With just one week left until Kamikochi ‘s official opening this Saturday, the Kama Tunnel opened up to tour buses and other forms of public transit on Friday the 19th. It will be a few days until eveything in the park is up and running, but some hotels and shops are already welcoming the first wave of visitors in what promises to be another incredible season here.
There’s just one thing…
…it’s cold. Quite cold, in fact. Even in nearby Matsumoto, temperatures over the weekend hovered around zero with a surpise snowfall on Saturday night covering the last remnants of cherry blossoms on the trees. This was a bit of a shock to residents who’d experienced highs of above 20 degrees centigrade the week before.
Up at a higher elevation, Kamikochi was naturally even colder with morning lows of around minus 6 on Friday and even lower temperatures to follow over the weekend.
Of course, this is the result of a brief cold spell. At more temperate times, April temperatures range between 0 and 15 degrees. Hopefully, the weather will have warmed up a bit for Saturday’s official opening.
On the bright side, early spring is the one time year when visitors can enjoy a mix of spring warmth and winter scenery. Fresh snowfall in the alps means a more lustrous blanket of snow on the mountain tops. That’s something to get excited about! Remember to pack plenty of warm clothes, including weather resistant gear (winter jackets work quite well) and warm fleeces and thermals, as well as sturdy footwear. That means good hiking boots if you have them. Sneakers will be OK in some places, such as the path between Kappa Bridge and Tashiro Bridge, but in other places there will be enough snow to make your feet wet if you don’t have boots or sturdy walking shoes. This is true of the path linking Tashiro to Taisho Pond, so be mindful of where you step. Soggy feet can dampen your spirits–pun intended–on an otherwise enjoyable day.
Needless to say, we’re all looking forward to the 2013 season getting into full swing. As always, checking weather reports will help you get the best out of your visit to Kamikochi, and knowing what to bring with you will ensure you have a comfortable time.
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We’ll be back with more up to date coverage on Kamikochi’s 2013 opening later in the week, but in the meantime get planning and pack your bags for an early spring visit.
Sources of Information:
National Park Guide Website: http://npg-alps.net
Kamikochi Gosenjaku Group Website: http://www.gosenjaku.co.jp
National Parks Foundation Website: http://www.bes.or.jp