Sun Moon Stars Rain

Nagano Prefecture was battered by rain yesterday, reminding us of how suddenly fine weather can change to foul.  From the lowest valleys to the highest peaks, lashings of increasingly heavy rainfall swelled the rivers and soaked the foliage.  And while the next two days call for a mix of sun and cloud (subject to change), you’ll want to keep that rain gear handy.

Turns out “rainy season” wasn’t just a clever name…

Cloudy skies around Kappa Bridge. (Hotaka peaks partly visible on the horizon).

If you do manage a trip at this time of year, however, there is plenty of seasonal flora to enjoy, including the rhododendron seen here:

There’s something decidedly summery about orange blooms framed by green leaves.

These beauties were spotted in the Taisho Pond area, famous for the mirror like sheen of the pond itself and the photo-friendly way it reflects Mouth Yake and other nearby peaks.

Mount Yake against a clear blue sky.

Walking through the thick foliage near Taisho affords brief but tantalizing glimpses at the mountaintops.

The cool, clear waters of Shimizu River.

Thank you to the folks at NPG for making me aware of one of Kamikochi’s less heralded pastimes: swallow-watching at the main bus terminal:

Hey little guys!

So to summarize, we’re still getting a mix of sun and rain these days.  Weather forecasts, while certainly useful, are not to be trusted completely when planning a trip to the mountains, so please make all of the necessary preparations and plan your trip carefully.

As always, we’ve used photos and info from the National Park Guide’s Kamikochi blog.  Give it a look even if you don’t read Japanese.  It’s easily one of the best sources for up to date images out there!

Sources of Information:

National Park Guide Kamikochi blog: ; ; and