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  • Day81

    Japanese Alps

    May 30 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    After millions of flashing lights and just as many people in Osaka we started an almost day-long journey to the Japanese Alps. While the prime region in the Northern Alps is Kamikōchi we had booked a guesthouse (“Raicho” - Snow hen) in Norikura Kogen, which is the beautiful highland located at the base of Norikuradake (Mt Norikura) for three nights. Our reasoning was that there are probably fewer people and since there are buses running regularly we wouldn’t miss out on anything. And yes, this plan worked perfectly.

    I don’t even know where to start. The lush green forest, the amazing view of several 3000m+ high mountains or maybe the crazy wildlife? I’ll start with the hot spring pools (Onsen) since this was the first thing we did after arriving. Our lovely guesthouse is the only guesthouse in the region with its own natural Onsen which was in a private outside area behind the house, filled with perfectly hot water, white from all the minerals in it. Perfect to relax after a long day of travelling or hiking.

    The following day we explored the Norikura region on a half day hike/stroll through the forest. Pretty flowers, nice views and a few encounters of mimed conversations with local mountaineers. Great start!

    On our second active day we headed up to Kamikōchi which lies in a valley basin surrounded by amazingly beautiful mountains, including the 3190m high Okuhotakadake. My initial plan was to climb Yakedake, a 2455m high, still active volcano. Unfortunately, it turned out that we’re too early in the season. No chance without at least cramp-ons. Nevertheless, we had a blast walking along the beautiful river and very much enjoyed the views of the mountains, the smell of spring flowers and observing the shananigans the Macaque monkeys were up to this time. Watching all the Japanese going crazy about the spring flowers was fun, too.

    We had a blast in the Japanese Alps! Ridiculously perfect weather, not too busy at this time of the year, in addition to lovely, family-run accomodation. Hope to be back some day!
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