Kamikōchi (上高地, [dead link]) is a village in central Japan, roughly between Matsumoto and Takayama, in the Japanese Alps.
Kamikochi, with its mountainous scenery and large areas of undeveloped nature, is one of the most popular hiking spots in Japan.
The road to Kamikochi is restricted to buses and taxis only. Private vehicles are not permitted to enter, but you can park at the entrance of the valley and take a bus.
Alpico Kōtsu runs the bus and train services below. It runs several direct buses from Shinjuku and Tokyo stations, Osaka, Kyoto and Nagano. They either travel by night or take half a day.
From Matsumoto, there are two daily direct buses from the bus terminal. Travels with a combination of train and bus from Matsumoto train station are more frequent (about every hour). Allow between 1 hr 30 min and 1 hr 45 min. Not covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
- 1 Kappabashi Bridge. The suspension bridge is the symbol of Kamikochi. If you're there early enough in the morning (between 17:00 and 06:30), you may see the local monkeys make their morning crossing from one side of the bridge to the other.
- 2 Taisho Pond (大正池). Very nice pond with dead trees and view on the mountains
Hike and enjoy the greenery and mountain air. Enjoy one of the most spectacular mountain views Japan has to offer.
There are multiple hikes (mostly flat) available from the Tourist Centre - where the buses drop you off. You can tailor your hikes according to how much time you have to spend there.
Popular souvenirs from Kamikochi are generally foods and sweets made locally or from local produce, such as various jams, apple cheesecakes, and soba cookies.
Kamikochi is most known for its sweets, so Kamikochi ice cream and cheesecakes are quite popular. Because Kamikochi is a famous place for hiking and enjoying nature, there are limited restaurant options with most being located on each side of the Kappabashi Bridge. There are a lot of kappa-themed goods, as well, since the bridge is called "Kappa-bashi".
Along the river are several hiking lodges, most with dining rooms, and a campground renting tent sites. A more expensive option is to pre-book at one of the Ryokan and Onsen in the surrounding area. Bus connections run from the site until about 16:00 or 17:00.
Onward buses to Takayama or Matsumoto; depart 15:00. Alternatively, you can stay a night in one of the surrounding Oku-Hida Onsen Villages and enjoy a spa after a long day of hiking. The last bus to Hyrayu Onsen village departs Kamikochi bus terminal at 17:00 and costs approximately ¥1000 one way.