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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.

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