Trends in Japan > Food & Travel > Charming Tateyama-Kurobe
Alpine Route Ranked One of Japan's Top Tourist Spots

The Kurobe Dam.


The "Snow Corridor."

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route runs from the Japan Sea coast of Toyama Prefecture to Nagano Prefecture in central Japan. Tateyama Kurobe is one of the most popular mountain tourist spots in the world and was rated third by foreign tourists who were asked which sites they would recommend to other visitors in a Japan National Tourist Organization survey.

Cable Cars, Buses, and Ropeways
Almost the entire Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route between Tateyama Station in Tateyama, Toyama Prefecture and Ogisawa Station in Omachi, Nagano Prefecture runs through the Chubu Sangaku National Park. The Alpine Route is less than 25 kilometers long as the crow flies, but it goes up and down with the mountains: the highest point is about 1,975 meters above the lowest point.

The different modes of transport used to travel along the route, a result of the severe climate and environment, offer spectacularly varied views. First you take a cable car from the starting point Tateyama Station, built on a mountainside, up 500 meters along slopes as steep as 29 degrees to Bijodaira. From there, the Highland Bus takes you to Japan's highest railway station, Murodo - a journey that in the spring guides you through a "snow corridor"of 20-meter-high walls of snow.

From Murodo Station, you take a trolley bus through a tunnel to Daikanbo, where you will find the Alpine Route's only observation deck. The ropeway from Daikanbo to Kurobedaira, however, offers such panoramic 360-degree views that it is often called a "revolving observation deck."From Kurobedaira, you take Japan's only underground cable car to Kurobeko Station, on Lake Kurobe. A walk along a dike takes you to Kurobe Dam Station.

One of the attractions of the Alpine Route is the unique experience of going up a mountain slope, then underground, and then over ground.


Tateyama Ropeway.

Dynamic Scenery
Mount Tateyama has been revered as a sacred mountain for over thirteen centuries and is one of Japan's "three holy mountains," along with Mounts Fuji and Haku. Tateyama Murodo, halfway through the Alpine Route, is Japan's oldest surviving mountain hut and has been designated a national treasure.

The Alpine Route was opened through this inhospitable terrain in 1971, following the opening of the Kurobe Dam, a symbol of Japan's economic growth and technological prowess. The difficult process of building the Kurobe Dam was even turned into a movie. First a road to transport construction materials for the Kurobe Dam was built, followed by the arduous construction of the Tateyama Tunnel, which enabled the Alpine Route to turn the region into a tourist attraction.


Mikuriga Tarn.

The Kurobe Dam, one of the world's largest hydroelectric dams, is today one of the Alpine Route's highlights. The water discharges between June and October are an impressive sight for visitors.

The Alpine Route offers a variety of attractions and courses. Although heavy snow closes the Alpine Route between December and March, from April to November outdoor enthusiasts can hike, walk, or trek while enjoying the dynamic views offered by the Northern Alps' 3,000-meter peaks and the steep Kurobe Valley. (July 2008)

Page Top

Copyright (C)2008 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.