| Bonnie Chow
2 Days 1 night in Fukuji Onsen and Kamikochi hiking trip from Nagoya
Have you heard of Fukuji Onsen and Kamikochi?
Fukuji Onsen is part of Okuhida Hotspring Village, a famous hot spring area, surrounded by the Northern Japan Alps in Gifu prefecture. Fukuji Onsen provides easy access to Kamikochi, one of the most popular hiking trails in Japan. Both Fukuji Onsen and Kamikochi are in Chubu Sangaku National Park.
Okuhida Hotspring Village consists of five hotspring (onsen) villages, each unique with different hot spring sources. It has more than 100 outdoor baths where you can soak surrounded by nature especially it is the best place to enjoy the Japanese’s favorite Yukimi-buro (winter scenery in an open-air hot spring). Fukuji Onsen is relatively unknown among foreigners but popular among Japanese for the exceptional hot spring quality, tranquility as well as traditional ryokan (Japanese-style Inn) experience. It is also called the Emperor Spring because Emperor Murakami recuperated here in the 9th century.
Kamikochi means “where gods descend” in Japanese, and spectacular alpine scenery can be seen in every season. Its beauty is similar to heaven with crystal clear river streams, active volcanoes, forests, and wild animals such as Japanese monkeys and ducks. Be aware that Kamikochi is only open from late April to 15 November every year.
What are the recommended schedule and the main sightseeing spots in Fukuji onsen and Kamikochi?
The recommended schedule is as follows:
Arrive at Fukuji Onsen
Drop off your luggage at the ryokan before check-in
Hiking on Fukujiyama(8km in 4 hours) (Optional)
Enjoy the hot spring at the ryokan before dinner
Spend the night in a traditional ryokan
Soak in the open-air hot spring before breakfast
Explore Fukuji Onsen morning market and foot spa Yadori-yu
Depart for Kamikochi
Enjoy a two-hour walk around Kamikochi and lunch (Taisho pond to Kappa Bridge)
Depart for Nagoya
The Fukujiyama trekking course departs from Fukuji Onsen to the summit of Fukujiyama. It is 8km long and the round trip takes approximately 4 hours to complete: two and a half hours to climb and 1 hour and 45 mins to descend. The slope is gentle and you can enjoy hiking easily without the need for heavy equipment. Climbing uphill requires stamina so it is recommended to bring a lunch or snack to recharge during the journey.
Sites on the Fukuchiyama trekking course include four observation points that let you overlook the Northern Japanese Alps. It is especially beautiful in spring and autumn, with views of the snow-capped mountain and autumn foliage. The view from the top of the mountain is overwhelming! It is an excellent location with a panoramic view of Mt. Hotaka, Mt. Yakedake and Mt. Norikura,w and Mt. Kasagadake. This trekking course is considered as intermediate level as there are several uphill and downhill trails.
Fukuji onsen morning market
This morning market is open all year round from early morning to 11:00 a.m. It sells different kinds of local products such as locally grown vegetables, seasonal fruit, Hida-sansho seasoning (citrus herb mix), hoba miso (miso paste grilled on a magnolia leaf), and specialty products. Visit here after eating breakfast at the ryokan.
15th April - 14th November: 6:30 - 11:00 am
15th November - 14th April: 8:30 - 11:00 am
Foot spa Yadori-yu
This facility is exclusively for guests staying overnight in Fukuji Onsen all year round from 9 am to 9:30 pm After visiting the morning market, it takes 5 minutes to walk to this foot spa. Enjoying an indoor foot spa in a traditional old Japanese house while watching the Japanese gardens through the windows is a special experience. Do not miss checking out the interior of the house to see the hearths and huge wooden beams!
Kamikochi walking course from Taisho Pond to Kappa Bridge
The walking course starts from Taisho Pond and ends at the Kappa Bridge. It takes 1 hour and 5 mins to finish this course. Taisho Pond was created by the eruption of Mt. Yakedake in 1915 and you can enjoy the spectacular mountain scenery of the Hotaka range and Mt. Yakedake. When it is not windy, the reflection of the Hotaka mountain range is magnificent especially when the mountains are snow-capped in spring and autumn. From Taisho pond to Tashiro Bridge, there is a 1.9km walking trail where you can find clear streams, wildflowers, marshes, and forests. If you would like to see the azure waters of the Azusa River clearly, you can choose to walk on the Azusa River trail. After reaching the Tashiro Bridge, two paths lead to the Kappa Bridge, you may choose to walk on the path on the left in autumn as there are numerous huge Ginkgo trees on the right side which turn golden yellow in mid-October. The autumn scenery in this path is picturesque that it stays forever in your memory. Finally, you reach the Kappa bridge, a suspension bridge, and the famous photo spot of Kamikochi, that you cannot miss. A relaxing lunch or coffee break near Kappa Bridge is recommended. It takes 5 minutes from Kappa bridge to the Kamikochi bus terminal where you can take the bus back to Hirayu Onsen then to Takayama.
Lunch and dessert
If you would like to oversee the Kappa Bridge and the Hotaka mountain range while having a delicious meal, check out Gosenjaku kitchen and Gosenjaku hotel. Food starts from ¥990 and you can also take this chance to taste the cuisine of Nagano prefecture, such as Sanzoyuyaki chicken (crispy fried chicken marinated in a garlic sauce), buckwheat noodles, and Shinshu rice pork cutlet bowl. Don’t forget to try the apple pie from ¥780 at Gosenjaku hotel as the apples in Nagano are always sweet!
How do I go to Fukiji Onsen from Nagoya?
From Nagoya, you can either take the JR train or public bus to reach Takayama. It takes 2 hours 10 mins by the JR Wide View Hida train or 2 hours 30 mins by the public bus. The one-way train costs ¥5,610 whereas the one-way bus fee is relatively cheaper at ¥3,100. Upon arriving at Takayama take the Shinhotaka-line to Fukuji onsen by public bus for ¥1,800 for 1 hour and 10 mins.
It is also possible to reach Fukuji Onsen by car from Nagoya in 3 hours but it snows in the Okuhida area in winter therefore the roads are slippery. Change to snow tires before heading to the Okuhida area if you plan to travel to Fukuji Onsen in winter.
How do I go from Fukuji Onsen to Kamikochi and from Kamikochi to Nagoya?
From Fukuji Onsen, you can take a public bus to Hirayu Onsen bus terminal for 12 minutes for ¥160, then change to Kamikochi bus line and ride from Hirayu onsen to Taisho Pond for 16 minutes for ¥910. Please note that private cars cannot access Kamikochi so if you drive, please park your car in the Akandana Parking Lot and take the public bus to Taisho Pond of Kamikochi Line from the parking lot. The parking and bus fees are ¥600 and ¥910 respectively. After getting off the bus at Taisho Pond, you can start walking to Kappa Bridge.
How do I go back to Nagoya from Kamikochi?
From the Kamikochi bus terminal, you can take the public bus to Hirayu onsen bus terminal for 25 mins For ¥1180. Upon arriving at Hirayu onsen, you can take the public bus back to Takayama in an hour for ¥1,600. From Takayama, you can either ride on the JR train or public bus heading back to Nagoya for approximately 2 hours 30 mins. Please note that the Kamikochi bus line is running a special timetable at the moment to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please check the updated bus schedule from time to time before departure.
If you are looking to go hiking and have a relaxing trip in nature, this is the perfect trip for you!