With Japan’s summer around the corner I can’t help but miss that roadtrip to Nagano last fall.
We rented a car and Yacchan drove us up to Kamikochi to catch some red leaves. Stopped by Matsumoto on the way too.
Wandered around Matsumoto Castle for a while as the sun was setting. Headed up further towards Kamikochi.
I don’t have many pictures from the first day since it we were mostly on the road, but yeah. We stopped by Matsumoto.
The famous Matsumoto Castle.
Roamed around and found a shrine.
By then, the sun was beginning to set.
Though this was actually during early fall somewhere in October, Nagano has lots of mountain areas and so the temperatures there were much lower than Tokyo. By lower, I mean we were hitting about 8 Celcius by sundown and 1 Celcius early morning. And all I had on was a t-shirt, a hoodie, and a Uniqlo Blocktech windbreaker. In hindsight, I should’ve packed my Heattech. I just wasn’t expecting it to be that drastic of a difference from Tokyo’s weather. Boy, was I wroooooong. Nagano was cold.
Since our car pickup was around Haneda where Yacchan and I were housed at, we started pretty early in the morning. Driving to Nagano basically took up most of the first day. By the time we reached Kamikochi, the sun had set and we checked in to our inn. It was really quiet up there. The inn wasn’t full at all. I think apart from us, there were only a couple other groups of people in our inn. Place was pretty nice with hot springs for a good soak. But like I said, it was pretty cold. The open-air outdoors hotsprings were really not that hot… But the view was amazing.
We headed up the mountain for a hike the next morning! That’s what we were there for. Let’s go catch some red leaves!
First off, we had to get a cab to get us up there because cars can’t go in all the way to where we were hiking. The driver was really nice so he brought us to stop by a lake on the way up.
At this point, it was just cold as baaaaalls. I could see frost on the fencing. This is some painting-like scenery, though. I was a stranger to misty-breath so I got all excited.
On towards Kappabashi! This was gonna be the place that we were gonna start hiking at.
Kappabashi is actually the name of the bridge that goes across this river, but it marked the location.
I never really knew much about hiking because I’m a nerd but I did learn some hiking Japanese etiquette that day. They greet one another with “konnichiwa” everytime they pass someone going in the opposite direction.
This one’s a pretty easy, Alexis-friendly hike. Translation: lots of flatland, very nice. I was just freezing most of the time because I was underlayered but you know, the air was really crisp and you get to reconnect with nature.
Aaaaaand then we reached the other bridge/stream we were hiking towards, after what felt like forever.
Lotsa people were having a rest on the logs. We did too, and took our lunch before heading back to the starting point.
This trip was my third trip out of Tokyo since I’ve been here. I try to travel once per season, to explore more of Japan and its beauty.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post! It’s actually my first entry since I’ve returned to blogging after so long. More to come soon!
Some useful links to people who would like to plan a trip to Nagano:
1. Matsumoto Travel Guide (Japan Guide) – their cherry blossoms typically bloom Late April ~ Early May!
2. Kamikochi Travel Guide (Japan Guide)
3. Japan Alps KAMIKOCHI Official Website
4. Optional Bonus: Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route (Japan Guide)
I’ll most likely be uploading some archived pictures of my trip to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route sometime!