Savoring Summer Nights in Kamikochi

lente lente currite noctis equi

Ovid, “Amore”

Writing over a thousand years ago, the Heian Era author and court lady, Sei Shonagon, once said “Summer is night time,” (implicitly, “night time is the best thing about summer”).  While fans of the summer sun might take issue with this statement, one can definitely appreciate the poetic truth of her words when enjoying tranquil, starry nights in Kamikochi this summer. 


The high altitude and absence of “light pollution” from cities combine to give us some of the more spectacular night time views in mainland Japan–a jaw-dropping spectacle for those used to starless Tokyo nights.  It’s also yet another excellent reason to spend the night in Kamikochi, either by camping or staying at one of the many hotels and lodges serving the park.

Thanks to Kubota-san and the Taishoike Hotel for this wonderful photograph.

Currently, it may also be possible to see the meteor shower known as the Perseids, so-named because it appears to come from the direction of the constellation, Perseus (  Though we are now past the peak of Peseids activity on the 13th of this month, some shooting stars may still be visible as shown in this wonderful shot from the Shimizuya Hotel:



And here again:



In this picture, ghostly silhouettes of mountain peaks provide a suitably grand backdrop to the celestial fireworks above:



Clear skies also allow for spectacular star trail photography.  If you have the desire, the patience, and hopefully the right equipment to pursue this hobby, Kamikochi is a fine place to do it.  Read more about star trails in this Wikipedia article:


While tranquil nights and starry skies can be enjoyed at any time of year in Kamikochi, the relative warmth of summer–nights can get quite cold during other seasons–means there’s no time like the present, especially with recent reports of a rare blue moon visible this month.


As mentioned above, being able to enjoy night time in the park is one of many reasons to stay overnight in Kamikochi.  For those of you who still don’t know, a 10% discount on the cost of a stay at one of nine participating hotels is available through the SHK homepage, simply by following the instructions provided in this link:


In short, summer nights in Kamikochi are simply magical and potentially the perfect end to a long, satisfying day spent enjoying nature.  Join us for what will likely be one of the summer highlights of 2013!


Sources of Information:


Taishoike Hotel website:

Shimizuya Hotel website: