Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route (立山黒部アルペンルート)


The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route (立山黒部アルペンルート) is a unique and spectacular route through the Northern Japan Alps, which is traversed by various means of transportation, including cablecars, trolley buses and a ropeway. The route is particularly famous for the high snow walls that line some of its roads in spring.

Japan Guide

We traveled from Tokyo to Nagano via Shinkansen and a bus from Nagano station to Ogizawa by bus. You have to exchange for your ticket for the whole route at Ogizawa(扇沢) Station (don’t lose it! as this is the only ticket that you would be using the entire route.) For the alpine route, tourist can choose to either ascend from Ogizawa and descend to Toyama or the other way round. 1 way journey from Ogizawa to Toyama would cost around 10,000JPY.

Kurobe Dam would be celebrating its 50th year anniversary this year.


Kanden Trolley Bus, electric powered buses transport travelers through the tunnel between Kurobe Dam and Ogizawa. The one way journey takes 15 minutes

Japan Guide

Electric buses are used in the mountains to reduce the gas emission from diesel or petrol. View of the mountains from the Kurobe Dam. It was a fascinating sight.

Everyone would take a walk at the tallest dam in Japan to Kurobe Station for our next ride up.

During the summer, there are presentations of water being discharged which is supposedly to be a spectacular sight.


Kurobe Cablecar runs entirely inside a tunnel, which is a rarity among cablecars and the 5 minutes journey up to Kurobedaira

Japan Guide


Tateyama Ropeway is a 1.7 kilometer long ropeway operates without any support towers between the lower and upper stations, making it Japan’s longest one-span ropeway.

Japan Guide


Daikanbo (大観峰), this is the transfer station between the Tateyama Trolley Bus and the Tateyama Ropeway. The small station has an observation deck with great views of the mountains.

Japan Guide

Tateyama Trolley Bus, also running on electricity which runs through a tunnel to bring bus loads of tourist up to the peak.

The main big reason why we headed to Kurobe during this time of the year instead of Autumn for the red leaves. The majestic snow corridor that runs mid April to June 11 for 2013 at Murodo (室堂) at 2450 meters

Almost 1.5 months since the snow corridor had open and the snow has been slowly melting though there is still much snow to play around with. 🙂

Weather was great that day when we went up.

The highest point for the snow this year is 18 meters but some of it had melted and is currently at 16 meters.

Temperatures have been soaring so the snow is slowly turning slushy and many people were drawing and leaving their messages on the snow wall.

They even made a snow calendar to explain to the tourists why we see many vertical lines running across the snow wall, mainly due to the different textures of the snow that fell during the winter. Some weeks were just snow, some days were ice and some days were yellow sand.

Much of the snow at the peak has not melted and some advanced hikers were hiking up to the peaks.

We did the simple lower land hiking course but as we didn’t have the right gear so the 30 minutes hiking course turned out to be 1 hour in the melting snow.

Some were even skiing and check out the difference in gears/wear for the advanced hikers and tourists.

Lagopus muta (雷鳥), the prefecture bird for Tateyama.

For the journey from Murodo to Bijodaira Station would be the 50 minutes highland bus which would give us a ride through the snow corridor before we depart. There are 2 lines for the bus ride down where you can choose to go straight down to Bijodaira (美女平) or the 2 stops along the way.

More beautiful snow scenery as we make our descent down where we would alight at Midagahara (弥陀ヶ原) at 1930 meter altitude where we would be spending the night.


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  1. Trackback: Kamikouchi Daytrip (上高地) | Xuan's Howdy Days

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