Bright and Breezy Days Greet the 71st Annual Weston Festival

The oft-visited Weston Relief is just a short walk from Kappa Bridge.

Though Japanese at heart, Kamikochi has a history of alpine sport that is closely tied to European mountaineers of the 19th century.  One such man was the English missionary, educator, and adventurer Walter Weston whose love of hiking in the Japan Alps would spread across the nation and eventually around the world.  As such, it’s altogether fitting that we honor his contribution to hiking and climbing in Japan, a tradition which has brought joy and satisfaction to generations of hikers of all descriptions.

This past weekend saw a large crowd gathering at the Weston Relief in the central area of Kamikochi to attend the annual ceremony in honor of Weston’s achievements.   Featured activities included wreath-laying and some live music performances.  It was an occasion both solemn and boisterous, framed by some of the best scenery you could ask for.

Clear skies meant that the mountaintops were visible in all their glory with the famed Hotaka peaks still sporting large patches of spring snow. As part of the same extended panorama, the peaks of Roppyaku-san and the surrounding mountains line the horizon like a primordial saw-blade, rough-hewn and regal.  The sight of the Azusa River flowing by in the foreground completes the picture with its waters deriving in part from streams and melted snow from the mountains.

As for the weather alluded to in this post’s title, please be aware that a recent spell of cooler temperatures has made for chilly air in from evening to morning.  Fleeces and windbreakers are highly desirable items at the moment, especially if you plan on spending the night.  And for anyone who plans to camp, make sure that you are equipped to weather some cold early spring conditions overnight.

Tranquil river scenes like this are a highlight of any stroll.

Duck Amok: a moistened mallard cleans its feathers after a productive foraging session.

As always, we’d like to say a big thanks to the bloggers at NPG from whose Kamikochi posts these photographs were taken.  Inspiring stuff!

Sources of Information:

National Park Guide Kamikochi blog: ; ; and