While temperatures in nearby cities raise to around 30 degrees Centigrade, Kamikochi is still in the midst of springtime, a period that sees the arrival of 新録 (shinroku) or “new green.” The Japanese are very particular about their country’s four distinctive seasons and their distinctive characteristics. And that’s exactly why vistors to the area may now be lucky enough to experience multiple seasons in a single day. To travel from Matsumoto to Kamikochi on a day like this would take you from early summer to mid-spring (where traces of cherry blossoms might even still remain).
With rainy weather expected later this week, the past few days have been an ideal time to experience the peak of the “shinroku” season. Just ask these furry tricksters here:
“What’re you lookin’ at?”
On the topic of monkies…
One enduring source of appeal for visitors to the Japan Alps is the unique character of some of the animals found here. The Japanese macaque (macaca fucata, or snow monkey) is a particular favorite among foreign tourists and easy enough to spot around Kamikochi. Beware though, as these primates also have the unofficial designation of simius impudens, or “cheeky monkeys.” If not treated with respect, they can be a dangerous nuisance to unwary hikers who cross their paths. Detailed info on this topic may be found here: https://www.kamikochi.org/blogs/169-monkey-control-patrols-are-in-effect.html
In fairness though, the monkeys are just being monkeys. It is we who are intruding on their habitat, so let’s show them some respect and give them some space.
The past week has been a mixed bag weather-wise, with rainy periods being followed by pitch perfect spring weather and noontime temperatures a little on the hot side. Don’t be fooled though, it still gets cold at night and remains that way till mid-morning so remember to pack jackets and thermals.
From a walkway near the Konashidaira Camp Site.
“Shiurizakura,” a blossoming tree which will be in full bloom in a couple of weeks.
Mount Myojin with the Azusa River in the foreground.
The “nirinsou” wildflowers are at their peak!
The Hotaka Range viewed from Taisho Pond.
The picture above was take yesterday and should give you and impression of conditions on fine days: warm with blue skies and ample greenery (but, see below).
Experts are now noticing a gradual change from spring flowers to early summer vegitation around Kamikochi. So, despite all that I’ve said about spring being at its peak here, we’re beginning the slow transition toward the warmer days of summer.
I might also add that the past couple of days have been “the calm before the storm” as it were. Current forecasts call for rainstorms later this week and that means you’ll want to keep an eye on the weather when you’re planning your trip and always include rainwear among your gear if you’re planning on doing any hiking. Remember, an awareness of the weather isn’t just a matter of comfort and convenience. When you’re in the mountains, lightning and heavy rain can also pose a very real danger, so don’t take any risks!
Rain or shine, we wish you all safe and happy travels this spring and summer. If you have any questions or comments about Kamikochi or any related topics, please don’t hesitate to post them on our Facebook wall: https://www.facebook.com/kamikochi
Sources of Information:
National Park Guide website: http://npg-alps.net
Kamikochi Taishoike Hotel website: http://www.taisyoike.co.jp
Kamikochi Hotel Shirakabaso Website: http://shirakabaso.com