The Hida Mountains, also known as the Northern Alps (Hida Alps) in Japan, are a mountain range located on the main island of Honshu. They are part of the larger Japanese Alps, which also include the Kiso and the Akaishi mountain ranges. This mountainous region is characterized by rugged peaks, alpine landscapes, and picturesque valleys. Kamikochi is one of those beautifull valleys. It is a part of the Chūbu-Sangaku National Park. It is a 15-kilometer long plateau in the Azusa River Valley, about 1500 meters above sea level surrounded by mountains with 3000 meter high peaks. The forests are preserved in a natural state.
The valley is open to visitors during the warmer months, typically from mid-April to early November. There are a couple of predestined routes you can take in Kamikochi, ranging from easy walks suitable for casual visitors to more challenging routes for experienced hikers. Popular trails include the Azusa River Trail along the Azusa River, the Kappa Bridge Loop Trail, and the trail to the scenic Myojin Pond.
To get there, we stayed for two nights in Takayama. The trip from Takayama to Kamikochi lasts around 2 hours with a bus, including one transfer. We split into two groups. Our fellow photographers went there in the early morning to catch better light.
We started around 8.30 and departed around 16.00 with one of the last shuttle buses. The last 3-4 kilometers of our walk we had to speed up. Our colleagues warned us that we could have problems with getting out of there. Nature and landscapes are so beautiful there that we simply forgot the time schedule. So if you visit this place privately with no own transport, watch the time and bus schedules. However, being inside, you do not have to worry about your daily needs. The tourist infrastructure is sufficient to provide for proper comfort.
Below you may find some photos I made in this picturesque area. One of the shows the Kappa Bridge, a famous wooden suspension bridge that spans the Azusa River. It serves as a central point in Kamikochi and is a popular spot for taking in the surrounding scenery.