The spectacular Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is a unique way to traverse the mountains of Toyama, with various means of transportation available including buses, cable cars, trolley buses, and a ropeway. Spring (mid-April to late June) is a popular time to visit, when the upper sections of the alpine ridges are still capped with snow. The famous snow corridor – a stretch of road that’s lined between two walls of snow packed up to 20m high – is also open to pedestrians.
Other famous spring icons along the route include the raicho (Japanese Alpine Bird) and the minezakura (a type of cherry blossom). The raicho, with its red “eyebrows”, can be found in the high alpine areas. From May to June, the bird’s white winter plumage turns brown-black, making it easy to spot against the snow. The minezakura is a type of wild cherry blossom that likes the cold weather, and grows in Tateyama’s subalpine zone. These pale pink flowers have a darker pink centre, and bloom from late May through June.
Access: The route connects Toyama City’s Dentetsu Station with Omachi Station in Nagano Prefecture, and can be travelled either way.
Address: Tateyama, Nakaniikawa District, Toyama 930-1406
Opening hours: The route is open from mid-April to November
Website: Official Website