Spending Autumn In Kamikochi

The Japanese Alps with Azusa River

Kamikochi is a valley located in the middle of the Hida Mountain Range near Matsumoto, Nagano
Among the seasons, I love Autumn the most. That is why this year, I had vowed to go somewhere to see it every week of this season. And one of the destinations I had was Kamikochi.

Kamikochi is a valley near the famous Japanese Alps. As it is famous to tourists, getting there is also easy. In fact, since information is vast regarding this place, it only took me less than a week to prepare for me, but take note that I was on a day trip hike.  

I had initially planned to get the Kamikochi Yuyu Ticket (上高地ゆうゆう切符) which gives me an all-in-one ticket to the bus and trains that will take me to Kamikochi from Shinjuku. But after Alpico, the bus company which has the Tokyo-Kamikochi service, opened a second bus for the Sawayaka Shinshu Line (さやわか信州号), which is a night bus service that takes you from Shinjuku direct to Kamikochi, I ditched the gladly original plan to take the bus that leaves from Shinjuku at 10:30pm.

So, I took the bus from the Keio bus station and bounded the Sawayaka Shinshu bus.  There were less passengers  than I expected so I got the seat beside me for myself as well.  I had decided to take the Taisho-Kappa bashi-Myoujinbashi route so I got off the Taishoike stop, which is two stops from the final destination. I reached my destination at 5:30am, which is before sunrise.

Because Kanto is still on the 20s that time, I wasn’t able to anticipate the coldness of the morning in Kamikochi that day. There were no lights in the bus stop area but luckily I remembered taking my headlights with me. I found a nearby vendo machine which had hot drinks. This had helped me a lot for extra heat source.

On a normal pace, my route would actually take only 3 hours one way, but since I am taking the photographer’s pace, this was twice as much for me. I had 10 hours to spend there so I thought of going to an onsen afterwards, but due to a wrong turn when I was looking for Myoujinbashi, I had to sadly scrap the plan (although I tried walking 30% faster than my normal pace just to get back to Kappabashi but still unable to do so).  So I ended my walk with sunset watching instead.  I left Kamikochi at 4:30pm and was in Shinjuku at 9:00pm sharp. I went on a Saturday so I was able to avoid the weekend traffic. 

And, as always, I had to document a video regarding the trip. I think it’s better to just watch this than to read the entire blog as this already summarizes the entire experience.Lol.

Some tips:

    The temperature can drop to almost 0 in the morning so prepare some proper heating. In the daytime, the temperature is mild.
    The crossroads that will take you to Myoujinbashi and Tokusawa (徳沢) is a bit confusing so be careful. If you accidentally take the path to Tokusawa, be reminded that it is another hour or so of walking.
    Stores are only concentrated in three areas so prepare yourself with enough food. Eating beside the river is recommended.

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