A hearty hello to all our readers around the globe!
You’re probably wondering what the above photo portends. Actually, it was taken about a week ago by a Five Sense blogger and shows a still snowy Kamikochi as it looks in early to mid-March.
The photo is part of a series of snapshots that appeared in a recent blog post and which I will share presently.
Before that though, I have some important news regarding Kamikochi’s early opening on April 17th. Any long time devotee of this blog can tell you that this is the day when the park opens its gates to busloads of visitors clamoring for an early glimpse of their favorite spot.
But what exactly does this “early opening” entail? What services and facilities are available? Where can or can’t I walk on paths easily?
You’ve come to the right place reader.
Notes on April 2022 pre-opening:
Kamikochi’s now customary pre-openingis the opening of the park to the general public. It marks the end of the five month winter closure during which time the Kama Tunnel is closed to commercial traffic. The pre-opening differs from the official opening on April 27th by which time all facilities are scheduled to be up and running. More on that below.
As mentioned above, the pre-opening takes place every year on April 17th. In past years, this date was irregular, but more recently it has become fixed on the 17th. For information in English on bus routes, please visit the Alpico website via this link.
Over the week and a half that separates the pre-opening from the official opening on the 27th, some facilities are still being readied for visitors and remain closed.
So, what services are available?
Since various organizations serving Kamikochi have their own arrangements concerning what they make available from the 17th, we recommend checking their homepages for specific info. The details are just too numerous to list here. However, our friends in the Gosenjaku Group have provided a list of facilities in their organization opening on or around the 17th:
The Park Lodge Kamikochi: opens Sunday 4/17
Gosenjaku Hotel Kamikochi: opens Friday, 4/22
Gosenjaku Kitchen: opens Sunday 4/17
Kamikochi Omiyage (Souvenirs) 4/17
Please bear in mind that these are just a few of the many facilities which will be up and running from April 17th.
Five Sense are now taking reservations for their guided tours of Kamikochi. You can find information here: https://fivesense.guide/en/guide-en/
The staff would like to remind you that in some cases, popular routes may not be accessible during the early days of spring due to residual snowfall. In such cases, alternative routes may be substitued.
Judging by conditions in years past, The area between Kappa Bridge and Myoujin Pond where snowplows cannot enter, is likely to have some snow on the trails. On the topic of trails and snow, the easiest areas to traverse are those in central Kamikochi. The further you go away from the Kappa Bridge area, the more likely you are to encounter snowy patches requiring suitable boots–in some case even snowshoes–to traverse. It’s hard to say exactly what the situation will be like until just before opening.
This photo shows what the path along the left bank of the Azusa between Kappa Bridge and Myouji Pond looked like on 04/23/2021. It should be noted that the snow melted quite early last year:
Well, that’s all for the info-packed portion of this entry. Let’s move on to the pictures. As mentioned above, these were taken on March 3rd:
And with that, we conclude our peak inside the park. We hope the information proves useful.
Be sure to check out our coverage of the approaching 2022 season in the coming weeks. Just over a month to go!
Till next time, keep warm and be well.
Source of Information:
Nature Guide Five Sense Kamikochi blog: https://fivesense.guide/blog/column/32702/