Winter Looms with Only a Few Days Left till Closing

On this road

where no one else travels
autumn nightfall

 –Matsuo Basho


We’ve had a good run this year and no one could deny it.  After a beautiful spring and spectacular summer, came an unusually bright and warm autumn.  Time after time, it appeared to be ending with occasional cold and rainy spells, but always the sun and warmth would return to grant us a few more moments with Kamikochi’s golden season.   Nothing lasts forever though and, as I write, there are only three full days left until the park’s official closing on the 15th.  For the casual visitor, this will be the last chance to celebrate the 2013 season before winter swoops in to cover it all in lustrous white snow.



We’ve been seeing some interesting things around the park of late, including the unusual sight of fully-ripened konashi (the fruit seen in the picture below on tree branches).  Usually, the monkeys eat them all before they have the chance to ripen, but this year it would appear the monkeys have been getting take-out as they have left the fruit alone.



Actually, it would seem the mischievous monkeys have been leaving the Kappa Bridge area alone because of an unsual abundance of accorns  elsewhere in the park.  Not that anyone’s complaining…


As sad as we may feel about saying goodbye to autumn, recent visitors to the park have been reporting some really stunning sights, including otherwise bare branches and vestigal plantlife being given a crystaline coating by morning frost.  Have a look at some of the pictures recently snapped by local bloggers:


河原の木の霜  木の霜2


This picture, taken somewhere near the Shimizu-ya Hotel by one Okuhara-san, shows something unique to this time of year: the morning frost on the trees being inluminated by early morning sunlight to create an almost dreamlike luminescence on the branches.  Watch out for Barrow Wights!


And of course, light dustings of snow have given the mountaintops a dramatic makeover, as seen in past weeks.



Aa night falls, clear skies also make for beautiful sunsets and impressive stascapes:



We’ll be posting in the near future with news about the closing ceremony on the 15th.  In the meantime, be sure to take advantage of these last few days of easy accessibility in Kamikochi.  The clock is ticking on 2013.  Bundle up for the cold and make time for a trip down!


Sources of Information:


National Park Guide website:


Shimizu-ya Hotel website:


Kamikochi Gosenjaku Group website: