Kamikochi Japan | My new favorite place in Japan

May 16 | Evan | No Comments |


I’ve often said that Kyoto is my favorite place in Japan, and perhaps in the world, but last Fall I had the chance to visit Kamikochi for the first time and while I think Kyoto is still my overall favorite, Kamikochi took a small piece of my heart away from Kyoto!  Kamikochi offers picture perfect postcard views with it’s mountains and pristine lakes.   While you cannot drive around the area, hiking to most parts is relatively easy, either by walking path, gravel or elevated wooden paths.  Of course, for those looking for real hiking, you can use Kamikochi as a base to explore the nearby mountains that are part of Japanese Alps.



I walked most of both sides of the Azusa River from Myojin Pond to Taisho Pond, but along the nature path, there are places where it splits, so I couldn’t see everything… Especially because I only had time to stay 2 days and 1 night so I was rushing to see as much as possible.  I recommend staying at least 2, or even better, 3 nights to fully enjoy all the spectacular hiking and mountain scenery Kamikochi has to offer! Especially if you are visiting for photography reasons, you will want to spend as much time there as possible. There are too many photographic opportunities and spending one day walking around to explore the different pathways and views is great to decide where you want to take photos.


Kamikochi is located in the Japanese Alps and part of the Chubu Sangaku National Park. Kamikochi is a little isolated which means it isn’t accessed very easily and the few places to stay aren’t exactly cheap. Also, you can only visit Kam

kamikochiikochi from April 18th to November 15th so timing is limited as well. Private cars are not allowed to enter Kamikochi but instead must park close to the entrance gate. From the parking lot, you will need to take a bus. To access Kamikochi completely via public transportation, you can take a bus from Takayama to Hirayu Onsen and then another bus to Kamikochi. A more popular route is probably from Matsumoto Station, take a train to Shin-Shimashima and then a bus to Kamikochi. If you don’t speak Japanese, the trip isn’t exactly easy, but it is doable. The bus to Kamikochi will not stop at every stop, so if nobody else is getting off where you need to and you don’t press the bell and miss your stop, just get off at the Kamikochi Bus Terminal and you can find your way from there. That being said, depending on where you are staying, you may have a significant walk from the bus terminal!  Take a look at this map from the Official Kamikochi site to see the layout of everything.


2013-10-21 11.28.43To help keep Kamikochi beautiful and the wildlife in good shape, there are 5 rules of Kamikochi that you will see everywhere:  No collecting, no feeding, no littering (even should bring trash home with you), no bringing in (animals), no stepping into (off the paths).

I have lot’s of photos from Kamikochi to share and will be posting them soon to share about Myojin Pond, Kappabashi, Taisho Pond, photos from walking around and a few of my favorite photos of Kamikochi in black and white.  The worst part about visiting Kamikochi is having to decide which of the wonderful photos you want to share!

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