As you approach Kamikochi, the valley opens onto a row of towering mountains: Oku-Hotaka-san is the highest, at 10,466 feet. Mae-Hotaka-san, at 10,138 feet, is on the left. To the right is 9,544-foot Nishi-Hotaka-san. The icy waters of the Azusa-gawa flow from the small Taisho Pond at the southeast entrance to the basin.
There are many hiking trails in the river valley around Kamikochi. One easy three-hour walk east starts at Kappabashi, a small suspension bridge over the crystal clear Azusa-gawa, a few minutes northeast of the bus terminal. Along the way is a stone sculpture of the British explorer Reverend Walter Weston, the first foreigner to ascend these mountains. Continuing on the south side of the river, the trail cuts through a pasture to rejoin the river at Myoshin Bridge. Cross here to reach Myoshin-ike (Myoshin Pond). At the edge of the pond sits the small Hotaka Jinja Kappabashi (Water Sprite Bridge). To see the beautiful Taisho-ike, head southeast from Kappabashi for a 20-minute walk. You can rent a boat (¥800 per half hour), or continue 90 minutes farther east to Tokusawa, an area with camping grounds and great mountain views.