
    1. I agree with you. Kamikochi is probably one of the most beautiful places that I have visited in Japan.

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