Hi there. I am Masa.
Two weeks ago I went out from Tokyo and enjoyed seeing colored autumn mountain.
Friday night I stayed in Matsumoto city which is located 220 km from Tokyo, at the foot of mountain range, “Japan Alps”. Japan Alps was named by a British mining engineer in the 19th century. And Matsumoto is the gateway city of north Japan Alps.
Matsumoto is also well known by its beautiful Matsumoto-jo castle.
There are many castles in Japan, which were built in the 16th century and the 17th century, but most of them were burned down by the ancient battles or the air assault at the World War second.
But Matsumoto-jo castle was survived from them and now designated as a national treasure right along with the other three castles like Himeji-jo castle that is also registered in UNESCO world heritage, Hikone-jo castle and Inuyama-jo castle.
Look at this beautiful picture I took! It is lit up and reflected the moat water. Maybe my camera skill is good ;-), but it is just so — photogenic!!
Next day we visited Kamikochi for hiking, where is in the National Park around 1500m above sea level.
To conserve the environment, accessing to Kamikochi by our own cars is prohibited. So I parked my car and took a public bus. I got off a public bus at Taisho-ike pond where is the entrance of Kamikochi. I did hiking about one hour to head to Kappa-bashi bridge.
Kappa is a water spirit that is a creature of fantasy (See wikipedia page for more information about Kappa). The bridge is named after this creature and it is so much loved by people as a symbol of Kamikochi. The scenery of mountain range with Kappa-bashi bridge is so popular.
The season to visit Kamikochi is almost over and they will hold the closing ceremony of this season on 15th of November. There are about 15 hotels in Kamikochi. Most of them will close the business until they will open again next April. The opening event will be held on 27th of April, 2014.
Spring to autumn, lots of tourists and climbers visit Kamikochi. But in winter time, only climber who has proper gears can access to Kamikochi because of its coldness and heavy snow.
<<How to get there>>
Shinjuku to Matsumoto
2.5 hours by JR or highway bus
Matsumoto to Kamikochi
1.50 hours by bus or train
There are many hotels in Matsumoto.
I stayed in Matsumoto Marunouchi hotel close to Matsumoto-jo castle.
That’s all for today. I’ll write again when I travel next time.