Kamikochi Hiking: The Perfect Day Trip from Takayama (2024)

by Feb 14, 2024Itinerary, Japan, Travel

Looking for an easy and active day trip from Takayama?

Want to get out in nature and do some hiking while in Japan?

Hiking at Kamikochi is ideal for both inexperienced or physically challenged hikers like me and expert hikers. There’s a wonderful and easy hike with amazing views that you can complete in 3 to 5 hours. It also has plenty of more challenging hikes that take several days to complete.

Kamikochi is also a great place to visit for solo travelers as it’s safe and there are plenty of other hikers around. You’ll see when you get there that hiking is really popular in Japan!

In this blog post, I’ll share with you how to get to Kamikochi from Takayama by public transportation. You’ll also find out what you can do at Kamikochi, what hiking trail to take, where you can see the best views, what to wear, how to stay overnight, and much more.

For those following my Japan itinerary guide, Kamikochi is day 7.

Check this amazing guide to Takayama for information on what to do there, where to stay, and where to eat.

BONUS: I've created a FREE PDF version of my Japan itinerary guide. It includes detailed day-to-day itineraries for Tokyo, Kyoto, and 9 other destinations in Japan.  You'll also get step-by-step instructions for buying and using your Japan Rail Pass.

Click here to get lots of great tips for traveling around Asia as well as my FREE Japan itinerary guide. 

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About Kamikochi

COST: Free | OPEN: April 17 – Nov 15 | WEBSITE: Kamikochi Tourism Association Official website | LOCATION: Google Maps

Hokata Mountain Range in the Japan Alps

There’s a bit of confusion about what exactly Kamikochi is and isn’t.

Is it a national park? Or a mountain resort? Or something else?

Technically, Kamikochi is a natural monument and national scenic spot as designated by the Japanese government. Only two places in all of Japan have been awarded both titles.

But…

it’s simpler to just refer to Kamikochi as a park. And that’s what I’ll do throughout this post.

In fact, Kamikochi is a section of a larger park, Chubu Sangaku National Park, which encompasses several mountain ranges within the Northern Japan Alps.

The Chubu Sangaku is so big that it covers 4 prefectures: Gifu, Niigata, Toyama, and Nagano.

Other popular spots in the Chubu Sangaku include the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, the Okuhida Spa Village (Hirayu is included in that), the Hakuba Mountain Range, and many other breathtaking mountains and gorgeous valleys.

What will I find at Kamikochi?

At Kamikochi, you’ll find a beautifully forested valley (supposedly full of animals including monkeys) surrounded by the Hokata Mountains. Running through the valley is the Azusa River with its crystal clear water. The valley is also home to several marshes and ponds.

Mount Oku-Hotaka, the highest peak in the Northern Japan Alps (3,190 m), stands at Kamikochi’s northern end, and the active volcano, Mt. Yake, at its southern border.

There are also hiking trails, mountain huts, campgrounds, swanky resorts as well as traditional ryokans, a visitor information center, souvenir shops, restaurants and cafes, a post office, and a Shinto shrine.

When is Kamikochi open?

The park is only open from April 17 to November 15.

Check the official website to confirm the dates.

The park gate closes at 7:00 pm spring and fall and at 8:00 pm in July and August.

In order to reduce the exhaust from vehicles and preserve nature, the park does not allow private cars. You can only enter Kamikochi by public bus, tour bus, or taxi. I’ll tell you below how to get to Kamikochi by bus.

How to get from Takayama to Kamikochi

You can get to Kamikochi from Takayama, Matsumoto, Nagoya, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. In this Kamikochi post, I’m just going to talk about how to get to the park from Takayama. For info on getting to the park from Matsumoto, visit this website.

For info on getting to Kamikochi from Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Osaka, visit the park’s website.

Let’s look at how to get to Kamikochi from Takayama:

  1. Buy your bus ticket.
  2. Depart from Takayama
  3. Transfer buses at Hirayu Onsen
  4. Arrive at Kamikochi

1. Buy Bus Ticket

Buy your bus ticket for Kamikochi at the Nohi Bus Terminal in Takayama. It is right next to the train station.

You will change buses at Hirayu Onsen.

How much is the bus ticket to Kamikochi?

These are ticket prices according to the Nohi Bus Company website as of February 2024:

  • A round-trip ticket from Takayama to Kamikochi (transfer at Hirayu-Onsen) and back costs ¥5,130 (US$34.09 /£27.15/€31.79) for adults and ¥2.570 (US$17.08 /£13.60/€16) for children. It’s good for 7 days from the time of purchase.
  • A one-way ticket from Takayama to Kamikochi is ¥2,650 (US$17.60 /£14/€16.42) for adults and ¥1,330 (US$8.84 /£7/€8.24) for children.

2. Depart Takayama

Here is the bus schedule from the Nohi Bus Station website as of February 14, 2024:

  • You need to first travel to Hirayu Onsen, where you’ll transfer to another bus for Kamikochi.
Takayama Hirayu Onsen
6:00 6:53
7:00 7:58
7:40 8:38
7:50 8:40
8:40 9:38
9:40 10:38
10:10 11:00
10:40 11:38
11:40 12:38
11:50 12:45
12:40 13:38
13:40 14:38
13:50 14:40
14:40 15:38
15:40 16:38
16:40 17:38
16:50 17:40
17:40 18:38

My Experience Getting to Kamikochi

I bought my ticket on the same day at 7:10 am, and I left Takayama at 7:40.

My bus to Hirayu was 1/10 full.

It made tons of stops along the way for locals to get off and on.

The route goes through beautiful mountain scenery with some of the most gorgeous trees I’ve ever seen interspersed with bright green rice paddies. We passed by farms with these beautiful and traditional large farmhouses. My impression is that the farmers are pretty well off in this part of Japan. I had read somewhere that those in rural areas work two or three jobs, but they also make more than urban dwellers.

It seems that every space is used in the Japanese countryside. If there isn’t a tree, a road, or buildings, there are rice fields or small gardens.

3. Transfer at Hirayu Onsen

Hirayu Onsen bus station is a small building where you can buy bus tickets, snack food, and drinks, use the bathroom, and even take a shower.

It’s also got a large parking lot. You can’t drive to Kamikochi. Instead, people park their cars at Hirayu and then take the bus into Kamikochi.

It shouldn’t be difficult to find the bus to Kamikochi. Just look for the sign saying Kamikochi.

What time does the bus leave Hirayu Onsen?

The bus leaves Hirayu Onsen for Kamikochi every 30 minutes (April 27 – October 31) and every 60 minutes (April 17-26 and November 1-15).

The first bus leaves at 5:00 am and the last bus at 17:00 (5:30, 6:00, 6:30, 7:00, etc.).

It takes 16 minutes to get to Taisho Pond and 25 minutes to get to Kamikochi.

The bus to Kamikochi from Hirayu Onsen leaves right next to the bus that arrives from Takayama. You can’t miss it!

My experience getting the bus at Hirayu Onsen:

I arrived in Hirayu at 8:38. Hirayu is a resort town with tons of hot springs that you can visit during the day.

There’s not enough time to do both Kamikochi and the hot springs in one day. However, you can stay overnight at one, but make your reservations far in advance as I found out the hard way.

I waited around for about 20 minutes until I got onto the bus to Kamikochi at 9:00 am.

As I was getting on the bus, the bus driver was handing out maps and telling the foreign tourists to get off at the Kamikochi Bus Terminal.

4. Arrive in Kamikochi

During my trip, the bus driver announced the stops in English.

The last stop is the bus terminal for Kamikochi. But you can get off earlier at Taishoike Bus Stop if you want to start at Taisho Pond.

I had originally planned to go from Taisho Pond to Myojin Pond. Instead, I followed the bus driver’s advice and got off at the Kamikochi Bus Terminal.

This messed up my original plan and I ended up not seeing Taisho Pond.

Guided Tour of Kamikochi

Don’t want to visit Kamikochi by public bus?

Or perhaps you want to visit BOTH Kamikochi AND the Shinhotaka Ropeway in one day?

Your best option is to do a guided tour from Takayama.

(1) Alpine Splendor Tour: Shinhotaka Ropeway and Kamikochi

In the morning, your English-speaking guide will take you to the Shinhotaka Ropeway for beautiful panoramic views of the Japan Alps. In the afternoon, you’ll visit Kamikochi for a hike in the Japan Alps. This is a new tour so there are no reviews, but the tour company, Machinovate, has EXCELLENT reviews for its other guided tours in Japan.

Read Reviews & Check Price: Viator or Get Your Guide

 

How Long to Spend at Kamikochi?

How long it will take you to see both Myojin Bridge and Taisho Pond depends on how fast you walk, whether you stop, and where you start your hike.

I was taking loads of photos and I had some issues with my foot and knee, so I was hiking pretty slowly.

According to the Kamikochi website, it’ll take you 5 hours to go all the way to both Myojin Bridge and Taisho Pond.

Google Maps says 2 hours and 15 minutes. But I think that’s rather optimisticc.

But other sources say 3 hours if you start at Taisho Pond and hike all the way to Myojin Bridge and then back to the Kamikochi Bus Terminal.

By recommendation is to plan for 5 hours.

You can spend a few days doing different hikes, but these will be tougher and some will be overnight.

You can read all about my adventures at the emergency room in Kanazawa and what shoes finally solved my foot problems.

 

Kamikochi Hiking Itinerary

This is my recommended itinerary for visiting Kamikochi as a day trip. It’ll give you a chance to see the best attractions in the park and get the best views.

  1. Get off the bus at Taisho-ike Bus Stop
  2. Taisho Pond
  3. Tashiro Marsh & Tashiro Pond
  4. Hotaka-Bashi Bridge
  5. Kamikochi Visitors Center (& Kamikochi Bus Terminal)
  6. Kappa-Bashi Bridge
  7. Tral to Myojin
  8. Myojin
  9. Myojin Bashi Bridge
  10. Myojin Pond
  11. Kappa-Bashi Bridge
  12. Kamikochi Visitors Center (& Kamokochi Bus Terminal)
map of Kamikochi route

1. Get Off the Bus at Taisho-ike Bus Stop

To start at Taisho Pond, you need to get off at the Taisho-ike Bus Stop. The bus stop is near the Taishoike Hotel.

There are restrooms nearby.

When I was on the bus, the bus driver announced the stop. But you still need to press a button to request a stop.

2. Taisho Pond

Start your Kamikochi hiking itinerary here at Taisho Pond.

According to a very helpful employee at the visitor’s center, Taisho Pond is the best place for photos in the park, but it is also the most crowded and less peaceful part of the park

3. Tashiro Marsh and Tashiro Pond

Continue your Kamikoshi hiking itinerary by walking to Tashiro Marsh.

It takes 20 minutes from Taisho Pond to Tashiro Marsh and Pond.

4. Hotaka-Bashi Bridge

Then walk to Hotaka-Bashi Bridge (also known as Tashiro-Bashi Bridge), which should take another 20 minutes.

Don’t cross the bridge. Keep on walking on the right side of the Asuza River.

If you do cross the bridge, you’ll find two hot spring hotels: Kamikochi Onsen Hotel and the Kamikochi Lemeiesta Hotel.

5. Kamikochi Visitors Center (+ Bus Terminal)

It should take you about 25 minutes to get to the bus terminal. Here you’ll find restrooms, the Kamikochi Visitor’s Center, where you can buy a nice map for ¥100, restaurants, and souvenir shops.

The restrooms cost ¥100.

At the end of your hike, you’ll want to come back here to catch the bus going back to Hirayu.

There are no trash cans in the park. You need to carry out all of your trash with you when you leave.

Don’t worry about getting lost. There are signs everywhere telling you where to go and how many meters to get there. This makes it great for the directionally challenged solo traveler like me.

6. Kappa-Bashi Bridge

It should take about 6 minutes to get to Kappa-Bashi Bridge from the Bus Terminal.

The Kappa-Bashi bridge is named after the kappa, a mythical water creature found in Japanese folk tales. Children were told about them to scare children so much that they would stay far away from lakes and rivers.

Kappa has an oval-shaped depression on their head. In order to keep their strength, the depression needs to be constantly filled with water. Without water, the Kappa may die.

They are known for causing trouble. They like to fart and look up women’s kimonos.  More nefarious pastimes include stealing children and then eating them.

The mountain in the distance is Mount Okuhokata. At 3190 meters it’s the tallest mountain at Kamikochi. Hiking to its peak takes over 9 hours.

At the Kappa-Bashi Bridge, you’ll come to another visitor’s center, a hotel, and some administrative buildings.

Don’t cross the bridge, though. Keep on hiking along the right side of the river.

7. Walk on the Trail to Myojin

Continue your Kamikochi itinerary by walking to the Myojin-Bashi Bridge. It should take 60 minutes to get there.

The hike continues along the Asuza-gawa River.

You’ll pass a campground. It costs ¥4,500 to ¥7,500 per person to camp. If you’re interested in camping in Kamikochi, here is a great website with a list of accomodations in the park.

The terrain is pretty flat for almost the whole hike.

8. Myojin

When you get to Miyojin, you’ll come to another hotel.

There’s a place you can grab lunch and some nice, clean bathrooms.

As you can see, there are tons of hikers at Kamikochi. In Japan, I saw mainly middle-aged and elderly people hiking. Many of them seemed to be returning from an overnight hike.

Before Europeans arrived in the middle of the 19th century, mountain climbing and hiking were mainly done by Shinto priests for spiritual reasons.

In Shintoism, it is believed that deities called kami can be found anywhere in nature, but the kami found in mountains are especially important.

9. Cross the Myojin-Bashi Bridge

The bridge is 3 minutes from Myojin. You can see Mount Myojin in the distance.

I was so amazed at how clean the water was at Kamikochi and actually all of this area of Japan. I don’t think I’ve ever seen water this clear and clean in the United States.

10. Myojin Pond

It takes a few minutes to get to Myojin Pond.

On my way to Myojin Pond, I passed by Kamonji-Goya, a mountain hut with a restaurant where you can order soba and udon noodles and beer.  There are tables outside. Every space was full when I visited, so I didn’t stop.

The mountain hut was built in 1880 by Kamijo Kamonji. He is the person who guided Reverend Walter Weston on his trips through the Japan Alps. 

Weston wrote two books in English on the Alps introducing the region to Europeans. He also established the Japan Alpine Club.

After passing by the mountain hut, I arrived at the Hotaka-jinja Shrine. It cost ¥300 (US$2.75/€2.40/£2.10) to enter the shrine.

11. Back to Kappa-Bashi Bridge

After leaving Myojin Pond, continue your hike at Kamikochi by walking back to Kappa-Bashi Bridge. Now you’re on the opposite side of the river from your earlier walk. It takes 60 to 75 minutes to get to the bridge.

The downside to Kamikochi is that there are so many other hikers, so it isn’t all that peaceful. I went on a weekend, though. Maybe if you go on a weekday there will be fewer people.

The park does have wild Japanese monkeys, the same ones that you see in photos of Japan of the snow monkeys in the hot springs in winter, but I didn’t see any. I also didn’t hear the sounds of many birds.

Towards the end of your Kamikochi hiking journey, you’ll also pass by a marsh called Dakeshawa Marshland.

Once you reach the bridge, you’ll be able to see Mount Okuhotakadake again.

And you’re back to the Kappa-Bashi Bridge.

The end of your Kamkochi hiking adventure!

12. Kamikochi Bus Terminal 

After crossing the bridge, head back to the bus terminal to catch your bus back to Hirayu.

At the bus terminal, find the sign for Hirayu Onsen Spa (it was platform 5 when I was there) and get into what will probably be a long line. If the bus fills up (45 people maximum), sometimes another bus will take the overflow, but at other times you’ll have to wait for the next one. I had to wait about an hour for a bus to Takayama because the first bus filled up.

You’ll first take a bus (25 minutes) to Hirayu. Then take another bus back to Takayama (1 hour).

Buses from Kamikochi to Hirayu depart every 30 minutes (April 27 – October 31) and every 60 minutes (April 17 – 26 and November 1 – 15). The last bus leaves at 5:30 pm.

Here are the departure times for buses going from Hirayu to Takayama as of February 14, 2024. Visit the Nohi Bus Company website for the most up-to-date schedule.

Hirayu Takayama
6:45 7:41
7:35 8:36
8:30 9:31
9:30 10:31
9:33 10:28
10:00 11:01
10:30 11:31
11:30 12:20
12:30 13:31
13:30 14.28
13:33 14:31
14:30 15:31
15:30 16:31
16:30 17:31
17:30 18:31

What to wear to go hiking in Kamikochi

According to the Kamikochi website, temperatures in the summer can drop to less than 10 degrees Celsius. Here is their suggestion on what to wear:

  • In May and the early part of June, wear a fleece for your Kamikochi hiking trip.
  • In June and July, wear a long-sleeved shirt.
  • In August, a short-sleeved shirt is fine at noon, but a long-sleeved shirt and sweater in the morning and evening. I wore my fleece in the morning and short-sleeves in the afternoon.
  • From September to November, wear a fleece.

Takayama – Day Trip

Since this Kamikochi itinerary starts as a day trip from Takayama, I’ll give you some tips on where to stay and eat there. Read my Takayama itinerary for even more ideas.

You can also do this itinerary as a day trip from Matsumoto.

Where to stay in Takayama

I stayed in Takayama at the Rickshaw Inn, a traditional Japanese inn that cost me around $65 a night. It was highly recommended in Lonely Planet Japan guide.

The Rickshaw Inn is a traditional Japanese royokan, but it’s not a fancy one and there’s no onsen. The bathrooms are shared. There’s a nice lounge area. Breakfast costs extra. There’s also a coin-operated washing machine and dryer. The hotel is in an excellent location, a 10-minute walk from the bus and train stations and right in the downtown area next to many restaurants. The owner, who is British, and his staff give excellent restaurant recommendations. I ate at three of my favorite restaurants during my trip to Japan.

Where to Eat in Takayama

  • Sumikyu – Great soba noodles with 7 kinds of mushrooms
  • Center 4 Burger – Try the best burger you’ll ever eat in your life. Order the Hida beef burger. A bit pricey but worth it!
  • Hidatakayama Kyoya – Try traditional Hida beef. do the set meal. 

Final Thoughts: Kamikochi

I remember how a friend of mine responded when I told her I was going to Japan.

She wrinkled her nose up and replied, “I’ve got no interest in seeing Japan. I only like places with lots of mountains and natural beauty.”

I guess lots of people think of Japan as just big cities with neon lights, skyscrapers, and crowded subways.

As you can see from reading this Kamikochi itinerary, Japan is more than just big cities or geishas and samurais. It’s full of beautiful natural scenery with beautiful mountain ranges and crystal clear rivers.

So take a detour from visiting the big bustling cities of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka and spend more time in the smaller towns of Takayama and Kanazawa and take a side trip to Kamikochi.

Hiking at Kamikochi is super easy and safe. It’s an ideal destination for solo travelers. I did it even though my knee, my plantar fasciitis, and an infected blister were all killing me.

If you have questions about an upcoming trip to Japan, you can leave them below in the comments section and I’d be happy to answer them for you!

If you’ve been to Kamikochi and I left something out or you’ve got a great suggestion, leave a comment below.

Best Resources for Your Trip to Japan

Book Your Flights for Japan

Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights to Japan. They will turn up results for all airlines including major ones and local airlines. You’re going to find EVERYTHING that’s available and thus get the cheapest price.

Book Your Accommodations for Japan:

The best hotel booking sites for Japan are Booking.com and Agoda. They have the biggest selection, and they consistently churn out hotels and hostels at the lowest prices of any other booking site. Another website for backpackers and budget travelers is Hostel World.

Book Your Tours for Japan:

The three best tour booking sites for Japan are Viator, Get Your Guide, and Klook. Viator has the biggest selection. Get Your Guide has terrific customer service. Klook specializes in tours in Asia.

Get Connected when in Japan:

You’ve got 3 options for staying connected in Japan: a pocket WiFi (what I used), a physical SIM card, or an eSIM. Several companies offer eSIMs for Japan. I recommend getting one through Klook or Airalo.

Book your Japan Rail Passes:

Japan has many different types of passes. The JR Pass is one of the most popular passes. Buy them through Klook before your trip to Japan. There are other passes as well like the Hakone Freepass.

Get Your Rail Pass for Tokyo

Get an unlimited train pass for most metro lines in Tokyo. They’re good for 1, 2, or 3 days. I always get the 3-day pass.

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easy-to-follow itinerary for Kamikochi Japan
easy-to-follow itinerary Kamikochi Japan

33 Comments

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post. It is super detailed and sounds like a wonderful hike! What I love the most about it is that it is perfect mix of culture and nature. Adding it to my To-Do list. Also, like how it can be done on a budget, a crucial aspect for me.

    Reply
    • Yes, it was pretty inexpensive overall. The park is free, so the only cost would be for transportation.

      Reply
  2. Looks like a great hiking trip! I agree with you that Japan is so much more than just big cities with neon lights, they have a lot of amazing places to get lost in nature. Thanks for the post!

    Reply
    • You’re welcome! From all that I had read about Japan, I expected the place to be overdeveloped, but it wasn’t.

      Reply
  3. Absolutely stunning! I’m dying to go back to Japan. The scenery reminds me a lot of some parts of Taiwan.

    Reply
    • I haven’t been to Taiwan, yet, but I’m thinking of going sometime soon.

      Reply
  4. Wow. I wish I knew about this place when I visited Japan. It looks amazing!

    Reply
    • There are just so many great places to visit in Japan that it’s really hard to choose.

      Reply
  5. Wow! This is absolutely stunning and so thorough! thanks for such an extensive guide on Kamikoche!

    Reply
  6. This place looks so peaceful. I always make sure to spend at least one day hiking or cycling in the wilderness when visiting big, hectic cities.

    Reply
    • Me too!

      Reply
  7. Hi, really like the content and places you’ve been. You are emphasizing beautifully the images seen and send that feeling =]. I’m also planning to go the first time to Japan from 6-28th of September this year. Your itinerary seems very “unorthodox” to what I’ve seen so far and heard from friends. Do you have time to reply to some questions?

    Reply
    • Thank you, Bogdan! What questions do you have?

      Reply
  8. thanks for the detailed description. have you done all this in one day? if we plan to go there from Tokyo, where would you recommend to stay; which best way to get there from/to Tokyo?

    Reply
    • Hi Dina, Thank you! I did the hike in one day from Takayama. If you were going to travel there from Tokyo, I’d either stay overnight in Takayama or Kamikochi. There are several hotels right inside the park. The link for the hotels at Kamikochi is in the article. To get there from Tokyo, you’d need to first travel to Nagoya and then transfer to another train to Takayama, and then a bus to Kamikochi. The train from Tokyo to Takayama takes 5 hours total. You can also take a train from Tokyo to Matsumoto and then a bus to Kamikochi.

      Reply
  9. Very nice and useful blog

    Reply
    • Thank you, Gustavo!

      Reply
  10. Thank you so much for the detailed, clear in English, instructions! My wife and I have a planned trip this Labor Day weekend (2019), and I’ve been racking my brains trying to figure out exatcly how to get from the Hirayu bus terminal to the Kamikochi terminal and not miss the stop for Taisho Pond, in order to walk up to the Kamikochi bus terminal and see the sights along the way. You cleared it up for me, YAY! Also, trying to figure out the bus ride up and back. Your article is a HUGE help, you kept the instructions simple, for us logistically challenged trippers. THANKS!!!

    Reply
    • Hi Synergy,

      I’m glad this helped! It’s very easy getting from Hirayu to Kamikochi. You’ll be amazed at how organized everything is in Japan and how much help will be available guiding tourists to where they need to go. Good luck and have a safe and enjoyable trip!

      Reply
  11. Hello! Came across your website as i was searching for hikes for my trip to japan. however, as we are going in end dec, what are your thoughts on hiking during winter?

    Reply
    • Unfortunately, the Kamikochi is open only from mid-April to mid-November, so you wouldn’t be able to go hiking there at that time.

      Reply
  12. Thanks for the lovely tracks, hope the Corona Virus allows us to arrive during the fall period.

    Reply
    • You’re welcome! Yes, the coronavirus should be gone by the summer. I hope you make it to Japan! It’s a fascinating country!

      Julie

      Reply
  13. Definitely want to visit Kamikochi valley!! The river is so relaxing….

    Reply
  14. Hi! I’m hoping you can advise whether my hopeful itinerary is possible. On day one, we’re doing part of the Nakasendo Trail, ending in Tsumago at noon. I’d like to take a bus/train to Hirayu Onsen, stay overnight there (or in Kamikochi) then next day Kamikochi for a short walk, then do the Shinhotaka Ropeway and then end in Takayama. Is that doable? Thank you!!

    Reply
    • I think you would have trouble getting from Tsumago to Shirayu Onsen by train or bus. To get to Shirayu Onsen, you’d first need to either get to Matsumoto or Takayama and take a bus from either of these 2 cities. Magome also has better transport links than Tsuamgo. I recommend looking at these transportation company websites for bus and train schedules and routes: https://www.hyperdia.com/
      https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/
      https://willerexpress.com/en/

      For getting from Hirayu Onsen to Kamikochi is very doable. It might be possible to end the day by doing the Shinhotaka Ropeway – look at the Nouhi Bus Schedule on this website for transport information: https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/

      Reply
      • Thank you, Julie! Yes, I see that we’ll have to connect through Matsumoto. Makes for a long journey but the only way unless I hire a taxi. No idea what that would cost or how to arrange that. Any suggestions?

        An additional idea I’m contemplating is staying in Hirayu Onsen, waking up early to do the Shinhotaka Ropeway then either hiking to Kamikochi or take the ropeway back down and a bus to Kamikochi. Do you have thoughts about this idea?

        Reply
        • Taxis in Japan – I took a taxi once in Japan. It was a 5-minute ride from the subway station to my hotel and it cost me $9, so I bet a ride from Tsumago to Hirayu would be quite expensive. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t know how to arrange a taxi.

          Which to do first: Kamikochi or Shinhotaka Ropeway? I’d look at which one opens the earliest and closes the latest and decide from there. Also look at the bus schedule back to Takayama. It looks like the last bus you can take from Shinhotaka to Takayama is at 4:55. Here’s the bus schedules for these 2 places:
          https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/route_bus/kamikochi-line-en/
          https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/route_bus/shinhotaka-line-en/

          Book your stay at Hirayu Onsen early. I tried and couldn’t get a room as it was full.

          Reply
          • Thanks for this info! Yikes, that’s an expensive taxi ride. OK, I’ll review all of your links and suggestions. Thanks again!

  15. This looks absolutely beautiful! It doesn’t look like they have released the 2024 opening dates yet, but I’m not sure it will be open in March when I will be there. Would you have any other hiking recommendations in Japan?

    Reply
    • You could try Hakone and Nikko.

      Reply
  16. Wow, what an incredible read! Your vivid descriptions and engaging narrative truly transported me to Kamikochi. It’s clear you have a passion for travel and a talent for storytelling. Thanks for sharing your adventure and inspiring me to add Kamikochi to my bucket list. Keep up the amazing work!

    Reply
    • Thanks! Glad you like it!

      Reply

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About the Bamboo Traveler

Welcome to The Bamboo Traveler, a travel blog dedicated to helping those travelers who want to dig deeply into the history, heritage, and culture of a place. Whether it’s through the pages of your passport or the pages of a book, I’ll help you travel the world and uncover the history, culture, food, architecture, and natural beauty of some of the world’s most fascinating places.

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