WEATHER

WEATHER IN THE JAPANESE ALPS

The weather varies throughout the seven destinations in the southern region of Chubusangaku National Park; there are four distinct seasons and a rainy (tsuyu) season from mid-June to late-July.

Seasons are the same as others in the northern hemisphere but due to higher elevations, the seasons vary in length and severity.

SPRING: APRIL-JUNE

Spring begins in the middle of April as the snow begins to melt and the new growth begins to surface. It’s important to know that destinations below about 1,000 - 1,500 m like Okuhida Onsen Village, Norikura Kogen, Shirahone Onsen, and Sawando Onsen are open for business year-round whereas Kamikochi and the mountain huts at higher elevations are only open from Spring to Fall.
Mountain huts throughout the park begin opening their doors around the end of April as the melting snows allow. The higher peaks, such as Mt. Yari, Mt. Hotaka, and Mt. Jonendake, are all still completely snow-covered in spring, so crampons, ice axes, and experience are essential.

* Rainy season normally affects this area from late June to late July.

SUMMER: JULY-AUGUST

The rainy season usually starts in late June and lasts about a month. However, even during this period, there are days when the skies are clear, and some experts believe these are the best times for hiking. There are few people on the trails, and alpine flowers of all varieties begin to make their appearance, presenting a colorful contrast with the remaining snowfields. For rainy-season hikes, however, it is best to choose routes where mountain huts are already open because the weather is fickle and some trails may not yet be fully restored after winter damage.

The peak summer climbing season begins after the rainy season ends, usually in mid- to late July. All the huts are open, the summits are snow-free, and most can be climbed without any special equipment. Naturally, this is a popular time for people to visit. The best plan is to hike earlier in the day, as afternoon squalls are a regular occurrence. From late August, Japan’s typhoon season begins, and the crowds (and numbers of alpine flowers) steadily decrease.

AUTUMN: SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER

The next high season runs from late September through mid-October, when the forests change from the lush green of summer to their autumn colors. The change begins at the higher altitudes and works its way down as the days get cooler.

Fall colors are incredible throughout the entire region and can be enjoyed while hiking, cycling, or from the comfort of a traditional Onsen Ryokan.

The contrasts are even more breathtaking after light snowfalls, which begin in October and become heavier and more frequent as autumn progresses. Temperatures can drop drastically, so if you are planning to head outdoors be sure to carry appropriate hiking wear to prevent hypothermia. This is also when the mountain huts and destinations at higher elevations begin closing for winter so be sure to check availability before traveling.

WINTER: NOVEMBER-MARCH

Snowfall is heavy in the Northern Alps, backcountry skiing and snowboarding and high elevation approaches are possible but should only be attempted by highly experienced people. All but very few of the huts are closed. However, visitors can still enjoy many other activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoe hiking in destinations at lower altitudes.

* It is common to experience snowfall through April.

WHEN TO HIKE

From November to June, the mountain peaks in Chubusangaku National Park are covered in snow—inaccessible to all but the most expert climbers. The peak hiking season runs from late July until mid-August, when temperatures range from 15°C to 25°C at lower altitudes and from 5°C to 15°C at higher altitudes. Earlier in spring and later in autumn, temperatures can be more than 20 degrees lower. Please use this information on the weather and the rainy season to plan your trip.

Articles on Hiking

GETTING HERE

The southern region of Chubusangaku National Park is easily accessible by train and bus from major city centers like Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka.

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ACCESS WITHIN THE AREA

There are a variety of ways to get around the area. We have made a simple list below to help you choose the best option for you.
  • PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
    Buses and taxis are the main form of transportation within the area.
  • PERSONAL CAR

    Personal cars can be driven to some areas in the region.

    * Private cars are restricted from entering Kamikochi, Mt. Yari, Mt. Hotaka, and Mt. Norikura.
  • BICYCLE

    This area can be accessed by bicycle during the warm season months.

    * Mt. Yari and Mt. Hotaka are not accessible by bicycle.

DESTINATIONS

The southern region of the Chubusangaku National Park is made up of the 7 alpine destinations below which can be easily accessed from Takayama and Matsumoto.
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