Given this was our 5th visit we had deliberately booked a ryokan with room facing the Mt Hotaka range for 2 nights. Our original plan was to follow the walking trails to Tokuzawa or maybe Yoko-o as day trip and to buffer for any adverse weather conditions.
It turned out the plan did cater for the latter case only. On the afternoon when we arrived heavy rain and strong wind was ravaging and getting dark. Thus, we did not venture to go anywhere after checking into our ryokan beside Kappa-bashi (bridge). On the next day wind subsided a bit though rain had been persistent. Rain clouds and mists simply obscured almost all the summits – not even the closer Mt Yakedake can be seen 🙁 We only walked the smaller loop between Kappa-bashi and Tashiro-bashi, while the trail heading to Taisho-ike was closed due to flooding.
Kamikochi in rainstorm
Luckily, the sky cleared up (after typhoon Lan and its rainbands had passed by Japan) upon daybreak prior to our departure, with snow-covered Mt Hotaka range in the background, layered bands of koyo and almost perfect reflections from Taisho-ike !
At last, mother nature and Kamikochi were kind to all visitors in showing off her grandeur. When we arrived at the Taisho-ike observatory point around 8am, there were already a dozen of photographers focusing on the same target after the rainstorms had finally dispersed 🙂
Kamikochi in grandeur
From Kamikochi to Yudanaka onsen via Matsumoto
While we were on the Alpico bus returning to Shin-shimashima, we wondered where the beautiful Mandarina ducks have gone. They were either swimming in Taisho-ike or moving precariously along the river banks during our past four visits. Meanwhile, there were heavy cranes and other machines operating at the far end of Taisho-ike close to the entrance. Hopefully, those lovely birds are still living happily in this closest paradise on Earth.
During the descent, there were gorgeous koyo on either side of the mountains/slopes. After arriving at Matsumoto, we picked up a car and dropped by Matsumoto Castle again.
We then visited Obuse – a small garden town less than 1 hour from Nagano city. As it was the harvesting season of chestnuts, there were plenty of those products for sale.
==> Yudanaka onsen – Yoroduya