The extensive transportation system in Japan encourages exploration and if you enjoy hiking in the refreshing mountain air, then a visit to the beautiful Chuba-Sangaku National Park, stretching across the Nagano, Gifu and Toyama Prefectures, is a must. From the scenic views of the Kurobe Dam holding back the emerald lake waters to the impressive 3,000-meter snow-covered peaks and the crystal waters of the Asuza-gawa that connects them, it is a breathtaking scene to experience.
Catch the bus across from the Matsumoto JR station for the 90-minute ride up to Kamikochi in the mountains. If you disembark at the Taisho-ike stop, you'll have a pleasant hike along points of interest including the Taisho-ike that's filled with interesting metallic green, blue and brown sediments, and a plaque along the Asuza-gawa honoring the British missionary, Walter Weston, who is credited with introducing the area to the world and coined the phrase: Japan Alps. As you near the Kappa-bashi, there are a variety of hotels, shops, and eateries to refresh yourself before catching the bus back. Kamikochi is open from April to November and is a worthwhile visit.