Cool Days and Starry Nights

A hearty hello to all of our loyal readers around the globe!

At last, the long and swelteringly hot summer of 2023 is coming to a close in cities across Japan. Even the comparitively cool Nagano Prefecture saw daily highs of around 30 degrees celsius day after day well into mid-Spetember.

Kamikochi of course started to enjoy cooler temperatures much earlier with chilly mornings now the norm. A morning hike down to Taisho Pond will reward you with a view like this one, with mists swirling up from the water’s surface to create a perfect sense of tranquility:

And with summer heat and crowds now a thing of the past, Kamikochi is now a prime destination for stargazing. The Milky Way, known in Japanese as 天の川 (ama no kawa, or the “River of Heaven”9, can be seen on clear nights. Thanks to Five Sense guide and blogger Jun for sharing this photo:

An speaking of celestial matters, here’s what the super moon (2023/9/1) looked like refected in the Dakesawa Marsh:

September in a unique time in Kamikochi, sandwiched between the peak periods of summer vacation and autumn foliage season, it may get overlooked by prospective visitors. And that’s a shame, because September offers a more relaxed version of the Kamikochi experience with clearer skies that the summertime and a fraction of the crowds that mob the trails in autumn.

But there is one thing you should defintely remember about morning strolls on the largely empty trails of September:

Advisory: Bears

Yes, there are bears about, and not the amiable kind content on swiping your picnic basket and delivering an Art Carney-style one liner. No, these are Japanese black bears which, despite their compact size are very dangerous. It’s customary in Japan to put a bell on your gear to firghten off any would be furry assailants. Just ask for a kuma-yoke-suzu (bear repelling chime) at any outdoor shop in Japan. In addition to their obvious functionality, these bells can be quite stylish and make nice souvernirs of your time in the mountains.

And on that cautionary note, we conclude this week’s post. We wish all prospective visitors a safe and enjoyable visit!

Source of Information:

Nature Guide Five Sense Kamikochi blog: