Kamikochi, with its mountainous scenery and large areas of undeveloped nature, is one of the most popular hiking spots in Japan.
The road to Kamikochi is restricted to buses and taxis only. Private vehicles are not permitted to enter. Only by bus, either from Matsumoto or Takayama. Not as difficult as it may sound to get here. The Alpico Group runs scheduled buses to between Matsumoto - Kamikochi - Takayama. (the trip from Matsusmoto to Kamikochi takes around 2 hours) http://www.alpico.co.jp/access/express/index_e.html
- Kappabashi Bridge. The suspension bridge is the symbol of Kamikochi. If you're there early enough in the morning (between 5 and 6:30 am), you may see the local monkeys make their morning crossing from one side of the bridge to the other.
- Taisho Pond (大正池). Very nice pond with dead trees and view on the mountains
Hike and enjoy the greenery and mountain air. Enjoy one of the most spectacular mountain views Japan has to offer. There are multiple hikes (mostly flat) available from the Tourist Centre - where the busses drop you off. You can tailor your hikes according to how much time you have to spend there.
Popular souvenirs from Kamikochi are generally foods and sweets made locally or from local produce, such as various jams, apple cheesecakes, and soba cookies.
Kamikochi is most known for its sweets, so Kamikochi ice cream and cheesecakes are quite popular. Because Kamikochi is a famous place for hiking and enjoying nature, there are limited restaurant options with most being located on each side of the Kappabashi Bridge. There are a lot of kappa-themed goods, as well, since the bridge is called "Kappa-bashi".
Along the river are several hiking lodges, most with dining rooms, and a campground renting tent sites. A more expensive option is to pre-book at one of the Ryokan and Onsen in the surrounding area. Bus connections run from the site until about 4 or 5 o'clock.
Onward buses to Takayama or Matsumoto; depart 1500h in the afternoon latest. Alternatively, you can stay a night in one of the surrounding Oku-Hida Onsen Villages and enjoy a spa after a long day of hiking. The last bus to Hyrayu Onsen village departs Kamikochi bus terminal at 1700h and costs approximately ¥1000 one way.