Hike Kamikochi Valley



6.2 miles

Route Type


Added by Benedikt Jürges

Beautiful day-trip in the Japanese alps

This hidden gem lies close to Matsumoto. Very conveniently connected with public transport, it should be easy for you to get here from any bigger town.

A welcome variation from urban Japan, this valley lies deep in the Japanese Alps. Only the beginning is accessible for cars, after that you can go explore the nature. A Wonderful river flows through the whole valley, being the only thing disrupting the mystical forest of Kamikochi. Just a few minutes past the Visitor Center you can enjoy perfect solitude, just being surrounded by trees.

The valley offers a lot of trails, which are all well maintained. The ones who like to take it easy can stay close to the entry area, but you can walk as far as your feet take you. You will be rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains as well as visiting a little temple, deeply hidden in the woods. For the adventurous there is a small inn at a bridge; you could stay there!

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A really spectacular place.

There are a lot trails here. It's about 10km from the last bus drop until the marked trails start heading up hill. You should get a trail map and sort out your route before heading out. But some of them are really amazing - you can walk for days and fully stocked mountain huts break up the big sections of trail (cold draft beer and beds). There are a routes not marked on common maps that requires gear and you most likely will be on your own with out crowds and marked trails. The marked trails host a lot of nice people. It's a good vibe in the Japan Alps. Recommended routes: Yari to Hotaka (stay at Kita (north) Hotaka hut). Hotaka back to Kamikochi while hitting all 3 Hotaka peaks. Fall is amazing here.


After the first 2 or 3 hours of walking you get out of the crowded areas and the scenery becomes absolutely stunning. Over 3-5 days you can climb to the top of some of Japan's highest peaks and be quite alone for hours at a time (rare in Japan). The trails actually get fun and challenging at points. Lots of metal ladders up vertical rock sections and even pegs stuck in the rock. You never have to do any real rock climbing so it's still relaxed. But you'll see tons of people carrying full mountaineering gear for some reason. Tent camping is free to 1000 yen depending where and usually has running water and a real toilet. There are "huts" you can stay and eat at but they are expensive 10,000 yen a night. If you don't stay there don't count on eating anything other then lunch at huts. The map you can buy at the town is super good. No ATM in the town, or any real supplies (especially good backpacking food) but tons of restaurants and onsens.

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