Hi We are visiting Nagano in late Nov and would like to visit Kamikochi. However, I understand that it will be closed on 15 Nov for winter. We are not planning to hike but to walk around Kamikochi. Could you advise if it is still possible to visit Kamikochi on late Nov 2016? Thanks Regards Eileen
To protect the environment, Kamikochi is only accessible by public transportation. Cars and other private vehicles can’t travel there; so when the buses top running on Nov. 15th there will no longer be any convenient way to access the area. It is possible to hike into Kamikochi, but I wouldn’t consider it a casual activity.
I’ve hiked Kamikochi in winter the past couple years. It’s very possible but you’d do better to have some Japanese knowledge to arrange things. Basically, you can drive up to near Kamikochi and park near one of the taxi companies. Then take a taxi up to the entrance to the tunnel leading to Kamikochi. If you can, try to arrange with the driver when you’ll want them to come back to pick you up. One taxi driver we had once spoke a little English, if you want I can try to find out his name and the taxi company’s name. The tunnel is pretty long, maybe 1.5 or 2 km uphill? And it can be slippery near the entrances. After you’re through that you’ll be in Kamikochi. If there’s a lot of snow, you might want to think about renting snowshoes so you can explore more. But in November it might not be too snowy. It’s very cold in Kamikochi so definitely bring winter gear, coat, waterproof pants, gloves, scarf, hat etc. The weather can also change pretty quickly so be prepared to head back if it looks like a storm is coming. Have fun & good luck 🙂