From Matsumoto we went to Kamikochi, which is inside Chubu Sangaku National Park. No private cars are allowed inside the park and we had to take a bus from Matsumoto Station. The bus station had a food stall selling some yummy snacks I had never tasted before - oyaki.
Kamikochi is high in the Japanese Alps, surrounded by Nishihotakadake (2909 m), Okuhotakadake (3190 m), Maehotakadake (3090 m) and the active volcano Yakedake (2455 m).
Photo by Joi
A short walk from the bus terminal is Kappabashi, a suspension bridge over the Azusa River. A kappa is an imaginary creature said to be human-like but in reptilian skin. It lives in water and lures unsuspecting visitors in so it can eat their livers. We didn't see any kappa there, though. We mostly saw trees - deep forests of Keshou Yanagi (a kind of willow, Chosenia arbutifolia) and Japanese larch trees surround the bridge.
We hiked further in, to the tranquil Myojin Pond. We stayed overnight at a little lodge called Kamonjigoya and spent the whole next day hiking.
Photo by Les Taylor
Photo by Kazuhiko Teramoto
Photo by Maiko Aizawa
I was hoping to see a wild kamoshika, because the website for Kamikochi has a picture of one, and it's on one of the Nagano gotochi.
Speaking of next time, leave me a comment and tell me which prefecture you think I should visit in my next fake travel blog!