From Kiso City we headed towards Matsumoto.
On the way, we visited the Chuo Alps, also called Senjōjiki Cirque.
Basically, you take a gondola up some 3000 meters or something like that into the alps of the mountains. And from there, you can hike all the way to the summit.
Up in the alps there was a small hotel, cafe, and restaurant. Other than that, there are a few trails you can follow to the summit. They’re old stone steps, not level or anything like that, so you have to watch your step as you walk.
We would have loved to walk to the summit, but that’s basically a full day venture and we didn’t have the time. Or the equipment, like food and water to bring with us. I didn’t have the right shoes on also. Apparently you can camp at the summit, as there are allegedly clearings to do so, but I don’t know about that for certain.
We still walked around a bit and took in the views though. The air was nice and cool up there. I got an ice cream at the cafe while waiting for the gondola to return, as it runs every 30 minutes.
If you look close enough in some of these pictures you can see small groups of people ascending the stone steps to the top. The path is very windy, so it’s actually much longer than it looks.
In the 3rd picture where I’m facing the hotel / cafe / restaurant area that we came from, I think it took us about 30 minutes to get there. We took the path on the right to get there, and then we went back via the left path in the picture which runs by a small pond area. It’s slow going even on the flat terrain because of the stone steps, you really have to watch your step. Going up to the summit would probably take around 3 or 4 hours, that’s my guess.
After heading back down on the gondola, we continued on to Matsumoto.
Thanks for reading.