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The Majestic Japan Alps

  • The Nature and Seasons of Japan
  • Matsumoto Castle - A National Treasure

The Nature and Seasons of Japan

With the colorful changing seasons, the peaks of the northern Japan Alps have soothed and stirred the hearts of many a traveler. Tateyama Kurobe is the ideal place to experience Japan’s four seasons. Why not make a visit to enjoy the scenery and the different seasonal activities?

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

Welcome to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, a Resort Area Encompassing a Majestic 3,000-Meter-High (3,281 yards) Range of Mountains.

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is a magnificent mountain route that winds through around 90 kilometers (56 miles) of incredibly steep peaks reaching past 3,000 meters (3,281 yards) in height. The route features several unique methods of getting to and fro, including the Tateyama Ropeway that overlooks the Tateyama mountain range, a cable car that is completely underground, and a trolley bus that runs through a tunnel. Travelers can enjoy walking, trekking and touring around from any stop along these routes.

Seasonal Sights

Seasonal Sights

Springtime: The Valley of Snow
(“Yuki no Otani”)

Otani is an area that gets a considerable amount of snow—more than 20 meters (22 yards) in some years (that's as high as a 8-story building!). Visitors can enjoy walking along a 500-meter-long (547 yards) path with walls of snow on both sides (known as the “Yuki no Otani Walk”) after the snow has been plowed.

Summertime: Kurobe Dam

Kurobe Dam is the largest dam in Japan, rising up to 186 meters (204 yards) in height with a base length of 492 meters (538 yards). Tourists can enjoy the massive sprays of water from the middle of June through the middle of October. Visitors who come closer to observe the dam can feel the rising mists, making the cool 20°C (68℉) temperatures of Tateyama feel even cooler and more refreshing. Also, a cruise ship makes 30-minute sails around Lake Kurobe in the summer, reaching an altitude as high as 1,448 meters (1,584 yards)—the highest cruise in Japan.

Autumn: The Colorful Changing Leaves of Kurobe-Daira

The autumn leaves that stretch out over the Kurobe-Daira that can be seen from the Tateyama Ropeway are simply breathtaking. Due to the differences in elevation along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, visitors are able to see these beautiful leaves somewhere on the route for about a month-and-a-half from the middle of September to the beginning of November. Also, depending on the place, you may be able to see snow on the peaks, autumn leaves in the middle elevations, and lush green colors at the base of the mountains—a rare contrast indeed to enjoy.

Yuki no Otani

The snow is removed at Yuki no Otani by using a GPS to find the road, which is packed far below the surface under massive layers of snow. The thick snow is and then shaved off layer by layer, as if by a sanding plane, using a 30-tonne bulldozer.

Kurobe Dam

Built at the highest altitude of any dam in Japan, Kurobe Dam cost 51.3 billion yen, and a total of 10 million workers were involved in its construction. It took seven years from the start of construction until the dam was completed in 1963.

  • The Nature and Seasons of Japan
  • Matsumoto Castle-A National Treasure


Date Visited: November 16, 2012

Photos and Information Provided By: Tateyama Kurobe Kanko Co., Ltd.
Tourism Association for the Town of Tateyama

All rights are reserved for images on this website. Copying or reusing the images on this site is prohibited.

Matsumoto Castle-A National Treasure

Walking 15 minutes north from Matsumoto station through the city, you’ll find a beautifully kept Japanese garden, amidst which Matsumoto Castle with its black and white contrast makes its appearance. Now a national treasure, Matsumoto Castle still stands as it was during the Warring States era of Japan as the oldest surviving castle in Japan. The castle can be seen against a panoramic background of vast nature and the magnificent scenery of the northern Japan Alps.

Matsumoto Castle
Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle

Take an Adventure into 400 Years of History with the Romantic Spirit of Japan’s Oldest Existing Castle

Now a national treasure, Matsumoto Castle is said to have been constructed between the years of 1504 and 1521. Its five-story castle towers were completed in 1594, and it remains as the oldest castle in Japan today as it was during the Warring States era.
During the 400 years that have passed since the castle was built, it has survived changes in lordship and braved possible demolishment, among other challenges. Many visitors who come to unravel the historical tales behind Matsumoto Castle and tour the inside of the castle towers find themselves especially attracted to this place.

Matsumoto Castle’s Largest Rock

The largest rock to be found at Matsumoto Castle is the “Genba-ishi”, which measures 3.69 meters (4.06 yards) in height and weighs approximately 22.5 tonnes. This massive rock is an impressive testimony to the strength of those who had built the castle.

A Delicious Way to Eat Soba

People usually eat zaru-soba (chilled buckwheat noodles on a platter) by dipping it into a small cup filled with a thin sauce that contains seasonings such as wasabi or grated daikon (white radish). However, there’s another way to enjoy your soba, as explained below.

Our Recommendations: A Great Way to Eat Soba
(1) Try the soba noodles first, without dipping them in anything. Enjoy the smell and sensation of the noodles in your throat as you swallow them.
(2) Next, add just a bit of seasoning to the noodles, dip the noodles about a third of the way into the sauce, and relish the blend of the taste of sauce and soba noodles.
(3) Last, add the remainder of hot water that was used to boil the soba noodles to the remaining sauce, and take your time to enjoy the soba’s flavor.

  • The Nature and Seasons of Japan
  • Matsumoto Castle - A National Treasure


Date Visited: November 12, 2012

Photos and Information Provided By:
Matsumoto City Hall
General Corporation-Matsumoto Tourism & Convention Association
Soba-dokoro “Yamatou”

All rights are reserved for images on this website. Copying or reusing the images on this site is prohibited.