Kamikōchi, Japan

Situated in a picturesque valley in the Nagano prefecture of the Northern Japan Alps, Kamikōchi is designated as one of Japan’s National Cultural Assets, and is on the list of ‘Special Natural Monuments’ and ‘Special Places of Scenic Beauty’.

There’s restricted access to cars, so it’s an incredibly peaceful place to spend a few days. Hiking trails leave the small village and wind their way up the 18km long valley, with more challenging uphill hikes to the surrounding ski fields.

There’s only a few hotels in Kamikōchi. We stayed at the Hotel Shirakabaso, right near the (somewhat) famous red Kappabashi Bridge. The breakfast and dinner degustation menu featured some of the best food we had in all of Japan. Even more memorable was the awkward looks on the faces of the other western tourists as we all sat in the dining room in our silk dressing gowns… a tradition apparently.

The hotel features a number of onsen (thermal baths) on the property, but there’s more natural ones in the surrounding hills if you want to get your kit off with the snow monkeys.

Kamikochi, Japan

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