Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route (Nagano) 立山黒部アルペンルート（長野）
Outstanding alpine views, and adventure galore
Also referred to as the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, this spectacular sightseeing journey connects Nagano and Toyama prefectures through a gorgeous stretch of the Northern Japan Alps. One for the adventurer in you, the trek involves multiple modes of transit, breathtaking views, and plenty to explore along the way.
- Always beautiful whatever the season
- The famed Tateyama Snow Corridor in spring
- Shomyo Falls, the highest waterfall in Japan
How to Get There
If you're traveling from the Nagano side, the Alpine Route starts in Omachi, and the closest transport hub to the route is Ogizawa Station.
Take the Oito Line from Matsumoto to Shinano-Omachi Station. From there, a 40-minute bus ride will connect you to Ogizawa. Buses also run between Nagano City to Ogizawa, and the journey takes a little under two hours.
The route's maiden voyage was in June 1971
The whole route involves six transfers and if followed consecutively takes about five hours
The crossing is open from mid-April until late November
It's all about the journey, not the destination
Starting from Omachi in Nagano , the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route attracts many adventurous travelers to the city of Toyama , as the bulk of the Alpine Route passes through Toyama Prefecture . Along the way, you'll travel with an eclectic collection of transportation modes including trains, buses, cable cars, a ropeway, and two trolleybuses, the last of their kind in Japan. These will carry you through Mt. Akasawa and Mt. Tateyama.
Taking in the sights
The journey requires a little trekking over Kurobe Dam , which, at 186 meters, is the highest dam in the nation. You can walk it in 15 minutes, but it's worth taking your time to take in the views. Between June and October, the dam releases a continuous torrent of water. You can take a cruise on the reservoir during this time as well.
Touching the sky
The 1.7-kilometer Tateyama Ropeway offers incredible views of the reservoir and the surrounding peaks. Murodo , the highest point along the route, is the starting point for a variety of hikes and treks, including those ascending Mt. Tateyama, Toyama Prefecture's highest peak. Murodo also features Japan's highest hotel.
Visit Hell's Valley
Nearby Jigokudani is worth an excursion. Its name in English translates to the very apt Hell's Valley, famous for its steaming volcanic activity.
Incredible snow canyons
The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route closes in late November when winter rolls through the area. Visit in April to witness firsthand just how heavy the snow gets. This is the time of year when the famed Tateyama Snow Corridor draws visitors who come to see the towering walls of snow on either side of the road that can reach a massive 20 meters high. The corridor is most impressive around the Midagaraha and Murodo areas, and it's open to pedestrians from April until mid-June.
As the mountain transforms with the seasons
During the summer, verdant mountains stretch far along the landscape, and alpine flowers burst into bloom. Autumn along the route is famous for its incredible red and golden hues. Like other Nagano areas, the leaves at higher elevations reach their peak colors during late-September, gradually spreading down to the valleys over the following month.
Hunt out the discounts
You can buy tickets at each stop, or a single ticket for the whole route in Ogizawa and Toyama. The tickets are valid for five days and let you stop along the way. Backtracking isn't permitted. There is also a special Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket available at a discount for travelers with a foreign passport at certain transportation hubs throughout Japan.
Exploring Omachi further
While you're in Omachi, try stopping off at one of the area's many hot springs. The world-class ski resort of Hakuba is nearby and has much to offer during the green season, too. If you haven't spent time in Matsumoto yet with its famous castle, now is your chance.