Tateyama Alpine Route (known as the 'Roof of Japan') is a popular route that takes you across the Japanese Alps to experience many natural wonders (open mid April to November). Aside from experiencing various natural wonders, you also get to experience many transportation modes from cable car, ropeway, tunnel bus, electronic bus, local train / bus, and of course walking. You only need one ticket to take you through the entire route, but there are many connections along the way.
There are many departures at each point of connection, allowing flexibility in planning where to stop for a hike or a rest. But it is best to plan well and leave some room for changes though (I missed my cable car because the local train happened to break down and there were stations I didn't plan to stopover but did because the view was so amazing). The route is very popular during spring (for the snow wall) and autumn (for the autumn colors).
With its high altitude, autumn starts early here in early September. I came late September to view the amazing autumn colors. Unfortunately, rain was pouring down all day, so I could only view the red and orange colors decorating the green mountains through windows or the rain. It was still an amazing view, especially with the fog and rain clouds. It makes me want to come back again on a sunny day both in autumn and spring. This trip was a good introduction to the route, which would allow for better planning in terms of checking the weather forecast before booking the ticket and where to make hiking stops next time.
Find out more about Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route .