Walk in the Valley of the Gods
Set against the backdrop of the Hida Mountains, or North Japan Alps, Matsumoto Castle is an iconic destination. From the top of the castle’s 6-storeys, visitors can look out and upward to the dramatic mountain peaks rising to over 3000 meters in height; and the mountains respond, inviting you into to explore Japan’s dramatic alpine heart.
Nestled high within those mountains, Kamikochi is considered the jewel of the Chubu Sangaku National Park. A true alpine oasis sitting beneath the high peaks of Mt Yari (3180m), Mt Hotaka (3190) and Mt Yakedake (2455m), the valley follows the Azusa River and is home to diverse range of flora and fauna. Hiking trails span-out along the valley floor and follow the river as it meanders north to south, before more advanced hiking and climbing routes ascend to the mountains above.
Known as one of Japan’s most spectacular natural landscapes, access to Kamikochi is controlled in order to preserve its pristine character and important ecosystems including wetlands, ponds, and the sparkling Azusa River which flows down from Mt Hotaka to feed the world below.
Japanese folklore tells that mountains are the source of human souls; born atop the mountain and flowing down rivers to bring life and prosperity of the human world below. As the domain of the gods, mountains have long been revered and also feared in Japan – places where only ascetics or the most hardened, wild people would venture.
As such, Kamikochi’s spiritual importance equals its ecological significance – for Japanese it has long been considered a domain of the gods and should not be missed when visiting Matsumoto.
Located just outside Matsumoto, Azumino is a place of quiet villages, farms and orchards, natural hot springs, lively festivals, and temples and shrines. Easily accessible from Matsumoto and the ski resorts of the Hakuba, Azumino lures visitors with its rural charm and tranquil atmosphere.
Offering a fantastic combination of cultural, culinary, and sporting activities all set against the backdrop of the North Alps, Azumino has endless appeal for visitors wanting to escape the neon and buzz of the cities and retreat to the country. Should that be just what you are looking for, we are happy to introduce the region with 15 Things to Do in Azumino.
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