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Written by: Gary Lewis
Date: 2011/06/27

The Azusagawa RiverBetween the drizzle of the rainy season in mid July and the sudden fall into Autumn come September, Summer in Kamikōchi is a brief but beautiful moment.  Like the blooming Cherry Blossom or the perfect Sumo bout, its beauty and excitement are a unique part of Japan. 

Whether you want to experience the peak of beautiful flora and fauna, catch a glimpse of summer animals, go hiking or just camp out under the stars, Kamikōchi offers all this and more. I, myself, am content to just bask in all of it and breathe the wonderful fresh air. 

 

Catch The Sun, (While You Can.) 

Just a few hours from Tokyo, Kamikōchi is almost like a well kept local secret. Although many Japanese come in Summer, to experience the cooler climes and get close to nature, it is still not so well known outside Japan. Despite this, I have been here in every season and, it has rarely failed to inspire or move me.

The Alpen Hotel

The general peak times for people to come are mid-July (probably Saturday 16th this year) and the O-bon period (August 13-15).  So if you are looking for a less busy time it’s best to avoid these dates. There is a wealth of accommodation in Kamikochi, ranging from grand hotels, traditional Japanese inns and even campsites.  

 

Don't Forget Your Walking Shoes.

 

Whether it’s a day trip or longer I think Kamikōchi should be an essential on a visit to Japan. Be aware though, Kamikōchi’s peak temperature in summer is 22.4’C, so please bring a sweater or warm top as you may need it. In the mountains, the higher you go the colder it gets, with 1500m above sea level and a chilly lowest of 10’C making shorts and T-shirts a bad idea. Even if you are only going for one day, it’s advisable to wear trekking shoes, or comfortable sneakers, as there is plenty of walking and a lot of areas do not have well defined paths.

 

For the more serious minded hiker or trekker, decent mountain climbing clothes and shoes are essential. Waterproofs, and clothing to help keep the body dry and sweat free are highly recommended

Taisho-Ike pond

 

For those who wish to stay, Taishō-ike, Myōjin-ike Pond, Tokusawa and Konashi-daira Campsites offer a once in a lifetime view in early morning summer.  Birds chirruping through the early morning haze over the pond always brings a sense of awe. The views I saw while hiking on the higher ground were un-comparable to anything else.        

 

Beautiful Nature

 Konashi-daira Campsite

 

Summer is the peak time to see flowers in Kamikōchi.  Two of the most famous flowers being the Yachi-tori kabuto (谷地鳥兜), and the Yama-hotarubukuro (山蛍袋) unique to Japan.  Both of these can be seen all over the lovely Konashi-daira Campsite. 

 

                                                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                                           Yachi-torikabuto, beautiful but deadly!

The beautiful blue Yachi-torikabuto, literally the helmet of the valley bird, known as Monkshood in English, is said to be the symbol of Summer. It blooms from early July to September, and is a wonderful photo, however look but don’t touch as it famously contains deadly poison. 

 

The purple bell shaped Yama Hotaru Bukuro, the bag of the mountain firefly, has a shorter time of just mid-July to August.  So Summer is the best time to view this beautiful rare flower which was once believed to have a firefly inside it.  Yama-hotaru bukuro, bag of the firefly.

Walk With The Animals

It’s not just flowers, Summer is a great chance to glimpse a variety of animals, and insects, before they migrate to the higher areas.  I, being from England, was really surprised to, a family of, Macaque Monkeys walking freely so close to people on my first visit. 

 

 

                     

 

Amongst a variety of animals the monkeys are the most popular. However there are also Kamoshika (serow), Iwana fish and even Ducks!  I really like to come in Summer just to see them all before they are gone.

Be Careful!

Of course not all things, in Summer, are necessarily friendly.  I think it’s really a good idea to cover yourself up, and use repellent to keep away the hungry Mosquitos, Black flies and Bees.  Also Black Bears live in the area and should be avoided if possible.

Remember the animals are wild, so just watch and appreciate them. Respect for nature is paramount, Kamikochi is a protected area so clean up after yourself and please don’t feed the animals (especially the bears!)   As they say “take only photos, leave only footprints.” 

 

Kamikōchi in Summer, beautiful, rare, unique and a must see.  Head there before it finishes.

 

Kamikochi 8th August 2011

Article Summer.  Summer is just one mont

Between the drizzle of the rainy season in mid July and the sudden fall into Autumn come September, Summer in Kamikochi is a brief but beautiful moment.  Like the blooming Cherry Blossom or the perfect Sumo bout, its beauty and excitement are a unique part of Japan. 

Whether you want to experience the peak of beautiful flora and fauna, catch a glimpse of summer animals, go hiking or just camp out under the stars, Kamikochi offers all this and more.   I, myself, am content to just bask in all of it and breathe the wonderful fresh air. 

Just a few hours from Tokyo, Kamikochi is almost like a well kept local secret.  Although many Japanese coming in Summer, to experience the cooler climes and get close to nature, it is still not so well known outside Japan.  Despite this, I have been here in every season and, it has rarely failed to inspire or move me.

The general peak times for people to come are mid-July (probably Saturday 16ththis year) and the Obon period (August 13-15).  So if you are looking for a less busy time it’s best to avoid these dates.  There is a wealth of accommodation in Kamikochi, ranging from grand hotels, traditional Japanese Inns and even campsites.  

Whether it’s a day trip or longer I think Kamikochi should be an essential on a visit to Japan. Be aware though, Kamikochi’s peak temperature in summer is 22.4’C, so please bring a sweater or warm top as you may need it.  In the mountains, the higher you go the colder it gets, with 1500m above sea level and a chilly lowest of 10’c making shorts and T-shirts a bad idea.   Even if you are only going for one day, it’s advisable to wear trekking shoes, or comfortable sneakers, as there is plenty of walking and a lot of areas do not have well defined paths.

For the more serious minded hiker or trekker, decent mountain climbing clothes and shoes are essential.  Waterproofs, and clothing to help keep the body dry and sweat free are highly

For those who wish to stay, Taisho Ike Myoujin pond Tokusawa and Konashi Daira Campsites offer a once in a lifetime view in early morning Summer.  Birds Chirruping through the early morning haze over the pond always brings a sense of awe.  The views I saw while hiking on the higher ground were un-comparable to anything else.        

Summer is the peak time to see flowers in Kamikochi.  Two of the most famous flowers being the Yachitori Kabuto (谷地鳥兜), and the Yama Hotaru Bukuro (山蛍袋) unique to Japan.  Both of these can be seen all over the lovely Konashi Daira Campsi

The beautiful blue Yachitori, literally the helmet of the valley bird, known as Monkshood in English, is said to be the symbol of Summer. It blooms from early July to September, and is a wonderful photo, however look bu

The purple bell shaped Yama Hotaru Bukuro, the bag of the mountain firefly, has a shorter time of just mid-July to August.  So Summer is the best time to view this beautiful rare flower which was once believed to have a firefly inside it.  

It’s not just flowers, Summer is a great chance to glimpse a variety of animals, and insects, before they migrate to the higher areas.  I, being from England, was really surprised to, a family of, Macaque Monkeys walking freely so close to people on my first visit. 

Amongst a variety of animals the monkeys are the most popular.  However there are also Kamoshika (Antelope), Iwana fish and even Ducks!  I really like to come in Summer just to see them all before they are gone.

Of course not all things, in Summer, are necessarily friendly.  I think it’s really a good idea to cover yourself up, and use repellent to keep away the hungry Mosquitos, Black flies and Bees.  Also black bears live in the area and should be avoided if possible.

But remember the animals are wild, so just watch and appreciate them.  Respect for nature is paramount, Kamikochi is a protected area so clean up after yourself and please don’t feed the animals (especially the bears!)    As they say “take only photos, leave only footprints.” 

Kamikochi in Summer, beautiful, rare, unique and a must