Walter Weston, a British missionary who introduced modern mountain climbing to Japan, first visited Kamikochi in 1891, and returned repeatedly over the course of the 15 years he lived in Japan to escape the summer heat and climb the surrounding peaks. Today, he is commemorated by the annual Weston Festival on the first Sunday of June, preceded by a group hike the day before which traces the original route into Kamikochi up and over the Tokugo Pass from Azumi.
In an academic paper which Weston presented in 1910 to the Japan Society of London, he declared of the Chubu region “that the neighbourhood is probably one of the richest in Japan for variety and abundance of Alpine plants.” Now a national park, the Japan Alps (Chubu Sangaku) area remains one of Japan’s biodiversity hotspots and well worth a visit before the summer crowds set in.
To join the hike, meet at the Azumi branch of the Matsumoto City office in time for a 6AM departure on 6/5. For more details on Weston see here.