The Rainy Season Just Got Real

Last Saturday, as I sat around languidly considering how to observe Canada Day, I received a message from a concerned visitor to Kamikochi asking if it was usual for the park to be closed due to rainfall.  The ensuing search for weather bulletins turned up the unwelcome news that access to the park had been shut off by heavy and sustained rainfall.  Ulp.

Happily, the same sources announced later that day that the roads were being re-opened.  But the message was clear: the rainy season had fired its first real salvo at intrepid visitors braving the weather.

With (realistically) a couple of weeks left in the rainy season, it’s prime time to check long term forecasts and prepare for every likely scenario.  Even on days when no rain is expected, rain wear is a must.  This is doubly true of longer hikes or excursions leading to higher ground where you can become isolated from central Kamikochi’s amenities.

In addition to getting you soaked and potentially making you very cold, heavy rainstorms can pose the much greater hazard of lightning strikes.  For some basic pointers on lightning and other summertime hazards, you may wish to review this post from last summer: http://www.kamikochi.org/nature/the-thunder-and-the-sunshine

On a more positive note, there are plenty of nice things to see for anyone who manages to sneak in a visit between lashings of rain.

A yellow granny’s bonnet in bloom. The Aguilegia takes it’s scientific name from it’s supposed resemblance to an eagle’s claw. At present, the stalks rise to about 70cm off the ground.

Around the Konashidaira Campground, you might be fortunate enough to see some apiaceae, a flowering plant which is actually related to celery (don’t eat it!)

Elsewhere, undaunted by the blustery weather, a grey wagtail makes an appearance by the Azusa River:

“Where’d everyone go?”

Thanks as always to the bloggers at NPG for supplying the wonderful images from earlier in the week!

As we close this week’s entry, we’d like to remind all prospective visitors to check the long term weather forecasts and be on the alert for the kind of heavy rainfall that might cause interruptions in traffic and even temporary closures like the one last Saturday.

Sources of Information:

The National Park Guide Kamikochi blog: https://npg-alps.net/blog/today/17196/ ; and https://npg-alps.net/blog/today/17205/