Kamikochi hikes (上高地)

Kamikochi is the gateway to the Kita Alps, and the scenic valley is the perfect place to set up base camp and explore the surrounding hills. Although most of the higher peaks are much too huge and difficult to do in one day, there are a few great walks and hikes listed below that can easily occupy your time for a few days. The best place to be based is definitely Onashidaira (小梨平) campground, which is only a 10-minute walk from the bus terminal. Be sure to grab the tent sites closest to the river if you can, since the ones in the forest lie along the main hiking path to Karasawa and Mt. Yari, which can be quite noisy.

This site has a lot of current information on Kamikochi, including some discount accommodation.

Taisho Pond

Myojin Pond

Mt. Yake

5 Comments on “Kamikochi hikes (上高地)”

  1. Mandy Says:

    Thanks Wes! Terrific job on the site – you’ve helped so many people (including myself)!

  2. Jonathan Higgins Says:

    Hi there.

    Love this blog – such a great resource.

    Quick question:

    Can you/do people hike in Kamikochi in late Feb/early March? I do lots of winter hikes in the Scottish Highlands and have all the kit (4 season tents, 4 season sleeping bags etc.) and am reasonably experienced (some mountaineering, but mostly hill walking, trekking).

    Are there options at this time of year?

    What about wild camping? Are there some suitable multi-day trips where this Is this done?

    PS – I don’t speak any Japanese if that might be an issue.



    • wes Says:


      Cheers for checking out the blog. I hope that the information has been useful.

      Although Kamikochi is closed to vehicular traffic in the winter, hikers do go into the area for snowshoeing and they camp in the valley. There will be plenty of snow to melt for water and there no avalanche danger in the valley itself, but you’d need to be careful of snowslides if heading up to the alpine.

      Here is an article about accessing Kamikochi in the winter. This is about a guided tour, but you don’t need to join a tour if you have experience and can secure transport to the entrance tunnel (taxi should be available for hire from Shin-shimashima station)


  3. Benoit PHILIPPE Says:

    Hi there,

    I have experience in alpine hiking through three seasons(mostly in France but also New Zealand and South america), except winter because i don’t have the gear, and i plan to go in Kamikochi area beginning of June, is there still a lot of snow on the peaks at that time of the year, is it possible to hike the ridges between the peaks without crampons and a lot of stuff, just good boots and trekking poles?
    I also would like to know if i can leave my tent in security all day when i’m exploring around, because no one talks about it.
    Should be all good as between hikers it’s always fair, but you never know. I was thinking to base my tent at Yokoo campsite, to be right at the botom of the mountains and stay there a good week to explore.
    Thank you very much for the blog and all those informations,
    Thank you from frog land

  4. Chenkang Huang Says:

    Hi I’m CK from Taiwan.
    I want to see the famous sunrise at Karasawa at 2023 Oct. And as I know, it is hot season.
    My plan as below:

    D1: bus station >tokusawaen (I think I only need to start to ho to tokusawaen around 3pm that is quite enough)

    D2: started at 6am from Tokusawaen > Hotakadake Sanso Hut穂高岳山荘. (I choose here because I can’t bear to sleep crowd and side by side with a whole room of stranger at Karasawa/ and it seems no more than 1 hour to make it to Hotakadake Sanso Hut)

    D3: Enjoy the sunrise and back directly to bus station.

    1.how do you think about my plan?
    In fact I really want to shorter to maybe just stay one night at Hotakadake Sanso Huy. I expect to arrive and start to climb from bus station around 10~11:00am. And I am a light pack trail runner, I’ve reviewed a lot of journey and they all said climbing simply to Karasawa takes more than 6 hrs- which is quite confuse me because for a trail runner the 9km trail normally can be finish with in no more than 4 hrs.
    PS: I’m not going to have a big bagpag. Will only with my jacket,raincoat,light,water,energybar this kind of light and most used for emergency things. Will get main food/bed only in hut, which can make my bag light a lot.

    2.Seems like Hotakadake Sanso Hut穂高岳山荘 can book the room that is truly private, right? (Dont need to sleep beside a lot of strangers like Karasawa.)

    (I said Tokusawaen rather than Yokoo is because Yokoo can only reservation before one month. Which is quite dangerous for a foreigner with fix schedule like me, and I need to get my room precisely. Especially in October.
    Otherwise who doesn’t want to stay at cozy Yokoo hut! Haha

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