Written by: William Habington
On Saturday May 19th, I had the pleasure of taking part in an event called the "Mizu Walk" along the Asuza River.
In addition to much needed exercise, it gave me occasion to think about the significance of rivers in general and the Azusa in particular. Like all rivers, the Asuza is an invigorating presence in the communities through which it flows and to which it gives a sense of connection. But it is also more than that. A survey of local history reveals both a deep religious significance and a connection to ancient culture as fascinating as it is mysterious.
Written by: Sodai Taira
Although Kamikochi is one of the most famous tourist spots in Japan with visitors coming from all over the world, there are still relatively unknown things about Kamikochi.
One of the most interesting and intriguing points of Kamikochi's history is the story of an aged man who was amazingly able to live alone in the untouched and harsh natural conditions of Kamikochi over 100 years ago. Making a living through fishing and hunting, this man built a hut alongside Myojin-ike Pond.
Earning high praise from the English Missionary Walter Weston (the man who introduced the greatness of Kamikochi to the world), this legend's name is Kamijo Kamonji.
In the past, the times when KamaTunnel was not yet open, the local people from Shin-Shimashima would walk in and out of Kamikōchi to earn their living.
During the Edoperiod (1603-1868), a woodsman who went for logging and in the Meiji period (1868-1912), Hyakujiro Kamijo took local cows up there to graze.
Right now, this mountain trail known as "Tokugo-Toge-Goe" which requires good 9 hours of walking to pass.
Written by: Michael Barbic
Before you head out to climb Mt. Yarigatake the Japanese Matterhorn, the picture-perfect peaks of Mt. Hotaka-dake, or Mt. Yakedake the mysterious volcano which fumes in the background, ask yourself one question. “Am I fully prepared for all the things I'm planning to do?” I'm sure many of you can honestly answer yes without hesitation, but I'm sure there are some of you who can't say the same.
“So, what do I need?” you may ask. Well, depending on what you plan to be doing, answers vary. Of course you need gear, but more importantly you need knowledge.
Hiking with monkeys
Things to watch out for
Japanese monkeys are the local celebrities of Kamikochi. A common nickname for Japanese monkeys in Nagano prefecture is Snow monkey. Being able to see them in their natural habitat makes up for a once in a life time experience, unless you're a regular at Kamikochi.
Japanese Monkeys are around all year long aren't too shy. However keep in mind to let sleeping monkeys lie and remember monkeys, cute as they are, are still wildlife. Keep a few pointers in mind such as no feeding, staring, baring teeth and an appropriate distance to fully enjoy a hike alongside these cute, fluffy animals.