Leave stress, strain and rush behind you by getting lost on the trails in the mountains of Kamikochi.
In 1934, the rich natural surroundings of Kamikochi was designated as a National Park to preserve the mountain plants and the animals who live in this area. Because of the increasing number of tourists it is prohibited to visit Kamikochi by car. A regular bus schedule runs from different parking facilities a few kilometers outside the national park.
On arrival in Kamikochi, your hiking trip trailhead will be the Kamikochi Bus Terminal. The first thing to do will be getting yourself a map or else you may be really getting lost! Next, you have to decide on the route you want to take and if you want to climb up any of the mountain paths. I recommend bringing a change of clothes, because the weather can change very quickly and the temperature varies. Hiking shoes are a must for going up the mountains, but if you only want to enjoy the amazing trails around the Azusa-gawa River, normal sneakers will do. Also if you plan to take a longer rout you should book a room in one of the guesthouses around there. Best combination is an Onsen-hotel, it is so relaxing after the exhausting hike to slide into the hot water.
Both sides of the Azusa-gawa River are connected by various wooden bridges. One of the most beautiful and famous is the Kappa-bashi, named after a water demon that looks like a mixture of a turtle and a duck — actually a really frightening looking creature. But even monsters can get a cute shape in Japan. Just visit the souvenir shops!
After crossing the bridge you can follow the main path or a much more beautiful side road. The side roads blend in with the natural surroundings, with discreet wooden planks that you walk on, surrounded by incredible many-faceted flora, giving you the feeling of being part of nature. Trying not to trip on the timbers makes your hike a very playfull adventure. In the forest, among the gigantic, old birch and Japanese larch trees, you will forget the time, discovering everything this virgin natural setting has to offer.
Keep you eyes wide open to discover everything this majestic national park has to offer!