Today I got up early again in order to make my train to Shin-Shimashima and then the connecting bus to Kamikochi National Park. Kamikochi is a national park often compared to Yellowstone, however, it is much smaller in size than Yellowstone. It is nestled in the mountains in the western part of the Nagano Prefecture and has some amazing views. There are miles and miles of trails going through the park and I ended up walking almost all of them. When I got off the bus, I found somewhere to stash my suitcase and I started walking. My map indicated there was a small shrine to a mountain kami about 6 km away from the bus stop. Again, I had an extensive amount of time and I decided it would be worth it to hike to the shrine. Even though Kamikochi is a popular destination for the Japanese and the trails were a little crowded, the walk was very peaceful. The sounds of the birds and the monkeys in the distance made the walk go by quickly. Along the way, I passed some beautiful landscapes.
I made it all the way to the shrine, but I was a little disappointed as it wasn’t much to look at. After that, I stopped at a small rest stop to have lunch and I had tempura soba which was very nice. It was nice to relax, eat, and look out at the mountains, although I soon realized I did this for a little too long and I had to set a blistering pace on the 6 km hike back to the bus stop so I didn’t miss my bus. On the way back, not paying much attention to anything but my pace, a little monkey hopped out in front of my from underneath the boardwalk, so I had to pause for a brief photo shoot.
Kamikochi is heavily populated with the same monkeys that I saw at Konbayashi Onsen. I quickly made it back to the bus terminal in time to get to Hiraya Onsen and then catch my connecting bus to Takayama. On the way there, I crossed the prefectural border into the Gifu prefecture.
Tomorrow, I tour Takayama and then leave for Ise. See you soon!