Thousands Gather to Celebrate the “Kaizansai” Opening Ceremony

Conditions could not have been better as some three thousand visitors gathered to celebrate the start of Kamikochi’s 2015 spring season.  The skies were blue and snow-capped mountains loomed commandingly on the horizon with those in attendance observing a ceremony offering paryers for safe passage in the coming season.  Such culturally diverse displays as an Alpen horn performance ans Shishi dances added to a festive atmosphere and fun was had by all.


Ancient Traditions at the Heart of the Event


A core element of the “Kaizansai” is a Shinto ceremony beseeching the gods for safe passage through the mountains.  Whether or not you have seen such ceremonies before, it always strikes one as both solemn and quietly powerful.  The priests themselves preside over regular devotions at the “Oku-Miya” branch of the Hotaka Shrine located near Myojin Pond.


Another familiar element of the festival proceedings is the Alpen horn performance that serves as a reminder of the international background of Japan’s mountaineering history, with figures like Walter Weston, Hannes Schneider, and William Gowland all doing their part to make mountain recreation a popular passtime in Japan.


With a wonderful spell of almost summery weather now gracing Nagano, Kamikochi has been a bit warmer than usual this year.  It won’t last forever, but expect clear skies and higher-than-yearly-average temperatures at least until next Tuesday.


Open for Business!


If you’re up for hearing even more good news, all of Kamikochi’s major hotels and huts are now up and running, providing weary travelers with a cozy place to lay their heads.  If you are planning a trip and looking for information on how to secure lodgins, please consult this popular entry from a few years ago: And, for info on how to save up to 10% on accommodations, have a look at this link from our homepage:


We’re now rolling into what promises to be a busy Golden Week with visitors from around Japan and abroad cueing up for a taste of the Kamikochi experience.  Keep an eye on this page for regular updates on the subject.


Take care and hike safely!


Sources of Information:


Shirakabaso website:


National Park Guide website:


Taishoike website: