Hello again to all of our stalwart followers around the world! As we saunter into the festive season, snow is in the forecast for Nagano this weekend. Up the road in Kamikochi, of course, snowy scenes are already the norm. What better way to while away tedious hours that lie between now and the park’s reopening in April, than by recapping the 2021 season. This week, we bring you the second installment of our retrospective, thanks in large part to the efforts of the bloggers at Five Sense. So big props to them as always.
And now, without further ado…
The above picture of the Tahsiro March tells a familiar tale: early August was its usual idyllic self with 25 degree days offering pleasant respite from summer heat as in years past. The days fluttered by at a breezy pace as crowds somewhat diminished by the COVID effect came and went. Now what rhymes with “flutter by…?”
As long as the weather behaved itself, the park was graced with its usual menagerie of winged beauties of the avian and lepidopteran varieties. Come August 13th, however…
Now, I myself have never been fond of sequels and RAINY SEASON 2 landed with all the unwanted bluster of a Michael Bay Transformers opus. In keeping with safety guidelines, the park was closed for the second time in the season. Among the more newsworthy outcomes of the rain and flooding was damage sustained by the Tagawa bridge, which resulted in disruptions to the train service linking Matsumoto and Kamikochi. 大変!
September saw warmer than average temperatures in Kamikochi with morning lows around 9 degrees Celsius and highs ranging from 10 to 15. The usual fleeces gave way to light jackets as visitors enjoyed scenic morning strolls in relative comfort. The onset of the autumn foliage was also later than in seasons past.
The above photo shows the Hotaka peaks as viewed from Tashiro Marsh, while the one below shows the fruit of the viburnum sarggentii:
October saw a sudden drop in temperature with frost covering Kappa Bridge as early as October 3rd. It was only the second time in 15 years that first frost had fallen in October rather than September. Visitors awoke to 5 degree mornings as the brisk autumn air invited the foliage on.
By October 20th, first snow had fallen in Kamikochi as seen in the below picture of Kappa Bridge:
The late arrival of autumn foliage meant that the peak period normally seen in late October spilled over into early November. While it may have taken longer than usual, patient visitors were eventually rewarded with the sight of fiery maples and mellow yellow larches:
And just as all things come to those who wait, all good things come to an end. Winter arrived at length, driving fallen leaves before it in a flurry of cold and whirling snow.
Kamikochi is off for a well-earned winter rest now, but join us again next season as we welcome the Spring opening in April.
In the meantime, we’ll be keeping the fire burning with occasional updates, archived posts and whatever else we can find to throw at you.
Thank you all for your support in 2021, we hope the new year passes agreeably and that you continue to follow us in 2021.
Till then, keep warm and stay safe!
Sources of Information:
Nature Guide Five Sense Kamikochi blog: https://fivesense.guide/blog/column/32173/