Without a doubt, the chance to spot wildlife is among the main attractions of any foray into nature. Kamikochi is certainly no exception. Anyone who has visited the park even once will know that there is a healthy monkey population (possibly, a few more than we need). But visitors with a keen eye for birds and insects will also be able to pick out a rich variety of tiny life making a home among the trees and marshes. Let’s have a look at some of the four (and more) legged denizens of the park.
Strolling along the picturesque river banks of Kamikochi’s Azusa, you are very likely to see monkeys going about there usual business: tending to their young, navigating the tree branches, and occasionally making a nuissance of themselves by cluttering paths intended for humans (see above picture). You have to sympathize with these little guys, though. After all, the park is their home and we are the ones who are visiting.
There are of course, some simple rules for conducting onesself around these critters and you can read about them in this popular article from a while back: https://www.kamikochi.org/blogs/169-monkey-control-patrols-are-in-effect.html
As mentioned above, there is a colorful variety of insect life in Kamikochi as well. I have noticed over the course of my many years living in Japan that the locals are quite tolerant of various forms of insect life, especialy in rural areas. It is, for example common to see boys of elementary school age keeping giant beetles as pets. Still, anyone with an interest in insects will find plenty to cater to their niche in summertime.
Part of the reason for this is the bountiful array of plant life that attracts and sustains pollen gathering bugs.
And some of flying insects we’re seeing these days are also quite beautiful to look at. Feast your eyes on this Chestnut Tiger photographed just the other day:
And here, the Silver Washed Fritillary is as colorfully named as it is richly patterned. That might explain why this species of butterfly is known to some as “the Geisha.”
All of these creatures and more are here to welcome you to Kamikoch’s peak visiting season. Just remember: look but don’t touch. Animal and insect life in the park is protected by law as is the case with plant life.
And now we come to the unpleasant but necessary topic of weather advisories for Nagano Prefecture. We’re sorry to say that Japan’s Meteorological Agency has announced heavy rain for today (the 12th of August) with the possibility of public transport delays and even possible landslides in certain areas: http://www.jma.go.jp/en/warn/322_table.html It is unclear how long these conditions will persist, but for the time being it’s especially important to check weather forecasts when planning a trip.
But don’t let that dampen your spirits. We still have plenty of time for summer fun in Kamikochi far from the madding crowd (and summer heat) of the big cities. Plan carefully and definitely make a point of visiting this August.
As always, we encourage our readers to post any questions or comments (photos also welcome!!!) to our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kamikochi
Source of Information:
National Park Guide website: http://npg-alps.net