Another winter season, another farewell…
Kamikochi’s offical closing ceremony for this year was held in a suitably snowy setting last Saturday, the 15th. Having begun to fall three days earlier the white stuff had already piled up to a respectable 20cm and there was a chill in the air that betokened both late season melancholy and a welcome to what is, in many ways, Shinshuu’s most majestic season: winter.
The usual phrase in Japanese for when something goes off without a hitch is “無事に終わった” and that was certainly the case with this year’s ceremony. Where, in previous years, inclement weather had forced onlookers indoors, this year the cold was the only potential obstacle to business as usual. With everyone bundled up for the winter season though, it caused no problem at all.
As usual, a Shinto ceremony was held to offer thanks for a year in which there were no major accidents in the Kamikochi area (the park having escaped any negative influence from the sudden and tragic events at Ontake). A sturdy cadre of onlookers stood in reverent silence as the ceremony was concluded, as shown in this wonderful photo from the Gosenjaku website.
Here are some more pictures of the scene last Saturday:
And now that the last Kamikochi-affiliated staff have left the area, it has basically become the domain of wildlife and winter adventurers. Try to figure out which camp this guy belongs to:
He still looks quite cold in spite of all that fur.
By now, you may have heard that the north of Nagano Pref. including one of Japan’s premier ski destinations, Hakuba, was rocked by a 6.7 magnitude earthquake last night (11/23/2014). Details of the extent of the damage are still emmerging, but there were power outages, injuries, and some stoppage of train service to the area (at time of writing, the Oioto Line serving Matsumoto to Itoigawa had been halted). On a more positive note, all of the more than twenty people trapped under rubble were helped to safety by rescue teams. We are always grateful to these courageous men and women for their efforts.
Hakuba, of course is home to many superb ski areas and we sincerely hope that all its residents are safe!
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While human activity in Kamikochi is mostly going on winter hiatus now. We will continue to bring you news about and relating to the area. And, as always, remember to follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kamikochi
To all our loyal readers, keep safe and stay warm!
Sources of Information:
Kamikochi Gosenjaku Hotel website: http://www.gosenjaku.co.jp
Kamikochi Lemeiesta Hotel website: http://www.lemeiesta.com/