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Written by: William Habington
Date: 2012/09/12

 

It may be mid-September already, but midday temperatures in Matsumoto and Nagano City continue to hover around 30 degrees.  Still, there's a certain whiff of autumn in the cool morning air, and if you follow your nose, it might just lead you to Kamikochi.  This week has seen morning temperatures in the park sink to about 10 degrees, signaling the start of a new season here--a cool, crisp follow-up to a long, hot summer.

 

Anyone who has visited the Taisho Pond area in the early morning will recognize these mist-shrouded scenes.  Naturally, the effect is much more dramatic when you see it with your own eyes.  While the urge to snap photos is overwhelming, be sure to take a moment to breath in the almost otherworldly tranquility of the area.

 

 

 

 

Here we see morning mist giving way to a familiar vista at 5:47 (left) and 7:13 (right), last Friday:

 

穂高連峰穂高連峰

 

 

Morning comes a bit later these days with the mountains casting their shadows over the Kappa Bridge area well into the morning.  As the sun slowly climbs in the sky, the morning light sets off the contours of the mountains to great effect, creating some unforgettable scenery.

 

At midday, the park is no less stunning, as this view of Mount Yake shows: 

 

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As noted in previous blogs, the presence of clouds and mist can also make for some spectacular sunsets.  The always striking Taisho Pond takes on a whole new grandeur at dusk, as the setting sun gives its mists a reddish hue:

 

 

And that's just one of many reasons to stay the night in the park, whether camping or at one of Kamikochi's many mountain Lodges (The latter saves you the trouble of lugging your tent along with you).  Either way, you get to enjoy both the sunrise and sunset without having to worry about catching the last bus home.  I myself will be setting out for a long-awaited trip to the Karasawa Cirque this weekend.  I'll get to revisit one of my favourite patios for well-deserved beers after hiking.  And further up top, the peaks of the Hotaka range are calling my name.  Pictures of my adventures to follow in next week's blog! 

 

In the meantime, why not join us in sampling the early autumn splendour of Kamikochi?

 

 

Sources of Information:

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

- Taisho Pond Website (http://www.taisyoike.co.jp)

- Sirakabaso Website (http://shirakabaso.com)