Yes and no. But I am more leaning towards the yes.
But let’s not jump to any conclusions.
Let me throw out some questions, and you can decide if Kamikochi is worth visiting.
Are you a Nature Lover?
If this is a “Yes, I am a nature lover”.
Then definitely Kamikochi is worth visiting.
You can tell if you are nature lover if
If you score 3 out of the 5 above, you will feel heavy-hearted to skip Kamikochi.
If you score 5 out of 5, you will regret if you missed-out Kamikochi.
To put it simply, if you are nature love, Kamikochi is definitely worth it.
How much time do you have?
If you are in a time-crunch, I will not recommend Kamikochi to you.
There is no point of you visiting for the sake of having to be able to say, “I’ve been there”.
The true enjoyment of going to Kamikochi is really about going slow.
Set a slow pace and enjoy each step along the Nature Fivesense Route.
You can lie on the lakeside and enjoy the view.
Basically, do nothing and just breathe.
It is possible for your to just touch-and-go Kamikochi in just about 2 to 3 hours.
But as I said, what is the point.
I would recommend that you dedicated at least half a day for Kamikochi.
You could take a day-trip from either Nagano or Tokyo with the available tours. Read our analysis on Kamikochi Tour: Paid vs Self-Guided.
In conclusion, Kamikochi is worth it if you have time to spare.
Are you heading towards Takayama or Matsumoto?
If going from Takayama to Matsumoto, vice versa, I don’t see why you should skip Kamikochi.
You can plan a 5 hours stopover at Kamikochi en route to Takayama / Matsumoto.
There are checkrooms in the Kamikochi bus terminal where you can keep your luggages.
Or better, you can plan a night at Kamikochi before heading out to Takayama or Matsumoto the next day.
In short, Kamikochi is worth it if Takayama and Matsumoto is already a part of your plan.
Am I going to see the same scenery?
Most people are worried that they spent the whole day seeing what they could have seen in other places.
Well, one thing for sure, it could be similar but never the same.
Nature is not man-made. There is no replica.
In other words, you are guaranteed a unique scenery.
Experience wise, the only place that gives the same feeling as strolling along the Azusa River was the stroll along the Sho River in Shirakawa-go.
Honestly, Kamikochi is worth it if you love a better mix of strolling along rivers and resting at lakes.
Kamikochi vs Shin Hotaka Ropeway
The Shin Hotaka Ropeway is on the other side of the Alps.
You cannot see the beauty of the Kamikochi from Shin Hotaka Ropeway.
Experience wise would really be different too.
The Shin Hotaka Ropeway will be more relax and enjoy the view.
On the other hand Kamikochi will be more walk, sweat and enjoy the view.
Kamikochi is worth it if you are an outdoor person.
Kamikochi vs Magome-Tsumago Walk
The Magome-Tsumago Walk is a famous for the Nakasendo trail that was the passage connecting Kyoto and Tokyo during the Edo period.
It takes about 2 to 3 hours to complete. See Tsumago-Magome route map.
Whereas Kamikochi is famous for the Nature Fivesense trail.
It takes about 2-3 hours from Taisho Pond to Myojin Pond. See Nature Fivesense route map.
Both takes about the same amount of time to complete.
Magome-Tsumago is more historical and you will walk by the historical buildings.
Kamikochi is pure nature walk for the with minimum architectural interference.
Kamikochi is worth it if you are a nature lover rather than a historian.