For most visitors, picnicking under the soft green larch trees beside the rushing waters of the Azusa River or having their photograph taken at the famed Kappa Bridge is about as close as they will get to wilderness trekking.
But for most people who end up there, Kamikochi is not about relaxation or lazing around. Mountain hiking is what it’s all about, but first a word of warning: Hiking in the Japan Alps which rise to 3,000 meters or more or on any other high mountain for that matter, is not quite a casual Sunday afternoon stroll.
Think several hours of strenuous walking. Think sun stroke. Dehydration. Slipping over. Injured ankles. Lugging a heavy backpack up a steep incline. Sudden weather changes. And very, very basic facilities in huts where you can stay the night.
But despite all the fight, mountain hiking is a very popular pastime in Japan the mountain hut atop Mount Shirouma in Nagano Prefecture can comfortably accommodate over 2,000 people at night during the peak season and on the main trails you are usually never very far from help if needed.
Whoah, a hut for 2000. Isn’t that more like, well a hotel?
As always, for more Japanese adventures you can check out Bastish.net