A getaway from urban Japan to beautiful nature
The Central Alps of Japan contain some of the more traditional architecture and experiences. It's a unique setup where the infrastructure is really well laid out, and there aren't nearly as many people out getting into nature, but rather viewing it from afar. Makes for a more personalized
Where to go
Takayama is a town staying true to traditional Japanese styles. The main attractions are incredible beef, sake and soy breweries, and the nice little shops and stalls at Miyagawa Morning Markets 飛騨高山宮川朝市. Kamikochi is the real attraction though, with beautiful high peaks and gorgeous turquoise glacial waters. Matsumoto is a beautiful little stop as well while transiting to and from Kamikochi.
Things to do
- Miyagawa Morning Markets 飛騨高山宮川朝市 for lovely stalls of food and local crafts, such as handmade chopsticks.
- Kusakabe Traditional House/Folk Museum 日下部民芸館 for a historical experience.
- Kappa Bridge 河童橋 - the quintessential shot for Kamimkochi, and the spot closest to the bus station. It's also the hub for hotels and for restaurants, and where a majority of people will stay.
- Myojin Bridge 明神橋 - a nice walk away from Kappa Bridge.
- Dakesawa Marsh 岳沢湿原 - as it was flooded, the marsh was covered by a layer of glacial water that made the scenery exceptionally sparkly.
- Dakesawa Hut 岳沢小屋 - a solid hike up from the Dakesawa marsh and up a steep set of stairs through some snow fields to a lovely hut where we had hot curry. A great way to get out into the mountains and away from tourists and see the valley from up higher.
- Matsumoto-jō Castle 松本城 - one of the best kept castles, a really interesting historical account of feudal era Japan. Definitely recommend stopping by if you get a chance!