Sunday, July 25, 2010

Kamikōchi (上高地)

A few weeks ago, I went with Simon to visit a beautiful region in the northern part of the Japan Alps (Nagano prefecture), known as Kamikōchi (上高地).

I took a train from Nagoya (Ltd. Express Shinano) to Matsumoto city. After meeting in Matsumoto (he was coming from Tokyo) we took a bus to Kamikōchi.

We spent our first day walking around the lake and admiring the mountains that were surrounding it. Perhaps the most famous touristic spot there is the views of Mt. Hotaka from the Kappa bridge.

We stayed in a mountain lodge called Nishitoya (nice place, good service and delicious dinner). The next morning we woke up very early and decided that the mountain we wanted to climb was Mt Nishi-hotaka (西穂高岳) with 2908m of altitude.

After an hour or so, we found ourselves in the middle of the snow without appropriate equipment such as crampons (アイゼン). Although it wasn't the first time for me to climb in the snow, it was for Simon.

Our first milestone was Mt. Nishi-Hodoku (西穂独標) at 2701m of altitude.

Here the hike became quite difficult due to the continuous ups and downs through dangerous cliffs and rocks.

We continued for a while because we really wanted to climb Mt Nishi-Hotaka but finally we decided to go back after reaching the Piramid peak (ピラミッドピーク) at 2740m of altitude. We were quite tired, it was becoming increasingly dangerous and we didn't have the necessary equipment. Plus we had to go back early in order to make it for the bus that would bring us back to Matsumoto (松本).

In Matsumoto, I took the opportunity to visit its castle for an hour before coming back to Nagoya. It was a very tiring hike but I am glad that nothing bad happened to us on those cliffs!!