Green is the Colour: “Shinryoku” in Kamikochi

A pleasant riverside scene made more vibrant by the gradual appearance of green on the trees.

A hearty hello to all our loyal readers on this fine Tuesday afternoon.  With winter now gradually receding into the warmer seasons, Kamikochi is beginning to show signs of 新緑 or the “new green” characteristic of mid spring.  Along with rising temperatures and green foliage, we can also enjoy the sight of a wide variety of plant and animal life between now and the onset of the rainy season in June.

Once again, we turn to the always dependable folks at the NPG website for up to date info and images from the front lines of Kamikochi’s spring season.  Enjoy!

Takanezakura, an alpine variation on the popular cherry blossom trees enjoyed earlier in the season.

We start with takanezakura (above) a surefire sign of spring and the perfect antidote to having missed the first round of cherry blossom viewing in April.

Fuki may now be seen flowering in and around Kamikochi’s wetlands.

The humble fuki, also known as “bog rhubarb” and “giant butterbur” is a  common site around wetlands.  Long used in herbal medicine for treatment of migraines, it actually contains toxins harmful to the liver.  This is all academic, of course, as visitors are forbidden from eating anything growing out of the ground in Kamikochi.  Genius bonus for being able to tell the male from the female.  (Hint: the male’s a bit yellower).

Anemone flaccida

Amid the burgeoning sea of green, small patches of white appear in the form of “nirinsou” or Anemone flaccida, now visible around Kamikochi.  To those familiar with the area, this decidedly low key flower is celebrated as a sign that spring weather has arrived.


Narcissus flycatcher

Birdwatchers will also rejoice at the site of the Narcissus flycatcher (much more balanced than the name implies), its bright plumage resplendent against leafy backdrops.

A mallard on the hunt for algae.

Not wishing to be left out, our mallard buddy from last time is back and enjoying feeding time in Shimizu River.  This close-up gives you a good view of his luminous plumage which, true to the old adage of “water off a duck’s back,” is exquisitely shaped by evolution to repel water.

Lastly, we see a Japanese Larch tree awaking from it’s denuded winter state.  It’ll only get better from here.

Thanks again to the hard-working bloggers at the National Park Guide website.  You folks are the heart and soul of Kamikochi’s online presence and we look forward to reading your posts in the years to come.

Sources of Information:

National Park Guide Kamikochi blog: ; ; and