Once the huts close for winter, Kamikochi empties.

During the summer, hikers form long, snaking queues along the valley trails, destined for their mountain of choice. Now, the area is more populated by less-evolved hominids: Japanese macaques crowd the forests casting their childlike calls across the valley, resolutely ignoring any humans they do encounter. In November, the upper slopes of the mountains are blanketed in snow, but lower down, things aren’t quite so severe; skeletal silver birches still cling to their last leaves and the grasses are green with the autumn rain.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.