Today I was reminded that how you experience the seasons is often more a matter of “where” than “when.” Leaving my Matsumoto apartment on the way to work, I found myself wishing I’d been wearing shorts. After a long spell of torrential rain and some cancelled flood warnings yesterday, the morning was welcoming me with summery heat.
Not so in Kamikochi…
As of last Friday, the temperature had dropped to 4℃ in the morning, later rising to 19℃ to mark a 15 degree difference in temperature between early morning and midday. This morning, however, the temprature at Kappa Bridge dropped all the way to 1℃ and a 5mm sheen of frost appeared on wooden surfaces: cold to the touch and a clear sign of the cold weather to come.
Visitors to the park will want to be aware of this development for two reasons. First, it marks the beginning of true autumn weather and also the arrival of one of the most celebrated times of year at Kamikochi, during which the autumn foliage explodes into brilliant color. Soon, rich panoply of red and gold will adorn the park until winter snows arrive to end the season in November.
On a more serious note, it’s also a time when dressing appropriately becomes crucial to enjoying your time at the park, as the gap between morning/nightime lows and midday highs becomes wider (an almost 20 degree difference this morning!) This is especially important for those heading for higher altitudes and even more so for those planning on camping up there. As the weather grows colder, you will want to pack thermals, fleeces, and warm outerwear as well as the always-essential rain gear.
For those who wish to get the most out of Kamikochi, a new season is definitely upon us. A time to enjoy bracing mountain air and and wide vistas painted in bold autumn hues. We should be seeing the start of the peak period in a short time now. But every day is a good day in Kamikochi while the weather holds. Just make sure to check the forecast and plan accordingly.
And, as always, please feel free to visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/kamikochi and leave and questions or comments you might have.
Sources of Information:
National Park Guide Website: http://npg-alps.net
Shirakaba-so Website: http://shirakabaso.com
Gosenjaku Website: http://www.gosenjaku.co.jp