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KamikochiMap of KamikochiKamikochi is the most popular scenic spot in Northern Alps.
It is a valley just close by the ridge of Northern Alps, and it is located at a level of about 1,500 meters.
And it is positioned about 30 km west ot Matsumoto city.

Mount Hotaka towers about 4-12 km north of Kamikochi.
It has eight main peaks, and the highest Oku-Hotaka peak has a height of 3,190 meters which is the third in Japan.
Mount Hotaka is one of the most popular mountains for climbing.
The climbers mostly start from Kamikochi. Of course, they have appropriate mountaineering equipment and experience to climb.

And there is Mount Yake ("Yakedake" in Japanese) about 2.5 km west of Kamikochi.
It is an active volcano, and is 2,455 meters high. The last eruption was in 1915.

Azusa River flows through the valley of Kamikochi, and it flows down to Matsumoto city.

Kamikochi is in a national park, and is also designated as a national extraordinary scenic beauty and a national monument.
We can enjoy the beautiful scenery of Northern Alps, lakes and forests.

To visit here, we can use the route bus from Shin-Shimashima, which is the terminal station of Matsumoto Dentetsu Line from Matsumoto city, or the direct bus from Matsumoto city (only 2 services a day).

We can also visit from Takayama city.
The route buses from Takayama to Matsumoto are operated. But they don't go to Kamikochi.
Get off the bus at Hirayu hot spring resort, and change to the shuttle bus to Kamikochi there.

When you want to visit by car, you must park the car in any parking lot away from Kamikochi.
Because, the use of general cars are prohibited in Kamikochi area to conserve the nature.
So you must get on the shuttle bus to Kamikochi from the parking lot.
The parking lots are at Sawatari district on Matsumoto side and Hirayu hot spring resort on Takayama side.

We can visit Kamikochi only from late April to mid-November.

Lake Taisho /1/

Lake TaishoIt is a dammed lake at the entrance of Kamikochi. It is called "Taishou-ike" in Japanese.
It was formed by dammed Azusa River by the eruption of Mount Yake in 1915. The length is about 1 km and the width is 50-100 meters.
The standing withered trees in the lake are designeted as the national natural monuments.

Lake Tashiro /2/

Lake TashiroIt is a small and shallow lake located about 0.5 km northeast of Lake Taisho. It is called "Tashiro-ike" in Japanese.
This lake was also formed by the eruption of Mount Yake. The water is very clear.
Around this lake, marsh spreads.

Monument of Walter Weston /3/

Monument of Walter Weston Walter Weston (1861-1940) was a British missionary.
He had sometimes climbed various mountains as a hobby, when he had stayed in Japan.
Then he introduced the beautiful Japan Alps to the world for the first time in 1906. Also he introduced the modern climbing as a sport to Japan.
This monument was built for his achievement in 1937 by Japanese Alpine Club.
It is located about 2 km north of Lake Taisho and near Azusa River.
On the first Saturday and Sunday in June, Weston Festivel is held here by many climbers.

Kappa Bridge /4/

Kappa Bridge It is a wooden susupension bridge located about 2.5 km northeast of Lake Taisho, and is the most popular spot in Kamikochi. It is called "Kappa-bashi" in Japanese.
Clear Azusa River flows under the bridge, and we can see the beautiful scenery of the peaks of Mount Hotaka and the active Mount Yake volcano.
There are the visitor center and some hotels around here, and the route buses and shuttle buses come here.

Lake Myojin /5/

Lake Myojin It is a small dammed lake located about 2.5 km upstream of Azusa River from Kappa Bridge. It is called "Myoojin-ike" in Japanese.
It has one more small lake.
These lakes are in the precincts of Okumiya of Hotaka Shrine. So you must pay the entrance fee (300 yen).
On foot, it takes about 45-50 minutes from Kappa Bridge.

Okumiya of Hotaka Shrine /6/

Okumiya of Hotaka Shrine It is a branch shrine of Hotaka Shrine in Azumino located about 22 km east-northeast from here.
The guardian god of Japan Alps are enshrined.
Lake Myojin is in this precincts.

Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

How to get to here

By railroad and route bus

  • From Matsumoto, by Local train on Kamikochi Line, about 30 minutes to Shin-Shimashima terminal.
    Then by route bus, about 65 minutes from Shin-Shimashima station to Kappa-bashi.
  • From Takayama, by route bus, about 1 hour and 30 minutes to Hirayu-onsen.
    Then by shuttle bus, about 25 minutes from there.

By car

  • From Matsumoto, run on Route 158. To Sawtari district, about 35 km.
    Get on shuttle bus. About 25 minutes to Kappa-bashi. The bus is operated every 20 minutes.
  • From Takayama, run on Route 158. To Hirayu hot spring resort, about 35 km.
    Get on shuttle bus. About 25 minutes to Kappa-bashi. The bus is operated every 30 minutes.

Lake Taisho and Mount Hotaka
Lake Taisho and Mount Yake
Lake Tashiro
Marsh around Lake Tashiro
Monument of Walter Weston Kappa Bridge
Lake Myojin
Photo by Nagano Prefecture Tourism Association
Okumiya of Hotaka Shrine
Azusa River and Mt. Hotaka "Anemone flaccida" around Kamikochi
Walking trail in Kamikochi
Photo by Nagano Prefecture Tourism Association
Opening Festival of Kamikochi (April 27th)
Photo by Nagano Prefecture Tourism Association

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