Kamikochi in April: Comparing the Last 10 years

A hearty hello to all of our readers around the world,

With just 20 days left until the 2022 opening of Kamikochi, a few of you are probably wondering what to expect from the early spring season. That’s why we’ve put together the following helpful review of Kamikochi as it has looked in April over the past ten years. When I say “put together,” I should clarify that we’ve taken the content from the always superb Five Sense blog and translated it into English.

As you peruse the following photos, take note of how widely conditions can vary from year to year. Wintery conditions are not uncommon, but neither are more spring-like ones. Now, without further ado…

April 10th, 2012

2012: the year a plucky young writer named William Habington began to post blogs about Kamikochi on an earlier version of this site.

Here’s a scene from the Konashidaira Camping Area showing a picnic table partially submerged in snow. Elsewhere, the accumulated snow was not notably deep. One tipoff is the sight of bamboo grass protruding from shallower snow in the background.

April 12th, 2013

Here we see little in the way of accumulated snow. This is due to the brisk winds blowing by the riverside and causing it to disperse. Under these conditions, a little exposure to sunlight will quickly melt the shallow, residual snow.

April 10th, 2014

2014. Seems like 100 years ago, eh? In truth, it was only eight years ago and saw very little in the way of residual snow. Despite heavy snowfall that winter, an unusually warm spring resulted in a rapid thaw.

April 11th, 2015

The water seen here was the result of rapid melting caused by rainfall. Snow continued to fall sporadically after the picture was taken, but didn’t stick around long.

April 9th, 2016

Can you Adam and Eve it? Continuing the trend of warmer springs and less snow, 2016 saw the area around Kappa Bridge with virutally none of the white stuff on display. No snow meant that the anemones so famously associated with early spring started blooming well ahead of schedule.

And then this happened…

April 11th, 2017

Boy howdy, what a difference a year can make. April of 2017 was very snowy, though the Japanese macaque pictured here seems unfazed.

April 10th, 2018

As this calming scene shows, there was enough snow to maintain a familiar early-sprig-in-the-cusp-of-winter ambience that many regard as a sweet spot, back in 2018.

April 11th, 2019

Mixed messages here. On the one hand, we’re reliably informed that the thaw happened early in 2019. On the other hand, there was an ample dump of new snow in the early days of April, hence the winter wonderland you see above.

Spring, 2020

Nope. COVID cancelled spring 2020.

April 10th, 2021

And finally, this was the scene in April 2021. While the opening saw little in the way of snow, a blizzard over Golden Week briefly reversed this trend in dramatic fashion.

And there you have it. We hope that this review of the past decade in Kamikochi has been as educational for you as it was for us. Thanks again to the brilliant bloggers at Five Sense for the inspiration behind the original post.

Be sure to join us again next time for our preview of the 2022 season. Till then, keep warm and stay safe!

Source of Information:

Nature Guide Five Sense, Kamikochi blog: https://fivesense.guide/blog/column/32833/#