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Written by: William Habington
Date: 2012/08/03

 

With summer heat building to a fever pitch all around Japan, visitors from across the country and around the world are spending some of their valuable holiday time on a trip to Kamikochi.  Of course, the cooler weather here offers a pleasant change from the mid-30s temperatues at sea-level.  But that's just one of the attractions of Kamikochi in early August.  Many people also look forward to checking out the wide variety of alpine plant life around the park, so let's have a look at some of the flowers currently blooming in the area.

 

We begin with the saxifrage, a species of flower usually found only in alpine and arctic eco-systems.  They are small in size and easily overlooked, but observant visitors might spot them in the shadow of larger plants:

 

クロクモソウ

 

 

Next up, nothing says summer like the Adenophora remotiflora, a large flower with a distinctive hue.  Its Japanese name, sobana (or "cliff flower") suggests an alpine origin while contrasting with its graceful appearance

 

ソバナ

 

A good indication of the of  the rarity of these flowers in the eyes of foreign visitors is that many of them only seem to have long, scientific-sounding names in English.  Here we see the Tricyrtis latifolia, whose Japanese name of tamagawahototogisu is a mouthful even for native speakers of the language.  It's a great favorite with Kamikochi's animal life including bees and monkeys.  Those which escape the notice of hungry primates get to bloom in to a rich yellow hue like the ones seen here:

 

 

The aconite should be familiar to many people from outside Japan.  Better known as monkshood or wolf's bane, it is well-known in western folklore as a poisonous plant, and even makes numerous appearances in the plays of Shakespeare.  Please note that picking plants in Kamikochi is forbidden and that you will definitely want to stay away from these ones.

 

ヤチトリカブト

 

We finish our tour of local flora with the flowers of the tilia japonica on the left and the geum/avens (actually a member of the rose family) on the right:

 

シナノキ拡大ダイコンソウ花

 

Kamikochi offers something for every kind of person at every time of year.  Whether you want to enjoy a pleasant stroll among the seasonal flowers or hike up to the mountain huts, you're sure to have a memorable experience this summer.  Checking the weather and planning your route ahead of time can make for an even more enjoyable visit.  We hope to see you here soon!

 

 

Source of Information:

- Kamikōchi National Park Guide Website (http://npg-alps.net/)