A place of extraordinary natural beauty, Chubusangaku National Park boasts numerous locations that offer close encounters with nature. Of these spots, Kamikochi is the star attraction, raking in over a million visitors each year. Kamikochi enjoys tremendous popularity owing to its otherworldly, breathtaking scenery: verdant forests, a towering volcano, and the azure waters of the picture-perfect Azusa River — all set against the backdrop of the snow-kissed Northern Japan Alps. Kamikochi’s natural jewels remain undeveloped and undisturbed, left alone to naturally flourish. Besides being a prime example of Japan’s reverence for the environment, Kamikochi embodies the divine, magnificent workings of nature.
On this walking tour, you’ll get better acquainted with Kamikochi. The area is the starting point for some of the best mountain hikes, but the terrain filled with noteworthy attractions is just as excellent for long walks. You’ll take the easiest — but no less scenic — course, led by an English-speaking guide who will show you the best of Kamikochi. By learning interesting facts and gaining more insights, you’ll leave with a better understanding and appreciation of the area.
On the morning route, you’ll set off from Taishoike Hotel. From there, you’ll walk to your first stop: Taisho Pond. Formed by volcanic activity, Taisho Pond’s waters originally flowed from Azusa River, before the eruption of the nearby Mt. Yakedake blocked the river flow and created the pond.
Taisho Pond serves as a reminder of nature’s harmonious workings. Though shaped by a disruptive eruption, Taisho Pond now boasts an incredible scenery, for which it is most known: an abundance of trees surrounding its marshlands, and the neighboring peaks of Mt. Hotakadake and Mt. Yakedake being reflected on the pond’s surface.
As you move along the trail, toward Tashiro Pond, you’ll see yet more sights along the way: marshes, clear streams, and vegetation. Troops of monkeys also roam the area, so look out for them!
Then, at Tashiro Pond, you’ll find waters that are just as clear as those of Taisho Pond. Though small in size and rather shallow, Tashiro Pond’s most attractive quality is that it does not freeze in the height of winter. Rather, it continues to reflect the stunning mountain views.
From there, cross Tashiro Bridge and head to the striking Kappa Bridge — one of Kamikochi’s iconic bridges, which hangs over the gleaming Azusa River. It offers spectacular alpine scenery, highlighting the Hotaka Mountain Range.
Refuel with a 40-minute break. Connecting with nature more intimately, you’ll draw water from the Shimizu River yourself to drink or use for your matcha green tea. Pair your cup of tea with delicious Japanese sweets for a delightful teatime treat. Your tour ends here.