Life on the River in Early May

Just two weeks ago, Kamikochi’s 2017 season opened with a bang when the Kaizansai was held amid the usual blustery conditions.  The crowds in attendance were well up for it, with their enthusiasm adding to an already boisterous celebration.

The weeks that followed have seen a gradual return of warmer temperatures with some simply delightful sunny days along the way.  Fittingly for spring, signs of animal life are everywhere.  Monkeys, migratory birds, and waterfowl have all taken their place in Kamikochi’s spring menagerie and are especially visible in and around the Shimizu River. As is so often the case, we have drawn materials from this post from the National Park Guide’s Kamikochi blog.  Kudos for the bloggers for making it out to snap so many vibrant pictures of the new season.  From what we can see, it’s looking great!

This snow monkey was spotted near Shimizu Bridge, quite oblivious to the passersby below.  Kamikochi’s monkeys will take food anywhere they can get it and this guys seems content to munch on some willow buds.

A Japanese Macaque on the hunt for food. These guys are just full of surprises…

Plenty to see from up here. Odds are he’s eyeballing your egg salad sandwich.

A mallard looking for algae to snack on in the waters of Shimizu River.

Mission accomplished?

Elsewhere along the river, you might be lucky enough to spot a brown dipper, called カワガラス (or “river crow”) in Japanese.

Those eyes might look like they are a sinister white, but we are reliably informed that’s just the color of the eyelids.

Here we see a Eurasian Wren.  Only 10cm in length, these little guys can be hard to pick out from a wooded backdrop so count yourself lucky if you manage to spot one!

The variety of plant and animal life in Kamikochi means that visitors are rewarded for taking their time and examining the finer points of the broad canvas on natural wonder that makes up the park.  As the seasons change, so do the trappings of wildlife and seasonal foliage.  Yet another reason to make multiple visits.

Source of Information: National Park Guide Kamikochi blog: and