It’s been two months since Kamikochi closed its gates to casual visitors and it will be another three months until we can expect travel to recommence, which means that we’re not at the half-way point of the off-season just yet. Still, Kamikochi doesn’t stop being Kamikochi when the crowds depart for greener pastures. On the contrary, winter in Kamikochi is as majestic and beautiful as any time of year and we’ve got the pictures to prove it.
Mount Yakedake framed by icicles. make no mistake: it’s still fuming under all that snow.
Those of us lucky enough to be located in and around Nagano are used to seeing the peaks of the Hotaka range and other famous mountains in the Northern Alps from a distance. There is, however, something quite special about seeing them up close in the dead of winter. Yakedake in particular, calls to mind the Japanese term 迫力 (“hakuryoku”) which usually describes an imposing aura of strength and grace.
The Azusa River also exudes a particular feeling of strength and stillness in the enveloping winter silence. It is a river born of winter snow and ice and the stark silver of its surface is a wonder to behold.
That said, Kamikochi is not completely bereft of life in winter. These pictures from around New Year’s Day remind us that the monkeys now have the run of the show:
Finally, a big thanks to guest contributor Subari Yamada who has very graciously agreed to share her pictures of Kamikochi from a snowshoeing excursion this past weekend. As you can see the sky is an incomparably deep blue and the scenery on a clear day is simply jaw-dropping:
The Hotaka Range, mirrored in the Azusa. (photo: Subari Yamada)
More Hotaka goodness (photo: Subari Yamada)
Although a few people are venturing into Kamikochi by traversing the Kama Tunnel on foot during the winter season, we feel we should take this opportunity to remind you that a lot of safety rules must be observed by anyone wishing to do this. A quick rundown on those rules may be viewed in this popular blog post from a few years ago: https://www.kamikochi.org/blogs/186-safety-and-awarenes-are-key-as-winter-nears-its-peak
Anyway, assuming that most of you will be waiting till spring to re-visit the Gateway to the Northern Alps, we wish you all a safe and enjoyable winter. There’s plenty else to do in Shinshuu at this time, including onsen-going and skiing or boarding at one of the prefecture’s many popular resorts. Enjoy it all! We hope to see you soon.
Source of Information:
Kamikochi Taisho-ike website: http://www.taisyoike.co.jp