Deep Red Sunsets and Iridescent Clouds among Kamikochi’s Summer Highlights

 Written by: William Habington

We’ve already written  volumes about how, with the dog days of summer upon us, the cool heights of Kamikochi offer the perfect escape from the heat.  As we near the beginning of August, the weather is only going to get hotter.  The upcoming Obon holiday will also bring a large influx of visitors, eager to spend their time off at one of Japan’s premier nature spots.


The appearance of iridescent clouds in the sky over Kamikochi just the other day was a reminder that nature is always full of unexpected wonders (indeed, I hadn’t known there was such a thing as cloud iridescence, prior to this occurrence).




For a quick explanation of what we’re looking at here, the Wikipedia entry on “cloud iridescence” includes a few words about the characteristics and causes of this rare phenomenon ( 


Just as spectacular (if less rare) than iridescent cloud formations is the regular occurence of gorgeous, deep red and purple sunsets in Kamikochi. This is one of the major reasons why you should not only visit the park, but also spend the night. 


If you decide to forgo the last bus out of Kamikochi and stay the night, you’ll be free to enjoy a full day here.  You might even find that, with much cooler temperatures at nighttime, it’s like experiencing multiple seasons in a single day: cool summer by day and a bracing, but still comfortable taste of spring/autum temperatures by night.


If you’re really lucky, and happen to find yourself on a ridge, with clouds around you and the sun setting at just the right time, you might get to experience another fascinating natural phenomenon known as a “Brocken Spectre” (  I saw one of these last summer while hiking in the Hakuba area and it was definitely a unique and moving experience.


As you can no doubt see, there’s plenty to be experienced and savored over the course of a long summer day in Kamikochi.  Be sure to check the weather and pack accordingly for your visit! 


And, if you have any comments or questions, please feel free to visit our Facebook page:


Sources of information:


Gosenjaku Group website:

Taishoike Hotel website: