The Kama Tunnel has closed to traffic, the shops and lodges have sealed their doors, and virtually all human beings of any description have left the premises. Kamikochi is now officially closed for business. There are bright sides to this sad reality and we will adress them momentarily.
But first, a moment of silence.
Let’s get one thing straight up front: the fact that Kamikochi is closed for the winter does not mean that noone goes there anymore. It does mean that far fewer people make the journey which involves, among other things, involves traversing the pitch black Kama Tunnel on Foot. Also, with no staff on sight, any visitors to the park are required to take FULL RESPONSIBILITY for their own safety. If you are interested, please have a look at this popular blog post from two years ago: https://www.kamikochi.org/blogs/186-safety-and-awarenes-are-key-as-winter-nears-its-peak.html
The Visitors’ Centre settles down for a winter snooze under a blanket of snow.
Mount Yakedake with the Azusa River in the foreground.
The other upside to the winter season is that it’s a very exciting time elsewhere in the Northern Alps. My own favourite resort town Hakuba is home to some excellent ski areas with a devoted international clientele. For skiiers and boarders as well as newbies and experts alike. And wherever you find yourself in Nagano. you will almost certainly be near onsen. I don’t think there’s any more delightful activity than taking a dip in a rotemburo (outdoor bath) while the snow is falling outside.
Anyway, all of this is just to say that, while Kamikochi may be closed for the winter, Nagano Prefecture is still very much up and running.
Our blog post will be a little more sparse from now on, but we will still be available to answer any questions you may have on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kamikochi
Sources of Information:
Kamikochi Gosenjaku Hotel website; http://www.gosenjaku.co.jp/hotel
National Park Guide website: http://npg-alps.net/