Glad you're following your thread, Dan M.
As far as I know, mountain huts in the Hotaka-Kamikochi area sell small snacks and beverages only. Yes, they do cater lunches to non-guests. So if you are thinking of something filling, then you should bring yours.
Not sure if you can get hardcopies from this, but see:
Click on the “minus” box on the far right corner above first, and see the blue bar above so that you can see figures fluctuating: longitude and latitude, as you drag your mouse. If you keep dragging it until you come to longitude: 137.5979166707, latitude: 36.578109875842, you get Murodo; to catch Kappa Bridge in Kamikochi, keep going down until your cursor arrives at long137.637583342 and lat36.249022271252.
This won’t help you as much as you’d want, but I guess it’s better than being totally clueless. So for a rough visual image, see the link below. Green line connecting to purple indicates the path leading from the hut in Mt Noguchigoro (located up north in the direction of Tateyama Murodo as you see it from the Kamikochi side) to Yarigatake Hut, which is marked in the map: the biggest white spot clearly visible with a red circumference. From here, Kamikochi is below right: the downstream area on the right-hand side river, which location is outside the rim of the map though.
I don’t blame anyone for the way they say about alps mountain lodges/huts; yet, um, the person, the blog of whom Renga refers to above, calls them ‘expensive.’ Whether a form of satire uttered when he was dead tired but “accosted” by Japanese hikers drinking expensive beer: 1000yens, or something coming straight from the shoulder as a candid assessment, I don’t care. But one thing to note is, they are a godsend: they will never ever refuse you because they know what fate awaits you outside if you have to stay outdoors, because of the elements. Anyway, maybe you don’t call them ‘expensive,’ particularly if you know an overnight stay, i.e., at Yarigatake Hut (with 2meals), costs you only 9000yens… One other thing is, it’s sometimes the veteran staff at mountain huts who take the brunt of the terrible weather to recue people in case of emergency, to find and tend to them, before the chopper-flown uniform-clad rescue team is dispatched.
Edited: 27 April 2012, 20:11