Friday, July 01, 2016

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route

31 May 2016

It was a bright and shiny day today, so we were positive to get a good view of Mt Tateyama in the Japanese alps. We will be journeying through the "Roof of Japan", traversing Mt Akazawadake (2678 m) and Mt Tateyama (3015 m), using different types of vehicles,  from Ogizawa in Nagano perfecture in the east to  Toyama in Toyama perfecture in the West. The ticket of the Alpine route cost JPY 9490 and covers:
1. Kanden tunnel trolley bus from Ogizawa to Kurobe dam (16 mins, 6.1 km)
2. Walk from Kurobe dam to Kurobeko ( about 500m, take your time and enjoy the view. Do climb up the stairs to the dam observation deck for a more spectacular view). This is free, of course
3. Kurobe underground cable car  from Kurobeko to Kurobedaira (5 0mins, 0.8km)
4. Tateyama ropeway from Kurobedaira to Daikanbo (7 mins, 1.7 km)
5. Tateyama tunnel trolley bus from Daikanbo to Murodo (10 mins, 3.7 km)
6. Tateyama highland bus from Murodo to Midagahara (option to stopover) to Bijodaira (50 mins, 23 km)
7. Tateyama cable car from Bijodaira to Tateyama station (7 mins, 1.3 km)
8. Toyama Chiho railroad from Tateyama station to Toyama station (1 hour, 34 km)

The Tateyama Kurobe alpine route. Image taken from its website

For us, our journey started from Matsumoto. So we first took the local train from Matsumoto station to Shinano Omachi ( JPY 670, 54 mins), departing at  7.15 am. At Shinano Omachi, we went to the Alps Roman Kan souvenir cum baggage delivery shop, not too far away from the station. We paid JPY 1300 each for our backpacks to be delivered to our hotel in Toyama - Toyoko Inn Toyama. We then walked to the bus stop going to Ogizawa. We paid JPY 1360 for the bus from Shinano Omachi to Ogizawa which took about 40 mins (18 km). The bus was already waiting so we immediately boarded and departed at 8.30am

local train from Matsumoto to Shinano Omachi

inside the train

ticket from Matsumoto to Shinano Omachi

Alps Roman Kan souvenir cum baggage delivery shop

bus stop to Ogizawa

bus ticket from Shinano Omachi to Ogizawa
counter to buy Tateyama Kurobe alpine route ticket at Ogizawa
Ogizawa station

Tateyama Kurobe alpine route ticket from Ogizawa to Toyama

Of course, the journey is not just about taking the various modes of transportation, but more importantly, enjoying the breathtaking views of the Japanese alps. There are observation decks at each of the station, and at Kurobe dam, Murodo, Midagahara and Bijodaira, you can opt to trek / take sightseeing walks:
1. At Kurobe dam, you can take a scenic or cruise course on a cruise ship
2. At Murodo, there are the Mikurigaike pond return, Mikurigaike pond loop and Raichozawa return treks, and of course the Snow Wall (or Yuki-no Otani) walks to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Japanese alps
3. At Midagahara, you can take the Tateyama caldera viewpoint trek, boardwalk short or long loop, enjoying the wetlands at 2000m above sea level
4. At Bijodaira, there are the short, medium and long loop treks to enjoy the view of the cedar forest

We spent our time taking the scenic course at Kurobe dam, climbing 220 stairs to the observation deck, then walking across the dame. Next at Kurobedaira, we went to the viewing deck to enjoy up close views of the mountain peaks. The ropeway journey to Daikanbo may be a bit scary to those with vertigo, but the view is simply breathtaking. From the exit of the ropeway, we again went to the viewing deck and were rewarded with panoramas of the snow capped mountains and Kurobe dam lake.

trolley bus from Ogizawa to Kurobe dam

trolley bus inside the tunnel

the stairs to observation deck

Kurobe dam lake

Mt Tateyama and Kurobe dam

Kurobe dam

walk across the dam
cable car to Kurobedaira

inside the cable car

cable car tunnel

view of Kurobe dam lake from Kurobedaira

inching closer to Mt Tateyama. notice the ropeway cable

garden at Kurobedaira

ropeway to Daikanbo

view of lake from ropeway

getting closer to Mt Tateyama

Next is the highlight at Murodo. We went to walk through the Snow Wall. The wall wasn't as high as at its peak, but the wall was still visible. It was slippery navigating through the Snow Wall maze, so it's better to wear the slip on spike attachments for your shoes, which we didn't bring along for this trip. But I suppose you can buy them from one of the shops here as I saw one selling hiking equipments. We then went towards the Mikurigake pond, a volcanic crater lake, but it was too slippery to walk on as the route was still heavily covered by ice. The pond is cobalt blue in colour. We managed to get a glimpse of the pond, and then returned to Murodo terminal to take the bus for a stopover at Midagahara.

we are here at Murodo! (2450m)

the snow wall is not that high in end of May
the snow wall

snow covered Murodo

snow covered route to Mikurigake pond

snow covered route to Mikurigake pond

Mikurigake pond

at the rooftop of Japan!

We only stopped for a while at Midagahara, taking a short walk on the boardwalk. From the bus we could see small ponds formed on the wetland. We then proceeded to Bijodaira by bus. Along the way, the bus slowed down at the spot of the Sendo cedar tree, one of Japan's biggest trees and the Shomyo falls, with the video on the bus giving the information. We didn't venture out at Bijodaira, taking the next available cable car to Tateyama station to catch the train to Toyama at 4.15pm

high altitude wetland. notice some small ponds
otw to Midagahara

boardwalk at Midagahara
boardwalk at Midagahara
view from Bijodaira

We finally arrived at Toyama station around 5.30pm, then walked to our hotel Toyoko Inn Toyama (JPY 7020/room/night). Our backpacks already arrived so we immediately checked in to our room. At Toyama, we only stayed in the room for the night as our transit point to Takayama the next day. Toyama is quite a big city with tram facilities and is located near to the Japan sea.

inside train to Toyama
JR Toyama station. Dentetsu Toyama station is just beside it

comfy bed
room facilities at Toyoko Inn



Post a Comment

<< Home