trip report by site editor Rick McCharles
I’m in Japan for up to two months — including 3wks with an all-you-can-ride Japan Rail pass.
First up — Kamikōchi:
… a remote mountainous highland in the western portion of Nagano Prefecture …
… the entire highland is protected as part of the Chūbu-Sangaku National Park, access is only granted to bus, taxi and local workers’ vehicles. …
Off to climb Mt Yari.
Lonely Planet tells me that the cheapest and easiest way to get there is by night bus from a big city.
We arrived 5:30am.
I was one of the few who took breakfast. Most dashed off up the trail. Japanese love to hike early.
The most popular trail to Yari starts leisurely.
Trees are starting to change colour end of September, but not as spectacularly as I had hoped.
Little of the signage is in English — mainly WARNINGS.
This walk along the Asuza-gawa river is famous in Japan.
The “spear” of Mt Yari compels. But it’s not nearly as close as it appears.
It seemed to take forever to reach my destination — the hugely popular complex called Yari-dake-sanso — every step getting steeper. It seems the 1500m (4500ft) elevation gain all happens over the last few kms.
What an amazing location for an alpine hut, only 120m (about 360ft) below the summit.
The highlight of the day, however, was the shocking location of the campground.
Check the sunset view from my tent.
Exhausted, I couldn’t be happier with the adventure so far.
See all my photos from day 1 of this adventure on Flickr