From Shirakawa-go: Visit Kamikochi & Okuhida Onsen

From Shirakawa-go: Visit Kamikochi & Okuhida Onsen


Nestled high in the Hida Mountains, or North Japan Alps, between Takayama and Matsumoto, Kamikochi is considered the jewel of the Chubu Sangaku National Park. Approximately two hours from Shirakawa-go (via Takayama), Kamikochi is another of Central Japan’s most treasured attractions.


We recommend that you go slow, take your time, and combine your visit to Shirakawa-go with one of Japan’s most spectacular natural landscapes. A true alpine oasis sitting beneath the high peaks of Mt Yari (3180m), Mt Hotaka (3190) and Mt Yakedake (2455m), Kamikochi is a 16 kilometre long valley that 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 the villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama.

Interested in exploring Kamikochi’s natural splendor? From the tranquil beauty of Shirakawa-go, elevate your journey to the majestic Japanese Alps with our ‘(Seasonal) 1-Day Tour from Takayama: Alpine Splendor – Shinhotaka Ropeway and Kamikochi.’ Experience the thrilling heights of the Shinhotaka Ropeway and the serene landscapes of Kamikochi. This tour offers a seamless adventure into the heart of nature, perfect for those seeking to combine their visit to Shirakawa-go with the alpine wonders of Takayama and beyond.

Also, Consider our ‘1-Day Tour from Nagano and Matsumoto: Kamikochi & Matsumoto Castle’ as a captivating option. Though not starting from Takayama or Shirakawa-go, this tour offers an immersive experience in Kamikochi’s breathtaking landscapes and the historic beauty of Matsumoto Castle. It’s a perfect choice for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike, looking to explore beyond Takayama’s borders. Embark on this journey to witness the serene beauty of the Japanese Alps and the rich heritage of Matsumoto.


When traveling to Kamikochi from Shirakawa-go and via Takayama, visitors will pass through Okuhida Onsen – one of the region’s best hot springs localities. Known for its pristine natural setting and many outstanding ‘ryokan’ (traditional guesthouses), most hotels have their own ‘onsen’ (natural hot springs) for the exclusive use of their guests. Also offering traditional service including ‘kaiseki’ (traditional multi-course) dinner, going slow and staying overnight in Okuhida Onsen offers the chance to relax and breathe in the atmosphere of Japan’s mountainous heartland.


Okuhida is comprised of five onsen towns, with Hirayu Onsen located only 20 minutes drive from Kamikochi – a great option either side of visiting the beautiful alpine valley – and just one of Nagano’s many historic onsen towns.

Planning to stay in the Okuhida Onsen area? Our ‘1-Day Tour from Takayama: Hida’s Hidden Gems – Caves, Bears, and the Shinhotaka Ropeway’ is the perfect addition to your itinerary. Explore the mysterious caves, encounter the majestic bears of Hida, and experience the awe-inspiring views from the Shinhotaka Ropeway. For your convenience, we offer drop-offs at accommodations in the Okuhida Onsen Area. This tour blends adventure with relaxation, making your stay in Okuhida both exciting and comfortable. Book now for an unforgettable day of exploration and natural beauty.


Kamikochi is one of Japan’s most captivating outdoor destinations. Following the Azusa River, the alpine valley has leisurely walking trails leading to iconic views of natural features including Taisho-ike, Myojin-ike and multiple mountains including Mount Yakedake, Mount Yari and most famously, the triple-peaked Mount Hotaka. Our ’15 Things To Do In Kamikochi & Where To Stay’ page has lots of great tips and suggestions of things to do and see, including accommodation listings, in and around Kamikochi.