As I sit in my office in Chikuma City, a partly sunny sky frames a scene of radiant yellow foliage and fallen leaves. In Kamikochi, however, it’s a different story. The autumn season is rapidly drawing to a close as foliage gives way to snow on the mountaintops and frost on the trees. Winter is almost here and it will soon be time to close the Gateway to the Northern Alps. But just as the sky is prettiest before the sun goes down, Kamikochi has shown it still has a few clear days to offer at the end of the season.
The famous site of the Hotaka Range refelected in Taisho Pond gives a good impression of the kind of weather we’ve seen over the past few days. It’s been a clear, sunny spell with deep blue skies providing a crisp backdrop to the white-capped mountains in the foreground. With the autumn foliage now well past its peak, there is still much to enjoy in the mountainside scenery visible all around the park.
In the morning, frosty early-winter scenes like the one below have become common. This view of the Tashiro Pond area serves as a reminder of why winter-suitable apparel is now a must for anyone planning a morning stroll around the increasingly quiet paths of Kamikochi.
This will sound like a familar refrain by now, but be sure to bring a warm jacket, hat and appropriate gloves if you decide to visit at this time of year. These days, it’s chilly even when the sun is out, so take care to see that you don’t get caught unprepared. Cold and uncomfortable is no way to spend these precious last days at Kamikochi.
On that note, now is as good a time as any to remind you that Kamkochi’s closing ceremonies will be held on Sunday, November 15th from 11:30am onward (arrive early to get a good place). This, the 47th iteration of the event, will feature the traditional Shinto prayers offered in thanks for safe passage through the mountains in the past year. It’s sure to be a grand send-off for the 2015 season, so by all means drop by if you’re in the area.
Source of Information:
National park Guide website: http://npg-alps.net