After consulting a staff at the Visitor Centre, we decided to take the Dakesawa hike instead of climbing the Mount Yake (焼岳). According to the national park staff, snow could be an issue even on the Dakesawa (岳沢) trail as we didn’t have snow crampons with us. Anyhow the Dakesawa trail was still the better bet for us in comparison with Mount Yake. We decided to go as far as the trail conditions allowed.
From Kappa Bridge, we walked northeast in the direction of Myojin Pond (明神池). Soon we reached the picturesque Dakesawa Marsh (岳沢湿原), where a small path led us towards the trailhead of Dakesawa Trail.
At the trailhead, a sign post indicated that it would take us 2 hours to reach Dakesawa Hut. Without snow crampons, Dakesawa Hut would probably be our destination of the hike. From July and September, the Dakesawa Trail would be busy with hikers aiming for Mount Mae-Hodaka (前穂高岳) and Mount Oku-Hotaka (奥穂高岳).
The first hour of the hike was a steady uphill walk in the forest. At midway, we reached a spot called “Wind Cavern (風穴)”, where chilly wind from uphill came down via a gully.
Out of the forest, we reached an open and rocky ravine flanked both sides by high peaks of Mount Hodaka.
We rested upon a pile of rocks. The environment was perfect to devour a can of local tomato juice.
Down below, we could see the Kamikochi Valley, the turquoise Taisho Pond (大正池) and the Akandanayama (アカンダナ山).
In the last half hour, snow began to appear on the trail. The snow was slippery but we managed to climb up step by step.
We met several groups of hikers along the way, including a group of visually impaired hikers and their attentive guides.
Finally, after rough 670m of elevation gain, we arrived at Dakesawa Hut. At 2,216m above sea level, the hut was the highest point for our hike. Nested in the embrace of the Hodaka peaks, the hut enjoyed fine views of the surrounding mountains and Kamikochi Valley down below. A few staff were making repairs here and there.
The notice board at Dakesawa Hut provided information on trail conditions and other useful notes for hikers. From Dakesawa Hut, it would be another 4 hours of steep hiking towards the junction of Mount Mae-Hodaka (前穂高岳) and Oku-Hotaka (奥穂高岳).
Inside the hut, there was a small eatery and souvenir shop.
We gratefully sat down and ordered curry for lunch. The menu was simple and slightly pricey, due to the fact that all food up here were transported by helicopter from down below.
On the desk, chairs and benches offered hikers a lovely spot for rest.
The helipad nearby was essential as most provisions at the hut were transported by helicopter.
Behind the hut, reaching the peaks of Mount Hotaka would take another 4 hours of hiking at least.
We took the same route for the descend.
Too bad we didn’t encounter any wildlife during the hike. With the lovely scenery and pleasant hiking experience, Dakesawa trail offered us a decent introduction to the magnificent alpine scenery at Kamikochi.
It took us less time returning to the trailhead at Dakesawa Marsh (岳沢湿原).
A zigzagging boardwalk took us to a small deck at Dakesawa Marsh (岳沢湿原). We sat down at the edge of the deck to admire the alpine scenery. A leisure stroll took us back to Nishi-ito-ya Mountain Lodge, where the refreshing hot bath awaited for our return.
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CHUBU (中部地方) 2018, Japan, 2018.05.25 – 06.03
Day 1: Tokyo (東京)
1.1 TSUKIJI OUTER MARKET (築地場外市場)
1.2 TSUKIJI INNER MARKET (築地中央卸売市場)
1.3 MORI ART MUSEUM (森美術館), 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT & CAFE KITSUNE
Day 2: Matsumoto (松本)& Kamikochi (上高地)
2.1 MATSUMOTO CASTLE (松本城), Matsumoto (松本)
2.2 “ALL ABOUT MY LOVE”, Yayoi Kusama’s Exhibition at Matsumoto City Museum of Art (松本市美術館), Matsumoto (松本)
2.3 MATSUMOTO PERFORMING ARTS CENTER (まつもと市民芸術館), Matsumoto (松本)
2.4 FROM MATSUMOTO (松本) TO KAMIKOCHI (上高地)
2.5 ARRIVAL IN KAMIKOCHI (上高地), Chūbu-Sangaku National Park (中部山岳国立公園)
Day 3: Kamikochi (上高地)
3.1 MORNING WALK IN KAMIKOCHI (上高地), Nagano Prefecture (長野県)
3.2 DAKESAWA HIKE (岳沢), Kamikochi (上高地)
Day 4: Kamikochi (上高地) & Shirahone Onsen (白骨温泉)
4.1 TAISHO POND (大正池), Kamikochi (上高地)
4.2 RETREAT IN THE JAPANESE ALPS, Shirahone Onsen (白骨温泉)
4.3 MOMENTS OF ESCAPE, Tsuruya Ryokan (つるや旅館), Shirahone Onsen (白骨温泉)
Day 5: Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山)
5.1 CITY IN THE MOUNTAINS, Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山)
5.2 HIDA BEEF (飛騨牛), Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山)
5.3 SAKE (日本酒) BREWERIES, Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山)
5.4 YOSHIJIMA HOUSE (吉島家住宅), Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山)
5.5 HIGASHIYAMA WALKING COURSE (東山遊歩道), Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山)
Day 6: Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山), Shirakawa-go (白川郷) & Ainokura (相倉)
6.1 MIYAGAWA MORNING MARKET (宮川朝市), Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山), Gifu Prefecture (岐阜県)
6.2 OGIMACHI IN THE RAIN, Shirakawa-go (白川郷), Gifu Prefecture (岐阜県)
6.3 SOBA, TEMPLE & LOOKOUT, Shirakawa-go (白川郷)
6.4 RAINY AFTERNOON IN AINOKURA (相倉), Gokayama (五箇山)
6.5 GASSHO MINSHUKU, FLOWER BEDS & RICE PADDY FIELDS, Ainokura (相倉), Gokayama (五箇山)
6.6 CROAKING FROGS AND MOONLIGHT REFLECTIONS, Gokayama (五箇山)
Day 7: Kanazawa (金沢)
7.1 DEPARTURE IN THE RAIN, Ainokura (相倉) to Kanazawa (金沢)
7.2 A SEAFOOD PARADISE – OMICHO MARKET (近江町市場)
7.3 D T Suzuki Museum (鈴木大拙館)
7.4 Kenroku-en Garden (兼六園)
7.5 Oyama Shrine (尾山神社) and Nagamachi Samurai District (長町)
7.6 Nomura Samurai House (武家屋敷跡 野村家), Nagamachi Samurai District (長町)
7.7 Sushi Ippei (一平鮨), Katamachi (片町)
Day 8: Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture (金沢, 石川県)
8.1 Iki Iki Tei (いきいき亭) and Higashide Coffee (東出珈琲店), Omicho Market (近江町市場)
8.2 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (21世紀美術館)
8.3 Kazuemachi District (主計町茶屋街)
8.4 Higashi Chaya District (東山ひがし茶屋街)
8.5 Kaga Yuzen Toro Nagashi (加賀友禅燈ろう流し), Asano River (浅野川)
8.6 AFTERMATH OF KAGA YUZEN TORO NAGASHI (加賀友禅燈ろう流し)
Day 9 & 10: Tokyo (東京)
9.1 Marunouchi (丸の内) & Nihonbashi (日本橋)
10.1 OEDO ANTIQUE MARKET (大江戸骨董市), Tokyo Forum (東京国際フォーラム)
10.2 FARMER’S MARKET, United Nations University (東京国連大学), Aoyama (青山)