Kamikochi (上高地) is a popular mountain resort at the Northern Japan Alps in Nagano Prefecture. It’s one of the most popular spots for hiking in Japan during summer where visitors can enjoy the fresh and cool breeze with the scenic views. The hiking route of Kamikochi is open for public from mid April to mid November every year.
Japan Alps Kamikochi is often described as “The Yosemite Valley of Japan” because of the spectacular mountain scenery. Various scenic hiking courses are available depending on the levels and length. The short one takes around 1 hour so you can easily visit there for a day-trip.
If you are considering to hike in Japan, Kamikochi is one of the best places to visit. This is an ultimate guide for the Japan Alps Kamikochi in Nagano for 2020!
<The official hiking season in Kamikochi in 2020 starts on 17 April!!>
Hike around Kamikochi
Kamikochi area can be reached from Matsumoto City by train/bus or car. If you are driving, please note that the driving road are restricted around Kamikochi area and car parkings are available at the entrance of the mountain where you can continue to Kamikochi by bus or taxi. The direct bus service from Matsumoto Station to Kamikochi Bus Terminal operates between mid April to mid November which costs 2,450 yen for one way and 4,550 yen for return.
Kamikochi bus terminal is located right next to Kappabashi Bridge where the significant view (picture above) can be captured. However, we recommend you to get off at the one bus stop before at “Taisho Pond” which you can see a beautiful and mystical view of the pond and continue hiking to Kappabashi for 30 minutes through the beautiful forest.
The trails are available with various length in Kamikochi from short to long. Unless you are planning to stay in a cottage/hut there, we recommend to hike to “Myojin Pond” which takes around 1 hour to reach.
The View you can see while hiking is just superb. And the trails are mostly well maintain and easy to walk along a pond,marsh and magnificent mountain view with fresh air.
After 1 hour hiking from Kappabashi, you are rewarded with the fantastic view of Myojin Pond in Hotaka Shrine.(300 JPY admission fee required) Take a loop trail to go back to Kappabashi with another 1 hour hike.
When to Visit Kamikochi
Kamikochi is usually open from mid April to mid November. The best time to visit for fresh green leaves is from May to June, for flower viewing is from June to August and for autumn colour leaves is in October. During the summer holiday (mid July to August) and autumn leaves season are the busiest season in Kamikochi. If you are planning to go there during those periods, it’s recommended to avoid weekends and visit there in early morning before the crowds hit.
Remember to be well equipped before going for hiking! Due to the mountain location, the temperature in Kamikochi is about 10 degrees lower than Tokyo so warm clothes are essential as well as comfortable shoes for hike. Hope you will enjoy the amazing summer hike in Japan Alps Kamikochi, Nagano!
It’s possible to enjoy hiking in Kamikochi in one day, but also it’s a beautiful place to spend a couple of days in nature. There are several accommodation located at Kamikochi area including hotels, cottages and campsite.
If you wish to stay over around Kamikochi area, there are several hotels where you can rest after hiking with an amazing view of the mountains!