Written by: Tammy Crichton
Our friend, long-term Nagano resident Tammy Crichton has graciously agreed to share this account of a September visit to the Karasawa Col along with some wonderful pictures. As we enjoy the precious final weeks of Kamikochi's autumn 2012 season, we look forward to hearing more about Tammy's adventures in the Northern Alps!
Are you thinking that Kamikōchi is just a mountain resort? Or that just walking around the area and enjoying the view is enough? If your answer is yes, you are only enjoying half of Kamikōchi.
The basin surrounded by the Northern Japanese Alps is full of interesting culture handed down for generations by local people.
Would you like to experience “mountain culture” that only be found in Kamikōchi?
Lederhosen-clad Japanese Alpen horn players? This is a sight you cannot find just anytime and anywhere even in Japan. You have to come to Kamikōchi in April to see the Kaizansai (Mountain Opening Festival). You are in for even more treats: you can see the traditional lion dance and to warm you up in the chilly spring breeze, you can taste sake blessed by the local priests.
Matt Dunn writes about his visit in Kamikōchi this April.
When you mention “autumn colors” (kouyou 紅葉) around the Nagano area, you’ll hear the word Karasawa (涸 沢) a few times. I knew it was a place in the sacred highlands of Kamikōchi but not much more than that. As wilderness is often an experience to share, my wife and a couple of good friends joined me for an overnight hike into the magic and colors of one of Kamikōchi’s jewels – the Karasawa trail and area.
John Koons writes about an inspiring and colorful autumn hike.