Latest Updates on Access to Kamikochi (2020/07/16)

 

Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening to all of our readers.

Today, we’re sharing the latest in a series of updates on the topic of access to Kamikochi. As you probably know, heavy rains have been falling steadily over the past week and a half resulting in disruptions to transportation.

Please note the following:

  • Currently, due to construction efforts to restore Route 158, the road will only be open to traffic during certain times of day.
  • From 07/18, Route 158 will only be open between 7:30 am and 7:00 pm and cars travelling in opposing directions having to take turns using the one open lane in some places, potentially causing delays.
  • From 07/21, the road will be open all hours, albeit with the above-mentioned system of alternating single lane traffic.
  • The Sawaya Shinshu bus providing a direct link to Kamikochi and the urban departure points of Shibuya, Shinjuku, Osaka, Kyoto (via Nagano), will remain out of service until at least 07/21. Resumption of service is planned for 07/22 if circumstances are favorable by then.
  • Regarding access to Kamikochi from Takayama/Hirayu, the fact that large vehicles like buses cannot pass through certain sections of road means that the shuttle buses normally departing from Akandana Parking Area will be out of service until further notice.

General details about access may be viewed on this site’s Getting Here page.

Sources of Information:

Kamikochi’s official Japanese language site: https://www.kamikochi.or.jp/info/view/152

Image courtesy of Nature Guide: Five Sense Kamikochi

 

Updates on Bus Schedules as Kama Tunnel Reopens

Hello to all of our readers.

We know that some of you have been concerned about Kamikochi in light of last week’s heavy rainfall and ensuing closure of the Kama Tunnel due to landslide activity.

Yesterday, our friends at Five Sense posted a very helpful explanation of the resumption of bus service this week. Please bear in mind that this information is dated July 13th and that further changes could occur depending on weather conditions and factors relating to the debris clearing operation on Route 158.

Currently, this is how things stand:

Wednesday, 07/15:

Sinshimashima –> Kamikochi route bus: Six buses running both to and from Kamikochi on a special schedule.

Sawando –> Kamikochi shuttle bus: No service. Please take the route bus from Shinshimashima instead.

Taxi: Only travels to the entrance of the Kama Tunnel. Service from 7:30 to 19:00.

Thursday and Friday 07/16-17:

Sinshimashima –> Kamikochi route bus: three buses to Kamikochi (7:15/8:40/14:15) and two buses back to Shinshimashima (9:30/16:00)

Sawando –> Kamikochi shuttle bus: No service.

Taxi: Only travels to the entrance of the Kama Tunnel. Service from 7:30 to 19:00.

【タクシー】中の湯(釜トンネル前)7:30~19:00のみ通行可

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, 07/18-20:

Shinshimashima –> Kamikochi route bus: Running on a special schedule, from 7:15.

Sawando –> Kamikochi shuttle bus: Running on a special schedule from 7:30.

Taxi: Only travels to the entrance of the Kama Tunnel. Service from 7:30 to 19:00.

Tuesday 07/21 onward: 

Shinshimashima –> Kamikochi route bus: Running on the usual schedule.

Sawando –> Kamikochi shuttle bus: Running on the usual schedule.

Taxi: Kama Tunnel gate open, operating on summer hours (5:00-20:00)

Takayama/Hirayu –> Kamikochi:

We don’t have access to this information yet, but will share it once it’s become available to us.

Source of Information:

Nature Guide: Five Sense Kamikochi blog: https://fivesense.guide/blog/fivesense-info/27859/

Stranded Visitors Return Safely, but No Date Given for 158 Reopening

Hello to all of our readers in Japan and around the world.

We reported on Wednesday that some 300 people had been left stranded inside Kamikochi due to landlsides blocking the mouth of the Kama Tunnel. That number included both visitors to the park and various staff and other personnel.

We are relieved to announce that all 30 stranded visitors were able to leave the park on foot yesterday with the assistance of Matsumoto civic government employees.

At time of writing, there has been no announcement about when Route 158–now blocked by landslide debris–will be reopened. This means that Kamikochi will be unaccessible to travelers until further notice.

In more positive news, the train lines which had been disrupted by heavy rainfall in mid-week have are now resuming full service.

Source of Information:

Bing News (with video from FNN Prime Online): https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/7c3ca59a159dfaf3a993a95feef3afc74a323630

 

UPDATE: Relief Efforts Underway as 300 Stranded in Kamikochi

As reported earlier today, numerous landslides along Route 158, running between Matsuomoto and Kamikochi, have temporarily blocked access to the park.

It has since emmerged, through information released by the Mastumoto Construction Office and reported in the media, that around 300 travellers and staff have been stranded inside the park due to the Kama Tunnel being blocked. The travellers are understood to be lodging at accommodations within Kamikochi with access to several days worth of food. No injuries have been reported at this time.

Photographs of the scene as it looked in the early morning may seen here on NHK’s news homepage.

A special meeting was convened today in Matsumoto to address the situation and relay reports to the public. Several goverment bodies are now working together to release detailed information as well as to mobilize personnel to clear the blocked portions of Route 158.

We will continue to monitor this situation and provide updated information as it becomes available to us.

Source of Information:

NHK News homepage: https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20200708/k10012503811000.html

Kamikochi Temporarily Closed Due to Heavy Rainfall

Hello to all our readers.

As I write, record-breaking rainfalls are causing emmergency situations throughout south and central Japan. Many of you will already be aware of the situation in Kyushu where flooding and other perils have already claimed many lives.

Until yesterday, the situation in Nagano had been more stable with the prefecture receiving relatively light rainfall. However, Kamikochi received over 100mm of rain and was declared temporarily closed as of 17:00 yesterday (2020/07/07). More specifically, the Kama Tunnel which grants access to the park is currently closed to traffic.

We are monitoring the situation and will post an announcement when the closure is lifted.

Additionally, as of 6am this morning (2020/07/08), special weather alerts have been issued for Gifu and Nagano Prefectures. Authorities warn of the possibility of landslides, flooding, and rivers overflowing.

Areas earmarked for special caution include Hida City. Takayama City, Cujo City, Gero City, Nakatsugawa City, and Ena City.

Please note that the afformentioned areas are in all in Gifu, with some near the Nagano border.

We urge anyone in the area or considering travel to exercise utmost caution to ensure your own safety.

Sources of Information:

Nature Guide Five Sense: Kamikochi blog: https://fivesense.guide/blog/fivesense-info/27786/

MSN News

 

 

 

Important Updates on Buses, Businesses, and Facilities at Kamikochi (2020/06/01)
Photo courtesy of Nature Guide: Five Sense, Kamikochi blog

Greetings to our many loyal readers. The following represents the latest news on transportation, accommodations, and other facilities as of June 1st, 2020:

Latest News in Brief:

・From June 1st, buses travelling along the Shinshimashima > Sawando > Kamikochi route are running on a special schedule of six per day.

・The Nohi buses traveling along the Takayama > Hirayu > Kamikochi route are running on a special schedule of eight per day.

・The Sawando Municipal Parking Area, which had been closed up to this point has reopened. However, the shuttle bus normally serving the area has yet to resume service meaning that route buses (mentioned above) and taxis provide access to Kamikochi at this time.

・At time of writing (2020/06/01), three of the hotels serving Kamikochi were open for business: The Taisho-ike Hotel, The Shirakabaso Hotel, and the Gosenjaku Hotel. Other businesses are expected to open in large numbers from the beginning of July.

・Prospective visitors should also be aware that there has been significant seismic activity in and around Kamikochi of late, with earthquakes being cited as a cause for recent landslides. Please exercise due caution.

Due to safety issues regarding hiking including those related to the coronavirus crisis, recreational hiking and climbing in the mountains are now strictly forbidden and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Mountains huts will be closed until mid-July at the earliest. Campgrounds are also closed until mid-July. One exception to this is the Tokusawa Camping Area which is open, albeit without the usual rental and food services.

Other News:

Please be aware that the direct bus service to Kamikochi (or Sawayaka Shinshu bus described here: https://www.kamikochi.org/plan/access#transport ) will be suspending service until 2020/07/21, resuming the following day, Wednesday 2020/07/22.

Also regarding buses serving Kamikochi, Alpico Bus-lines have announced a change from the previous numbered ticket (“seiri-ken”) system to a reserved ticket system. Detailed  information may be viewed here in Japanese, though an English translation is also planned for the near future: https://www.alpico.co.jp/traffic/news/154/

From April 16th onward, you may reserve tickets either at the ticket window, on arriving at Kamikochi, or online at the following site: https://japanbusonline.com/en

Thank you for time time. We’ll be back with further updates as they become known to us.

(Photo courtesy of Nature Guide: Five Sense, Kamikochi blog).

 

Important Update: Openings for some Accommodations Delayed

To all of our readers,

Thank you for your patience and understanding during these difficult times.

The still unfolding situation with the coronavirus crisis in Japan makes it difficult to offer up to date information regularly.

We can now confirm that several businesses and services around Kamikochi will not be commencing on schedule.

These include the following Gosenjaku Group businesses:

  1. Gosenjaku Hotel Kamikochi (including the Lounge)
  2. The Parklodge Kamikochi
  3. Kamikochi no Omiyage (gift shop)
  4. Gosenjaku Kitchen
  5. FIVE SENSE (guide service)
  6. Trois Cinq Kamikochi

All of these establishments are currently scheduled to resume service on April 30th. Please be aware that this date is subject to change.

While not all Kamikochi accommodations have announced delays, several popular establishments, including The Imperial Hotel and Kamonji Goya plan to open on May 7th, after the end of the Golden Week holiday.

We realize that many of our readers have had to cancel travel plans to Japan due to the global crisis that now sadly demands all of our attention. That said, we encourage anyone who was planning a visit to review the latest information and travel safely.

Also, please address any questions or concerns you might have to our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kamikochi/

Best of luck to you and those close to you. Stay safe!

Source of Information:

Nature Guide Five Sense, Kamikochi blog: https://fivesense.guide/blog/fivesense-info/26676/

 

 

Important Updates Regarding Kamikochi’s 2020 Opening

Photo from the Nature Guide Five Sense Kamikochi blog.

 

To all our readers,

We have received the following official statement regarding Kamikochi’s 2020 opening and would like to share it with you:

“Kamikochi will officially open to the public on April 27th of this year, as usual.

The Kamikochi Kaizan-sai opening ceremony, enjoyed by many visitors in years past, will be cancelled this year due to measures being taken to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). In its place, a smaller ceremony involving only locals, will be held to offer prayers for safety in the coming year.

Please be aware that the Kama Tunnel, which grants access to the park via buses and taxis, will open as scheduled on April 17th. Bus services, hotels, ryokan, and mountain lodges are all currently expected to operate as normal.

To all prospective visitors who had been looking forward to the Kamikochi Kaizan-sai opening ceremony, we sincerely regret any inconvenience caused to you and greatly appreciate your understanding in this matter.”

 

We will return with further updates as they become available. Stay safe!

 

 

End of the 2019 season

Kamikochi Closing Ceremony had held on 15th of Nov. Thanks to all the funs of Kamikochi, There are so many people visited here same as usual year.

Update and Clarification Regarding Access to Kamikochi from Tokyo

Good evening.

It has come to our attention that some of our readers have cancelled travel plans based on some of our earlier posts regarding access to Kamikochi from Tokyo.

Please note the following updates:

  • The expressway between Tokyo and Matsumoto is now operating normally. That means that highway buses are also operating on their usual schedule.
  • Regarding trains, the JR Chuo Line is also operating, though the popular Azusa limited express is still out of service and expected to remain that way until the end of the month.

We wish you all safe and enjoyable travels.

Access Update: Azusa expected to resume service at end of October

Recent reports from JR East indicate that the Azusa and Super Azusa trains linking Matsumoto and Tokyo will remain out of service until October 31st. We realize that this poses an inconvenience to anyone hoping to access Matsumoto from Tokyo.

The Hokuriku Shikansen is now operating on a reduced schedule, due to some trains having become waterlogged during the flooding caused by Typhoon 19. Additionally, all train cars are now operating as “non-reserved” and Green Car bookings are not currently available. At time of writing, the segment of the route linking Nagano and Myoko was closed.

The news regarding Alpico highway buses remains unchanged from yesterday:

  1. All buses running between Shinjuku and Matsumoto are cancelled for today (2019/10/16)
  2. On Thursday, October 17th, the 4:20, 4:50, 5:20, and 6:20 buses have been cancelled with further cancellations also possible.
  3. All Sawayaka Shinshu buses linking Tokyo, Shibuya, and Shinjuku Station to Kamikochi have been cancelled for the 16th and 17th. Additionally, all Shibuya line buses have been cancelled for the 18th.

Please confirm the details of any reservations with train bus companies and travel safely.

Sources of Information:

Alpico homepage: https://www.alpico.co.jp/traffic/trafficinfo/

JR East: https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/ , and https://traininfo.jreast.co.jp/train_info/chyokyori.aspx

 

 

 

Latest Updates on bus and rail access to Matsumoto and Kamikochi

Our friends at the Visit Matsumoto website have posted the following update regarding public transportation facilities granting access to Matsumoto and surrounds: https://visitmatsumoto.com/en/info/access-tomatsumoto/

To summarize the content of their post:

As of Oct 14th, disruptions caused by to Typhoon Hagibis have led to the following cancellations:

  1. JR Super Express Azusa, Shinjuku to Matsumoto
  2. Highway buses linking Shinjuku and Matsumoto (due to highway closures)
  3. JR trains linking Nagano and Matsumoto

Currently, the following trains and buses have returned to almost normal levels of operation:

  1. Buses and trains linking Matsumoto and Nagoya.
  2. Buses operating withing Matsumoto
  3. Buses linking Matsumoto, Kamikochi and Takayama.

Those currently in Tokyo can take the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Nagano City and then travel to Matsumoto by highway bus from Nagano Station.

Most hotels, shops, and other facilities in Matsumoto, including Matsumoto Castle are open as usual.

Thanks again to Visit Mastumoto for providing this valuable information.