Skip to Content

The Ultimate Guide To Kamikochi: A Hikers Paradise In Japan

The valley of Kamikochi truly is one of the most beautiful places you'll ever visit. Kamikochi is situated 1500 meters above sea level and surrounded by tall and impressive-looking mountains.

This beautiful valley is mainly popular with Japanese tourists but remains very much off the beaten track for international visitors to Japan.

The fact that it requires some effort to Kamikochi also contributes to this. Kamikochi is not accessible by car, only by bus.

Also, the valley is only ‘open’ for six months a year, from late April until mid-November. During winter large amounts of snow make Kamikochi inaccessible and everything closes down.

If you love the outdoors, you will instantly fall in love with Kamikochi. In this guide to Kamikochi, you can read about hiking and camping in Kamikochi, as well as tips on how to visit Kamikochi on a budget.

Guide to Kamikochi

Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). We're very grateful when you use our links to make a purchase:-).

Important information about hiking in Kamikochi

View over Kamikochi valley Japanese Alps

All it took to convince me to add Kamikochi to our Japan travel itinerary was one picture in the Lonely Planet and it was so worth it… Hiking and camping in Kamikochi is an amazing experience!

Kamikochi is a beautiful valley found in the Japanese Alps (Nagano Prefecture) and part of the Chubu Sangaku National Park.

Lots of wildlife can be found in this National Park, such as the Japanese Macaque, the kamoshika (a very typical type of goat), and many different birds.

You can buy a map of the Kamikochi area at the Tourism Information Center (see below for a small downloadable map).

The friendly and helpful staff of the visitor center will also give you up-to-date information about the condition of the many hiking trails in the Kamikochi area.

Kamikochi opens at the start of Golden Week in April until mid-November. We were therefore pretty early in season (mid-May) and many hikes were closed as they were still covered in snow.

Please note that there is no ATM in Kamikochi so bring enough cash to pay for your trip.

Admiring the view in Kamikochi Japanese Alps

Plan your Japan trip like a pro with these tools:
Get a Japan Railpass to save lots of time and money.
✅ Rent a car for your Japan road trip via
✅ Stay connected with Airalo Japan offer.
✅ Plan your journey with the Japan Lonely Planet.
✅ Find the best hotel deals on
✅ Join the best tours in Japan via Klook.
✅ Travel safely and get reliable travel insurance from Safety Wing.

Best Kamikochi hikes

Dakesawa hut hike (3-4 hours)

We were lucky that the Dakesawa hike was already open at the time of our visit. It varies from year to year, depending on the amount of snow and the weather.

We started our hike around 9 am from the famous Kappabashi bridge and hiked up to Dakesawa mountain hut (2216 meters above sea level) in about 2 hours.

It’s a 700-meter ascend over a 4-kilometer-long trail. The trail goes through the forest and past huge rock formations.

There was still some snow on the trail, though not too much to make the hike difficult. The views kept getting better the higher we climbed and I couldn't help taking picture after picture.

Kamikochi valley view from Dakesawa hike Japanese Alps

We ended our hike at Dakesawa mountain hut, which marks the halfway point for the hike to Mount Oku-Hotaka Dake.

Unfortunately, that trail was still closed at the time of our visit and judging by the amount of snow up the mountain that was probably for the best.

Dakesawa hike Kamikochi Japanese Alps

After a well-deserved break, we hiked back down, our descent took about 1,5 hours. Don’t rush down as you’ll easily trip over the loose rocks.

Mount Yakedake hike (5 hours)

Mount Yakedake is an active volcano the only one in the Northern Japan Alps and a pretty spectacular one.

It’s safe to say the trail going up Mount Yake is the most adventurous hiking trail I have hiked in my life… The trail involves many ladders, ropes, and chains to help you climb the steep track.

It's a 5-kilometer trail up the mountain, ascending took us 2,5 hours.

Yakedake means ‘Burnt Mountain’ in Japanese and it’s one of the 100 famous Japanese mountains.

The final part of the hike strongly reminded me of climbing Mount Ngauruhoe (a.k.a. Mount Doom from LOTR) in New Zealand because of the pungent sulfur smells and unforgiving angle of ascension.

We climbed through snow and over slippery rocks but finally made it to the 2455-meter high top, 900 meters of climbing, ouch! But the spectacular mountain scenery made it all worthwile…

We were all alone at the mountain top, one of the best places I ever had lunch!

View from top of Mount Yakedake Japanese Alps Kamikochi

After resting for a while we hiked back down, it took us 2 hours and 15 minutes. Please take your time and be careful when descending, it's easy to trip over the loose rocks or when climbing down the ladders.

We were pretty tired after hiking Mount Yakedake and were happy to rest and relax in the steaming onsen at our campsite.

Onsen Konashi-daira campsite Kamikochi Japanese Alps

Other hiking trails in Kamikochi

There are lots of other beautiful trails in Kamikochi. You can hike along the Azusa river to Myojin pond and across the Myojin Bridge (a suspension bridge).

Or go for a nice and easy short walk to the tiny but pretty Tashiro pond (60-90 minute return from the Kappa bridge).

Taisho pond is another must-see. This lake was formed in 1915 when the aforementioned Mt. Yakedake (yes, the same one we climbed) erupted and dammed the Azusa River. The decayed trees in and around the pond are a reminder of the scale of destruction caused by volcanic eruptions.

Finally, if you're looking for an easy hike you can walk from the Kappa-bashi bridge to the Tashiro bridge, cross the bridge and walk back on the other side of the water. We did this in the early morning and saw several Japanese macaques.

Camping in Kamikochi

We stayed at Konashi-daira campsite for 3 nights, the best place (and pretty much the only one) for budget travelers. From the Kamikochi bus terminal, it’s only a 20-minute walk to the campsite.

This campsite was the best of the 4 campsites we stayed at during our one-month trip around Japan.

There was a campsite manager who spoke English, a restaurant where we could have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a blissfully hot onsen. I could have camped in Kamikochi for months…

• Price paid per night: ¥1600/€13/$14,50.
• Click here to see the campsite website.

How to travel to Kamikochi on a budget

Kamikochi is known for being rather expensive, the resorts are very luxurious, and an overnight stay in a mountain lodge will set you back at least ¥8400/€67/$76 (see the Kamikochi accommodation websiteAgoda or Booking).

Note: if you're visiting during the summer months and plan to stay at one of the lodges, online resertations are a must. Kamikochi is a popular destinations for the Japanese and it can get (very) busy here in peak season.

However, you can absolutely visit Kamikochi on a budget! Camping was only ¥1600/€13/$14,50 per night for the two of us.

Don’t skip Kamikochi when you are in Japan! It’s a different side of versatile Japan, a place to disconnect, to enjoy nature and spend your days hiking and marveling at the magnificent scenery. We spent ¥9816/€78/$89 per day as a couple and had 3 wonderful days hiking and camping in the Japanese Alps.

Kamikochi travel budget: important facts and figures

  • In total, we spent 3 days and 3 nights in Kamikochi, I traveled with my husband.
  • I included the costs to travel from Takayama to Kamikochi and to travel from Kamikochi to Matsumoto station.
  • The exchange rate around the time of our visit was approximately €1 = 125JPY (¥) and $1 = 110JPY (¥). Check the current rates on
  • In total we spent ¥29.448/€234/$267 in the 3 days we were in Kamikochi, this comes down to an average of ¥9816/€78/$89 per day for us as a couple.
  • Be sure to take enough cash, there is no ATM in Kamikochi.

Kamikochi travel costs: 4 categories

  1. Campsite: 16% of our costs
  2. Transport by bus: 34% of our costs
  3. Food & drinks: 45% of our costs
  4. Activities: 5% of our costs (we bought a hiking map of ¥100 and bubbled away at the campsite onsen, costing ¥600 per person)
Spring in Kamikochi Japanese Alps

How to get to Kamikochi

Takayama to Kamikochi

From Takayama we traveled to Hirayu Onsen by bus, at Hirayu Onsen we changed to another bus taking us to Kamikochi. Click here for more information about the bus schedule.

Bus ticket Takayama – Kamikochi

We booked our bus ticket at the bus station in Takayama, only a couple of hours before our departure. The price for a ticket is ¥2600 (€21/$24) per person.

Kamikochi to Matsumoto

It’s easy to travel from Kamikochi to Matsumoto because public transport in Japan is so well organized!

From Kamikochi bus station we took a bus to Shinshimashima train station where we changed to a tiny train taking us to Matsumoto. You can read more information here.

Important note: private cars and motorbikes aren't allowed in Kamikochi. You can leave your vehicle at a parking lot near the entrance of Kamikochi and continue your journey by shuttle bus (or taxi).

Combi bus-train ticket Kamikochi – Matsumoto

We booked the combined bus-train ticket a day before our departure, you can do so at Kamikochi bus station. The price for a ticket is ¥2450 (€20/$22) per person.

Kamikochi train to Masumoto

Where to buy food in Kamikochi

We didn’t know if there would be any food available in Kamikochi, there isn't much information available online (in English).

So we bought some food in Takayama (bread, butter, bananas, some snacks to eat on the hikes, and a 1-liter water bottle each, you can refill these, tap water is drinkable in Japan) before traveling to Kamikochi.

It turned out it wasn’t necessary to bring food with us because there is an awesome restaurant at Konashi-daira campsite serving delicious food for very reasonable prices (¥600-¥1200).

The campsite restaurant is open between 7 am – 1:40 pm for breakfast and lunch and between 4 pm – 5:20 pm for dinner. Yes, I agree that's pretty early for dinner.

Kamikochi travel guide: in conclusion

In conclusion, don't skip Kamikochi when you are in Japan! It's one of the best places to visit and will show you a different side of versatile Japan.

It's the perfect place to disconnect, enjoy nature, and spend your days hiking and marveling at the magnificent scenery.

We had a great time and I hope this Kamikochi itinerary and guide will inspire you to visit this unique destination in the rugged northern Japanese alps.

You can download the budget breakdown and a map of Kamikochi below. Please also buy a map at the Tourist Information upon arrival, this one is just to give you an idea of the layout of Kamikochi.

Check my Japan page if you want to read more about travel in this great country!

This post was updated in February 2023.


Friday 4th of June 2021

Hi Lotte, Thank you for all your information & this is really help to me. Im really excited to visit Japanese Alps in next month. I have 2 questions; Actually I like to travel alone, So Is it safe to stay in a camping site for a girl, alone? and 2nd one is Is it safe to hike near by treks alone? thanks in advance..


Monday 7th of June 2021

Hi Manohari,

Most welcome! I hope you have an amazing time in the Japanese Alps, it's still one of the most beautiful places I've seen:-) Regarding your questions, while I was traveling with my husband I definitely feel it's safe to travel as a single woman to Kamikochi. The campsite isn't remote and there are always other travelers around. Before setting out for a hike I suggest dropping in with the Tourist Information Center and telling them about your plans. Not because I feel it's unsafe to hike alone as a woman, just because hiking alone (regardless of your gender) is always a bit of a risk. If you get injured, at least somebody will know you are out on the trail. Again, have a wonderful trip!

Best regards, Lotte


Sunday 8th of March 2020

Hi Lotte, The trip looks really amazing! I was wondering, the camping site you were at provides fixed tents, so you don't have to bring your own material. Did you take this option? I would love to camp there a night, but I wasn't sure if with the tent they also provide a sleeping bag? I didn't think so. They also rent gear, like blankets and floor matts, but a bag is not among them.


Monday 16th of March 2020

Hi Annelien,

Apologies for taking so long before replying to your comment. Camping in Kamikochi is wonderful indeed:-) We carried a tent, sleeping bags and sleeping mats with us but yes, the site does offer fixed tents. However, from the information provided on their site, I don't think they rent out sleeping bags. Perhaps you can reach out to the campsite manager via email? There is an email address provided in the information sheet (

Enjoy your trip to Kamikochi!!! Lotte

Lynn Nguyen

Thursday 15th of August 2019

Were your buses/trains not covered by the Japan rail ticket? Or is there a reason you opted not to use the pass?


Thursday 15th of August 2019

Hi Lynn,

We didn't have a regular Japan Rail Pass, only a pass for the Kansai area and the Alps were not included. Also, I think the local buses are not included anyway because they are operated by JR. Hope this answers your question!



Wednesday 16th of May 2018

Wow, Lotte, there are such wonderful views at Kamikochi! I`ve always wished to visit Japan someday and now I know exactly where I want to go! Thanks so much for the info about the budget!


Thursday 17th of May 2018

Hi Brooke,

Thanks, happy to hear you like the Kamikochi pictures and budget information. It's such a beautiful place, enjoy your time there!



Thursday 24th of August 2017

Lotte I read your hiking in Kamikochi, were there any bears and how did you prepare for any possible bear encounters?


Thursday 24th of August 2017

Hello Shin,

Thanks for reading my Kamikochi post! I didn't see any bears but there are black bears in the Japanese Alps. I recommend carrying a bear bell and bear spray with you. Hope this helps, enjoy your trip:-)