About the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route
The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is, as the name suggests, one of the routes that will take you up the Japanese Alps. The Alpine region is nicknamed the roof of Japan and has many high peaks and deep valleys to explore. The way to the top of the mountain is famous in Japan as you’ll take various modes of transportation like a cablecar, trolleybus, ropeway, and more from one side of the mountain range to the other.
In Japan people have long believed that there was a god residing on Mt. Tate and this resulted in pilgrims seeking solace or redemption to visit the mountain in droves. From the 19th century onward the reason for visiting Mt. Tate slowly changed from religion to enjoying the unique nature.
If you want to go make your way across the Alpine Route, you need to go to Murodo, the highest point of the Alpine Route. There are two ways to get to Murodo, either from the Nagano side or the Toyama side of the mountain range.
The Nagano Prefecture side to Murodo starts from from Ogizawa. From Ogizawa you’ll travel to the top of the mountain via various modes of transportation past sites like Kurobe Dam, the tallest dam in Japan with a fascinating history, Daikanbo, an observation deck with a spectacular view, and more. After 2.5 hours you will arrive to Murodo from where you have an amazing view from the top over the Alpine Route.
The Toyama Prefecture side of the mountain range takes you past other nature sights. First travel by cablecar from Tateyama Station up and go up to Bijodaira, the stop between Tateyama and Murodo Station. This area has a hiking course running from the station past various 1000-year-old cedar trees.
Midagahara, a few minutes by bus from Bijodaira, is a flatland area famous for its flora and its iceblue lakes.The Shomyo Falls, 20 minutes by bus from Tateyama Station, are the tallest falls in Japan.
Once you get to Murodo from either the Nagano or Toyama side, many attractive sights are waiting to be explored. One of the most famous sights is the 20 meter tall Wall of Snow, which can be seen from April to June.
For those wanting to hike, there are a few nice, light courses from the station of Murodo. Walk to Lake Mikuriga and see the top of Mt. Tate reflected in the water. Just after it is the Blood Ponds, red pools of water which gain their color due to the high level of iron in the water.
Close to the Blood Ponds is Jigokudani, or Hell’s Valley, a sulfur valley where the smell and rising smoke make for a dramatic scenery.
Another point of interest is the Mikuragaike Hot Spring, the highest altitude natural onsen facility in Japan. If you need a rest after a long day, here is where you can rest and get some food.
Tours to Tateyama-Kuroba Alpine Route
General Information about the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
Apr. to Nov・6:00 – 17:00
Transportation fee up to Murodo
Per adult (13+)・Between ¥6,000 and ¥10,000 depending on your end station
Per child (6-12)・Between ¥3,000 and ¥5,000 depending on your end station
Chubu-Sangaku National Park, Kokuyurin, 11 Bunasakasoto, Ashikurajiaza, Tateyama-machi, Nakaniikawa-gun, Toyama Prefecture
How to get to the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
Option 1 Tokyo → Nagano → Ogizawa → Murodo:
1. From Tokyo Station to Nagano (1.5 hours):
Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Kanazawa and get off at Nagano.
2. From Nagano to Ogizawa (1:45 hours)
Transfer at Nagano Station to the express bus bound for Ogizawa and get off at Ogizawa. Private service also available.
3. From Ogizawa to Murodo (2.5 hours):
At Ogizawa, purchase a Alpine Routeticket and get on the trolley bus to Kurobe Dam, the cablecar to Kurobedaira, the ropeway to Daikanbo, and the trolleybus to Murodo.
Option 2 Tokyo → Toyama → Tateyama → Murodo:
1. From Tokyo Station to Toyama Station (2.15 hours):
Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Kanazawa and get off at Toyama Station.
2. From Toyama to Tateyama Station (1 hour):
Take the train of the Tateyama Line from Toyama to Tateyama Station. Upon arrival at Tateyama Station, transfer to the cablecar heading for Bijodaira.
3. From Bijodaira to Murodo (1 hour):
From Bijodaira there is an express bus bound for Murodo.