Bored of the usual cities in Japan? Looking for something different for your next Japan trip? You have come to the right post then, as I will be sharing with you my experience at Kamikochi — a remote area within the Hida Mountains range. After reading this post, you will know why I highly recommend Kamikochi as your next must-visit travel destination in Japan 🙂
Kamikochi, Nagano Prefecture
Kamikochi, a popular resort in the Northern Japan Alps of Nagano Prefecture, is probably the prettiest national park that I have ever been to. It is surrounded by tall mountains and virgin forests of birch, larch and hemlock.
Getting to Kamikochi was definitely not easy, but I remember I was constantly amazed by the view while on the way there. So make sure to keep your eyes wide open when you are on the way to Kamikochi.
I only had a few hours there, so the following details will be useful if you are planning for a day trip to Kamikochi. I’ll give more details at the end for those who would like to stay longer!
Getting Here from Nagano Prefecture
Kamikochi is only accessible via bus or taxi, so definitely take the bus, unless you don’t mind paying the taxi fare (which I can imagine is quite a fortune!).
If you are coming from Nagano Prefecture, you can go to Shin Shimashima Bus Terminal and get a ticket to Kamikochi (JPY 4,550 / ~SGD 54.5 for return trip and JPY 2,450 / ~SGD 29.4 for one way).
Some useful transportation tips:
- If you want to visit Shirahone Onsen after Kamikochi, then don’t get a return ticket. You can go back to Shin Shimashima from Shirahone Onsen.
- Some of you may wonder how to get to Shin Shimashima. There are actually a few ways and it all depends on your schedule before visiting Kamikochi. I decided to stay at Matsumoto as it’s only about 30min by train to Shin Shimashima. Do note that this is not the only option!
- To find out other ways to get to Kamikochi, you can refer to this page.
- Before you start exploring Kamikochi, make sure to reserve your seat for your return trip at the Kamikochi Bus terminal, especially during the peak season! This is important because there might be a long line for certain bus routes and if you don’t book your seat in advance, you may not be able to board the bus at your preferred time! Yikes!
Main Attractions at Kamikochi
If you don’t have much time to explore, I would suggest stopping at Toshio Pond on the way from Shin Shimashima to Kamikochi Bus Terminal. You would probably need around 1 – 1.5hrs at the pond, depending on what you are going to do. You can paddle a boat, take lots of photos of the lovely pond, or simply walk around.
When you are finished exploring Toshio Pond, walk back to the bus stop, board the bus and then continue on to Kamikochi Bus Terminal. If you have purchased the return ticket, you will be able to take the bus to the terminal. If you haven’t, you may need to walk, which should not take too long.
Kappa Bridge, a wooden suspension bridge over Azusa River, is the nearest attraction from the bus terminal. It is also one of the most popular spots for pictures as it offers magnificent views of the Hotaka Peaks and Mt. Myojindake upriver.
This was the furthest point that I went to at Kamikochi. It’s about 3.3km from Kappa bridge and it should roughly take about 1 hour to walk there. It took me almost 1.5 hours to get there, because the entire journey was so scenic that I had to stop every few minutes to take pictures. Walking back was slightly faster though as I’d already taken most of the photos I wanted. In total, I would say you need about 3 hours for the entire trip.
Here are a few pictures that I took while walking over to Myonji Pond.
As you can see, this national park offers one of the most amazing views ever, so make sure to enjoy your walk at Kamikochi! Let nature amaze you with its beauty 🙂 If you are lucky, you might be able to spot some of the wildlife as well at the park.
Accommodations at Kamikochi
If you are planning on visiting Kamikochi longer, you should consider staying at the lodge / campsite available here. Do book early to ensure you secure yourself a place to stay while you are here 🙂
There’s a lot of information in this post (I know!), but if there is only one thing that you can (and should) remember, it is the fact that Kamikochi is indeed a very beautiful place. You should definitely consider visiting it on your next trip to Japan!
Getting there is definitely not the easiest journey but I assure you it’s going to be worth your time and effort. Make sure to share this article with your friends and family as well 😉
If you have any questions, do leave them on the comment section below 🙂