Late Summer and the Shadow of Autumn

Looking up at Mt. Myojin from Myojin Bridge.


One peculiar aspect of Japan’s vaunted “four distinct seasons” is the suddenness with which one season can seemingly end and another begin. Right up until the Bon holiday, my suburban dwelling sustained day after day of intense heat and humidity. But come the weekend of August 16th, the weather was noticeably cooler. And was that a whiff of autumn I noticed in the air? No…I’ve just been duped once again by my local conbini’s decision to put out the “autumn exclusive” beer selection early.

To be fair, Kamikochi still gets some pretty warm days with highs often in the 24 degree Celsius range. You wouldn’t call that hot, but it’s warm enough for you to work up a sweat on the hiking trail. And with the Bon holiday now past, the park is no longer jam-packed with visitors.

A mandarin duck enjoying a bit of peace and quiet.


The next big spike in visitors will come in October in the buildup to the autumn foliage. You can find some info on this topic in this blog from a couple of years ago.

For now, let’s content ourselves with the fact that it’s not autumn yet. The summer rush is past and it’s a very nice time to visit, especially if your visit doesn’t overlap with typhoon activity in the area.

The Azusa River, which had recently gone a bit brown in the wake of heavy rains, has already reclaimed its crystal clear sheen.


With temperatures a tad cooler, you’ll feel a noticeable chill in the air when you emerge from your tent or cabin at the Konaishidaira Campground. Early risers can take a stroll to a nearby stream for a tranquil moment alone with nature:



Lastly, while temperatures may have cooled since mid-August, a lot of the common sense that applies to summer hiking will serve you well now:

  • Wear a hat and slap on some sunscreen to minimize the harmful effects of the sun.
  • Bring some rain gear along to ensure your comfort and safety.
  • Have a selection of clothes to suit sudden shifts in weather (ie. long sleeved shirt, light jacket, full length pants, etc.)

An oriental turtle dove comes out of hiding after sustained rainfall.

Well, that’s all for this week’s installment. Thanks as always to the Bloggers at Five sense for allowing us to use info and images from their wonderful Japanese language site.

And to all prospective visitors to Kamikochi, we hope you make it down for a visit during this more leisurely time of the season.

Enjoy your week!

Sources of Information

Nature Guide: Five Sense Kamikochi blog: