A national treasure set amid splendors of Japanese nature
- The name Kamikochi
- The name Kamikochi was formerly written in several different combinations of Japanese characters, each a nod to the descent on Mt. Hotakadake of Hotaka-no-mikoto, the deity of the Hotaka Shrine dwelling in the sacred precincts containing the Inner Altar and Myojin Pond. From this deity (kami) that alighted (ko) on the land (chi), the broader area came to be called Kamikochi.
- Rarity of Kamikochi
- Kamikochi has the rare area desighation of being both a Special Place of Scenic Beauty and a Special Natural Monument. Japan is ranked one of the top countries in the world by forest coverage, and some of the most precious natural features are found in Kamikochi. Nestled among a large number of peaks listed in the 100 Best Mountains of Japan, the area is a mecca for climbers.
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Trees glimmering with morning dew, glorious peaks shrouded in mist, ponds reflecting the setting sun—the scenery changes every moment to offer a new glimpse of the magic of nature.
Special Place of Scenic Beauty is a natural monument (site) commanding a view of especially high national value, designated in accordance with the Act on the Protection of Cultural Properties. Special Natural Monument is an animal, plant, or geological formation with an especially high global value, designated by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Hide
Trekking is the best way to make the most of your stay in Kamikochi. Countless trails are available, with levels of difficulty ranging from hour-long recreational walks to arduous climbing and a tour of all the scenic spots. Select the trail best suited to you and get in touch with Mother Nature.
VIEWS FROM THE TRAILS
- Kappa Bridge
- Kappa is a water-dwelling creature in Japanese folklore, often depicted as an imp with a plate on the head. Why a bridge is named after this figment of the imagination is a bit of a mystery. One legend says that in the old days before the bridge was built, people crossed the river balancing their clothes on the head, reminding onlookers of ... read more a kappa. But the truth about the bridge—its history and even period of construction—remains uncertain today. Kappa Bridge is a tourist highlight during the May holidays, in summer, and in the autumn foliage season. The area attracts so many visitors that it is called Kamikochi Ginza, or “downtown Kamikochi.” Hide
- Myojin Pond
- Myojin Pond consists of one large and one small pond lying side by side next to the Inner Altar in the sacred precincts of Hotaka Shrine. The still surface of the water reflecting the vastness of the sky and the large underwater rocks embodying the beauty of nature have earned Myojin Pond the epithets “mirror pond” and “divine pond.”
- Tashiro Pond
- Tashiro Pond is a body of shallow water in the marshes of a virgin forest. Dotted with islands, it has the bright, tranquil appearance of a rice paddy—the origin of its name. The area offers the best view of the Hotaka Mountain Range and Mt. Yakedake. Tashiro Pond does not freeze completely even when temperatures drop below zero.
- Taisho Pond
- Taisho Pond emerged from the eruption of Mt. Yakedake on the morning of June 6, 1915. The mystical sight of withered trees standing in the water has come to serve as a symbol of Kamikochi. The scenery is breathtaking during the day and even more so at dawn, at dusk, and in the still of the night. Observing a char lurking in the water and hunting ... read more insects that approach the surface, a literary figure described Taisho Pond as a “pond of perils.” Hide
- Hotaka Mountain Range
- The Hotaka Mountain Range is an icon of Kamikochi and a definer of the area’s landscape. Peaks include Mt. Oku-hotakadake—at 3,190 meters, the highest of the Hida Mountains, or Northern Alps—Mt. Mae-hotakadake, Mt. Kita-hotakadake, and Mt. Nishi-hotakadake. Home to many grade-one climbing routes, the Hotaka Mountain Range is ... read more a dream of alpinists and attracts climbers both from Japan and abroad. The peaks as seen from Kamikochi are stunning at all times and are the stuff of dreams. Hide
- Mt. Yakedake
- Mt. Yakedake, reaching 2,455 meters high, is the only active volcano of the Hida Mountains, or Northern Alps. The grandeur of the peaks enveloped in fumes is a sight to behold. This is also a popular destination for one-day climbs. Although volcanic activity is declining, attempts to ascend Mt. Yakedake require caution and preparation. ... read more The area is home to hot springs that invite climbers to heal fatigue with the power of nature. Hide
Kamonji-goya Kamonji-goya is a traditional Japanese-style hut fitted with an irori, or square pit in the floor filled with ash for building a fire. This hearth doubles as a dining kitchen and as a heating system. Kamonji-goya invites guests to gather around the irori and enjoy grilled salted char while gazing at the river flowing nearby—a classic Japanese experience.
Access : 3hours round trip on foot
Azumino The Azumino area offers a picturesque view of nature in the rustic landscape together with a variety of activities such as making soba noodles with water selected as one of the 100 Best Waters of Japan, riding a “clear boat” with windows in the bottom for gazing at fish, and a glassblowing workshop.
Access : 2hours 30minutes by bus and train
Shirahone Onsen The milky white water of Shirahone Onsen is gentle on the skin and ideal for healing fatigue from climbing. Japan is a hot-spring paradise, but only a handful of waters are suitable for drinking. The water from Shirahone Onsen stimulates the organs, cleansing the body from the inside as well as the outside.
Access : 1hour by bus
Hida-Takayama Hida-Takayama flourished as a castle town’s community of merchants occupying what is now called Furui Machinami, or “old streetscape,” aka Sanmachi-dori. Selected as an Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings, the tourist destination is lined with sake breweries ... read more that display a ball of cedar needles, called sakabayashi, to announce the season’s first batch of sake is ready. Many restaurants serve the famous brand of Hida Beef. Hide
Access : 2hours 30minutes by bus
Having delighted in the breathtaking nature of Kamikochi, unwind in the relaxing atmosphere of a resort hotel.
- Japan’s first authentic mountain resort hotel
- The Kamikochi Imperial Hotel opened in 1933 as Japan’s first authentic mountain resort hotel. Guests are greeted by a charming log cabin-style exterior complete with a red triangle roof into the Lobby Lounge featuring the hotel’s signature mantelpiece.
- Great nature at heights of 1,500 meters
- Kamikochi is part of the area designated as the Chubusangaku National Park, and The Kamikochi Imperial Hotel is situated amid the great nature of the Hotaka Mountain Range, the Azusa River, and Taisho Pond. To conserve this nature, ... read more the prefectural road leading to the hotel is closed to private vehicles year round. Guests are asked to use public transportation. Hide
An introduction to trivial bits of information about The Kamikochi Imperial Hotel
- Colossal mantelpiece
- The mantelpiece of the fireplace designed for heating the Lobby Lounge weighs 650 kilograms and is 5.1 meters tall.
Lighting demonstrations ... read more are organized at 17:00 between late April and mid July, and between mid September and the close of the season in November. Hide
- Natural drinking water
- All drinking water served in the hotel is natural spring water drawn from Mt. Roppyaku. Our coffee brewed with natural water has an exquisite taste.
- Secret of the hotel logo
- The Kamikochi Imperial Hotel logo depicts stunning nature of Kamikochi with a fresh sprout of white birch.
- Guest rooms
- The Kamikochi Imperial Hotel offers a variety of guestrooms, from log cabin style to veranda rooms overlooking the grand Hotaka Mountain Range.
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- Savor a range of dishes prepared with the freshest ingredients from Shinshu at the Main Dining Room, serving traditional French cuisine from the hotel; at our alpine-style casual restaurant; and at our Japanese-style kaiseki restaurant.
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- The Gift Shop offers products exclusive to The Kamikochi Imperial Hotel and items useful for exploring Kamikochi.
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- The Kamikochi Imperial Hotel is located in the city of Matsumoto in Nagano Prefecture, an ideal destination for travelers seeking a precious moment of leisure amid nature.
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An introduction to the history of Kamikochi,
a mountain resort that attracts as many as 1.2 million visitors each year
|1885||Kamikochi cattle ranch starts grazing|
|1896||British missionary Walter Weston introduces Kamikochi to the world through his writings|
|1898||Myojin Pond is included in the sacred precincts of Hotaka Shrine|
|1910||First Kappa Bridge (suspension bridge) is completed|
|1915||Taisho Pond emerges following the eruption of Mt. Yakedake|
|1927||Ryunosuke Akutagawa publishes his novel Kappa; Kamikochi is selected first place in the gorge category of the New 8 Best Views of Japan|
|1928||Kamikochi is designated a Place of Scenic Beauty and a Natural Monument of Japan|
|1933||Kamikochi Hotel (currently The Kamikochi Imperial Hotel) opens|
|1934||The Hida Mountains, or Northern Alps, including the Kamikochi area is designated the Chubusangaku National Park|
|1965||Kamikochi Preservation group is launched|
|1975||Prefectural Route 24 Kamikochi Koen Line is closed to private vehicles|
|1977||The Kamikochi Imperial Hotel undergoes complete renovation|
|1996||Road is closed to private vehicles year round|
|2004||Road closes to tour buses|
|2005||New Kama Tunnel opens|
|Kamikochi cattle ranch starts grazing|
|British missionary Walter Weston introduces Kamikochi to the world through his writings|
|Myojin Pond is included in the sacred precincts of Hotaka Shrine|
|First Kappa Bridge (suspension bridge) is completed|
|Taisho Pond emerges following the eruption of Mt. Yakedake|
|Ryunosuke Akutagawa publishes his novel Kappa; Kamikochi is selected first place in the gorge category of the New 8 Best Views of Japan|
|Kamikochi is designated a Place of Scenic Beauty and a Natural Monument of Japan|
|Kamikochi Hotel (currently The Kamikochi Imperial Hotel) opens|
|The Hida Mountains, or Northern Alps, including the Kamikochi area is designated the Chubusangaku National Park|
|Kamikochi Preservation group is launched|
|Prefectural Route 24 Kamikochi Koen Line is closed to private vehicles|
|The Kamikochi Imperial Hotel undergoes complete renovation|
|Road is closed to private vehicles year round|
|Road closes to tour buses|
|New Kama Tunnel opens|
Praise from Notable Figures
British missionary Walter Weston raved about his experiences in Kamikochi, the Hotaka Mountain Range, and Mt. Yarigatake, and introduced these destinations to a broad overseas audience in Mountaineering and Exploration in the Japanese Alps (1896).
Ryunosuke Akutagawa drew on his countless visits to Kamikochi and the Kappa Bridge in presenting his novel Kappa (1927).