Rumors of the end of the rainy season may have been greatly exaggerated. At present, Japan is being menaced by a typhoon and regular rain showers and changes in temperature are still a day to day reality. However, with temperatures at ground level rising well into the mid-30s (that’s Centigrade for our American readers), it’s only a matter of time until summer arrives in earnest and Kamikochi becomes a prime destination for anyone wishing to beat the heat.
In the meantime, we continue to new plant and animal life appearing, making pleasant walks around the park all the more pleasurable. Here’s a look at some recent additions to Kamikochi’s landscape.
We begin today’s virtual nature walk with a look at the viburnum opulus, commonly called the “guelder rose.” Known in Japanese as “kanboku” (肝木: “liver wood”?), it’s now beginning to show its lustrous white blossoms.
Next, we see the aquilegia flabellata, commonly known as the “granny’s bonnet” or “columbine,” a flowering perennial plant found in East Asia and Japan. The species found in Kamikochi is notable for its distinctive, cream colored center.
Lastly, here’s a flower known to the Japanese as the “nishikiutsugi,” a species of Weigela whose color changes from creamy white to a reddish mauve after blooming:
Not to be outdone by plant life, Kamikochi’s ducks have also been making the scene. Whether splashing around in ponds or waddling by the waterside, these plucky waterfowl always make me smile. You might be lucky enough to spot an “oshidori” or Mandarin Duck, like the one spotted at Taisho Pond and shown in the picture at the top of this entry.
So, as you can see, even though summer hasn’t completely arrived yet, there is plenty of new plant and animal life contributing to the emerging summery ambiance in Kamikochi. If you are planning a visit in the near future, please take special care to check the weather reports beforehand. There’s a typhoon advisory for the next few days and this is sure to make the always unpredictable weather even more so. The usual precautions of packing rain gear and planning your hike to accommodate changes in weather are as important now as always.
Until next time, please feel free to visit our Facebook page and post any questions or comments you may have on our wall ( https://www.facebook.com/kamikochi ). Stay dry and safe and enjoy your visit to Kamikochi!
Source of Information:
National Park Guide website: http://npg-alps.net