The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is an incredible and scenic route through the Northern Japanese Alps. You can travel along the route via various transportation methods such as cable car, ropeway and shuttle bus, not to mention a bit of walking. This route was completed in 1971 and connects Toyama City with Omachi City in Nagano. The Murodo snow corridor section is open for a limited time each year (usually April until June) but you are advised to check the exact dates before you go.
There are two places where you can start this well-known journey: Shinano-Omachi Station and Tateyama Station. If you have a JR East Pass, then you can easily reach Shinano-Omachi Station in Nagano via the JR Shinkansen Oito line. The pass will cover the whole route until Shinano-Omachi Station.
The journey takes around 6 to 8 hours, depending on how fast you go. It also depends on how busy the route is – as everyone travels at different speeds and there could be some congestion during peak times. Different attractions are located along the route, and the Tateyama mountain scenery is one of them! Depending on the season you go, you will be greeted with different scenery. During fall, you will get to see all the beautiful colours and in winter, you will get to see the entire mountain range covered in snow.
Another attraction on this route is the Kurobe Dam, which is the tallest dam in Japan. You will be able to walk on top as you make your way to the next station. As you go, you will get to see the beautiful lake that is formed by the dam and a ferry tour that will take you around the lake if desired.
The highest point that you can reach is Murodo, and here you will be able to hike and stay the night if you wish. There are a number of hiking trails available and also hotels to stay at, or huts to rent if you wish to. When you reach Murodo, you will be able to explore the short hiking trail around and you will get to see the mountains up close. There is also a public onsen in Murodo, so for those of you who are doing a day trip, you will be able to experience an authentic mountain-top onsen hot spring.