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.

ADVISORY: Typhoon 19 and its effects on Kamikochi

The following applies to the long weekend lasting from Saturday to the following Monday (2019/10/12-14).

Currently, Typhoon 19 is about to sweep across central Japan. Strong winds and heavy rain are expected from around midday Saturday (10/12) to late in the evening.

Beginning tomorrow around noon, the train service linking Matsumoto and Kamikochi will be suspended until further notice. They are expected to start operating the following morning, but at time of writing this can not be confirmed.

Regarding buses from Sawando to Kamikochi, no official announcement had been made at time of writing, but there is a high possibility that landslides or other effects of heavy rain could disrupt operations.

Hotels and lodges in central Kamikochi are expected to operate as normal this weekend.

Please exercise caution when traveling this weekend.

Highlighting Japan pays Tribute to Walter Weston in Recent Feature

The August 2019 issue of the Government of Japan-published “Highlighting Japan” magazine focuses on the country’s mountains and alpine culture. Of particular interest to our readers is the page 14 article on “The Father of Mountaineering in Japan,” Walter Weston. You can read the online text here: http://dwl.gov-online.go.jp/video/cao/dl/public_html/gov/book/hlj/20190801/html5.html#page=15

Weston (1860-1940), was an English clergyman hailing from Derbyshire. Very much in the vein of other Victorian polymaths, he excelled at a number of fields of endeavor, but is remembered primarily for his travel book, “Mountaineering and Exploration in Japan.” This colorful volume (whose title perfectly reflects its contents) helped introduce foreigners and Japanese alike to the wonders of recreational mountaineering in Japan and greatly enhanced the profile of hiking as a pastime. For anyone interested, Weston’s book can be read legally and free of charge here: http://dwl.gov-online.go.jp/video/cao/dl/public_html/gov/book/hlj/20190801/html5.html#page=15

We hope you enjoy “Highlighting Japan”‘s illuminating tribute to one Kamikochi’s great trailblazers.

Sources of Information:

Highlighting Japan homepage: https://www.gov-online.go.jp/eng/publicity/book/hlj/index.html

archive.org homepage: https://archive.org

Kamikochi Walk Rally 2019

The popular Kamikochi Walk Rally event will be held from May 7th to July 5th this season.

The rally involves hiking to various checkpoints in and around Kamikochi, including Nakanoyu/Taisho Pond, The Bus Terminal/Kappa Bridge, the Weston Relief, Moyjin, Tokusawa, and the Yokoo area.

Participants receive special stamps at each checkpoint and can also collect coveted items like discount coupons for use in the park.

This event is ideal for visitors of all ages and offers a chance to enjoy such sights as the snowy peaks of the Hotaka Range, the clear blue waters of the Azusa River, and the newly budding trees.