Great News, everyone: the 2014 season began a little early this past Friday when the first buses rolled through the gate to the Kama Tunnel and proceeded into the heart of Kamikochi. It’s been a long wait and the official opening is still a few days away, but it’s hard not to feel excited about what promises to be another magical year. Read on for more details about the current conditions in the park.
We’ve had many many inquiries of late asking about current conditions in Kamikochi and, while the weather changes from day to day, we can tell you the following: as of the 18th, the walking trails between Taisho Pond and Tashiro and Hotaka Bridges still have snow on them. Also, please note that the “Rinkan Course” through the trees is not currently open.
From Tashiro and Hotaka Bridges you may proceed along a the right bank of the Azusa River by a snowless path leading to the Kappa Bridge area. (Expect other trails to be obstructed by snow). Most of the paths around the bus terminal have been cleared of snow and we can definitely expect the accessibility to improve as the official opening ceremony on the 27th approaches.
We’re reliably informed that snow-removal efforts are progressing and walking through the shallow snow along the paths should pose no problem. On moving beyond the Konashidaira Campground, you might encounter tread marked slopes like this one:
Slippery slopes can be daunting, but please bear in mind that these pictures are a week old. There is still PLENTY of snow on the ground and only a small portion of the park’s businesses and amenities are now operating. Again, things should be much more welcoming on the 27th.
As for the area between Kappa Bridge and Myojin Pond, there are some tricky spots along the way:
The area around the newly-painted Myojin Bridge may still have shallow snow which does not pose much of a difficulty in itself. HOWEVER, please be aware that the wooden plank course leading along the right bank of the Azusa from Kappa Bridge to the Myojin area can be dangerous in parts. Rotting wood on the path and possible frozen patches can make for some difficult footing.
More dangerous than that, however, are the many snow-covered areas where you can’t actually see the footpaths. people unfamilar with the area or lacking a good sense of direction (as the Japanese say, 方向音痴 or “directionally tone deaf”) are in danger of losing their way.
As you can see from the headline picture above, the weather on Friday was on the blustery side. And rainy weather is in the forecast as I write. With spring temperatures running from bracing cool to wintery cold, this is something visitors will want to keep track of on a day to day basis. We’ve been advising people to take all the usaul off-season precautions concerning warm clothing and rain-proof gear (the second item is always a necessity for cautious hikers!)
Stay tuned to this page for more up to date reports on Kamikochi as we count down the hours to the grand opening! And please do visit our Facebook page with any comments of questions you might have (https://www.facebook.com/kamikochi)
Sources of Information
Kamikochi Lameiesta Hotel website: http://www.lemeiesta.com
National Park Guide website: http://npg-alps.net