Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route & Toyama
By LIHUA ZHAO. Posted on January 23, 2015
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is the main attraction in Toyama Prefecture. The Alpine Route is open from April each year, with 18-meter-high snow walls on both sides. The best season is from April to May, but sometimes the snow remains until August. The entire route is scheduled to be open from April 16th to November 30th in 2015. Many foreign travellers are amazed by the views along the Alpine Route.
There are many types of fare tickets available, and you can also reserve online. I used a round-trip ticket that included all the transportation from Tateyama Station to Kurobe Dam. You can experience different kinds of transportation, such as the Tateyama Cable Car, Tateyama Highland Bus, Tateyma Tunnel Trolley Bus, and Tateyama Ropeway.
On the way to Kurobe Dam, you can also stop at each station to have a walk around the area. Murodo is a beautiful place where you can take a walk or enjoy snowboarding or skiing from April. I took the route to the Mikuriga-ike (Mikuriga Pond), which was covered with ice and snow. Because of the white snow, it was difficult to walk for a long time without sunglasses.
From Daikanbo Station, you can take the Tateyama Ropeway to Kurobedaira Station. The 1.7-km-long Tateyama Ropeway is operated without any support towers between the two stations. It's the longest single-span ropeway in Japan. Again, you have to take a cable car from Kurobedaira Station to Kurobeko Station, which is near Kurobe Dam.
Kurobe Dam is the tallest dam in Japan, 186 m in height. From late June to mid-October, more than 10 tons of water per second are discharged through the dam from early morning until evening. There is an an observation deck located next to the dam where you can view the beautiful scenery. A free museum is located next to the dam, where you can learn the history and construction process of Kurobe Dam.
Tateyama can be easily reached from Toyama, and it's also a beautiful city to visit. From Toyama, you can observe the Tateyama Mountain Range, which forms the Northern Japan Alps. Toyama also has a castle, which was the residence of the lord of the Toyama-han and was later restored as Toyama Castle Park. The castle tower was reconstructed after the second World War and became a history museum.
Iwasehama Beach is located in the north of Toyama, a 10-min walk from Iwasehama Station (Toyama Light Rail). The sunset is really beautiful from Iwasehama Beach. Since Toyama is located next to the sea, it was famous for sea-trading.
The Iwase townscape (岩瀬町並み) is another attractive place with old houses. The town once thrived by trading goods during the Edo Era through the Meiji Era. Well-preserved buildings of trading boat merchants line the street of Iwase-omachi. The most famous house in the town is the residence of the Mori family, who thrived as shipping agents and wholesalers. Although the residence was built around 1880, it is still well-preserved and designated as a national important cultural property.
Lihua Zhao has been living in Japan for 6 years as a researcher in computer science. She loves travelling and hiking in Japan. Now she started to explore the Shoryudo region of Japan (Central Japan).