Hello everyone! Apologies for the irregularity of recent blog updates. It certainly hasn’t been for a lack of things to report as summer is a time of peak popularity here at Kamikochi. Part of the reason for this is that early to mid August overlaps with the Obon holiday, when many people are seeking to get away from the stifling heat of the city (even the alpine hub city of Matsumoto has been posting highs of 40 degrees lately!) Another reason is simply that midsummer is one of the times when nature is at its most vibrant and glorious around these parts. It is a time when lush green foliage forms a backdrop for colorful flowers and when the currents of the Azusa are as refreshing as a tall cold glass of water on a hot day.
As mentioned in previous entries, it is common to hear Japanese people speak with pride about how their country has four distinctive seasons. Being able to enjoy all of these seasons and their unique qualities in turn, is an important part of the Japanese identity. Similarly, in places like Kamikochi where the period of (relatively) hot summer weather is quite short, people try to get the most out of it while they can.
Here we see the Anaphalis margaritacea, or “Pearly Everlasting” as it is more commonly known, making a timely appearance in early August. You can recognize this flower by its distinctive white and yellow color:
And here we see the “Fireweed”–so named, not because of its fiery color, but because it can be seen to bloom soon after forest fires. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case with these ones. Because of its natural hardiness and ability to sprout in the wake of various calamities (even oil spills!), the Fireweed is often used as a means of recovering habitats:
If you scroll back to the top of this entry, you can also see a picture of a “Senjuganpi,” which does not have a name in English, but is related to another, better know flower called “Nadeshiko.” Does that name remind you of anything?
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My experiences hiking mountain ranges around Nagano have taught me that there are some people who stop to admire and/or photograph every interesting bit of plant life they see along the trail and others, like myself, who just keep pressing on toward higher ground. For most of us, admiring the flowers is just part of the larger experience of being in Kamikochi.
The rich blue skies, which deepen to azure above Kamikochi’s many famed mountain peaks are never more inviting that at present. With the summer rush now behind us, it’s a prefect time to visit and enjoy what remains of the summer. With cooler mornings and nights already hinting at the arrival of autumn next month, the days of warm weather are limited, but as with all such things, that’s part of what makes it special.
Remember to visit our Facebook page with and questions or comments you might have about Kamikochi: https://www.facebook.com/kamikochi
We hope you enjoy the rest of the summer!
Sources of Information:
The National Park Guide website: http://npg-alps.net/