AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia



Posted on Jul 19, 2014

Today, we were driving from Matsumoto to Kamikochi, high in the Japanese Alps and an incredibly popular hiking area. We drove to a car park which was located near the entrance to the valley. Kamikochi is in a high altitude valley and only accessible by bus from the many car parks on the main road. There’s no entrance fee for the area, but there is a fee for the bus. The bus was about ¥4,100 (£23) for a return ticket for two of us. The sun was shining and it was warm, but we had a fleece each because the in Japan the temperature rapidly drops with altitude (a shock after Nepal, Tibet and China where it was still nice and warm even at great altitude). We also had an umbrella each just in case (lesson learnt a few days ago at Kurobe). We planned on doing just a short half day hike around the area, but many people go there for multi-day treks, mountain climbing, etc. Compared to these others on the bus we looked a little under prepared, they had hiking trousers, hiking boots, three layers of clothing, hats, walking poles and proper backpacks. We had two carrier bags (one with our lunch and one with a bottle of water, fleece tops and am umbrella). The bus ride was only about 20 minutes but by the time we reached the terminal in the valley it was raining hard. We ran into the tourist information centre with everyone else and found somewhere to sit and eat our lunch, whilst looking at the walking maps to decide on a route. Luckily the rain stopped while we were eating. The route I picked was about 3 hours in total and took us up one side of the river, across a bridge and to a small lake then down that side of the river and back across to the bus terminal. It looked reasonable. We set off walking beside the river. The mountains surrounding us were thickly forested and it was incredibly green. The clouds sat over the mountains. The footpaths were very wet from the downpour earlier and we spent a lot of time dodging these huge puddles, whilst everyone else marched through them. Almost everyone had full waterproof hiking gear on. Bright colours of waterproof colouring covered almost every square inch of the hikers. We were warm in shorts and t-shirt. After about 40 minutes of walking we reached the junction where most people continued straight towards the mountains and we would turn left to cross the river and walk back down the other side. There was a shop...

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