Summer’s Recommendation! “Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route” Connecting Toyama and Nagano

About Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is one of the most famous mountain sightseeing routes in the world. It goes through the Hida Mountains, aka Northern Alps, consisting of mountains around 3,000 meters above sea level. Until the completion of the whole route on June 1, 1971, there was no way, on foot nor even by car, to cross the border between Toyama and Nagano prefectures, due to the severe natural environment. Since the opening of the route, people can easily go around by several transportation means through the spectacular nature for 37.2 km from “Tateyama Station” in Tateyama Town, Toyama Prefecture, to “Ogizawa Station” in Omachi Town, Nagano Prefecture. There are six means of transportation. From Tateyama Station, you can take Tateyama Cable Car, Tateyama Highland Bus, Tateyama Tunnel Trolley Bus, Tateyama Ropeway, Kurobe Cable Car, and Kanden Tunnel Electric Bus, in this order to get to Ogizawa Station. You can start from Toyama City as a starting point and get to Omachi City in Nagano Prefecture in one day through the route, but it is highly recommended to stay overnight in the middle of the route to more fully enjoy the spectacular view.

Unique environmentally-friendly vehicles are in service

At Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, unique environmentally-friendly vehicles, which contribute to preservation of Tateyama’s natural environment, are actively utilized.

Tateyama Tunnel Trolley Bus

(3.7 km between Murodo and Daikanbo, 10-minute ride)

It runs through Tateyama Tunnel, which passes directly underneath Oyama, the main peak of Mt. Tateyama (altitude 3,003 meters) and is located at the highest altitude for tunnels in Japan. The official definition of a trolley bus in Japan is “a train without a rail.” Therefore, it looks like a bus but is classified as a type of railway train. It runs with tires just like regular buses and its operation uses handles, but it is equipped with a power collector on its roof, which receives electricity from wiring (trolley) for power to drive.

Tateyama Tunnel Trolley Bus
Tateyama Tunnel Trolley Bus

Tateyama Ropeway

(1.7 km between Daikanbo and Kurobedaira, 7-minute ride) 

Supported only by wires, without pillars, for aesthetic and environment-protection reasons, this ropeway connects two points with a difference in altitude of 488 meters and a distance of 1.7 km. There is no obstacle to the view from this ropeway, so you can have a great panoramic view with the great landscape of Ushiro-tateyama mountain range in the foreground and the beautiful emerald green of Lake Kurobe underneath.

Tateyama Ropeway

Kurobe Cable Car

(0.8 km between Kurobedaira and Kurobeko, 5-minute ride)

For nature preservation and snow damage prevention purposes, an underground cable car runs on a steep slope with a difference in altitude of 373 meters and a maximum inclination of 31 degrees. The vehicle, which was used at the time of the opening of the cable car service in 1969, is still running to transport passengers. Walk for about 15 minutes from Kurobeko Station and you will be at Kurobe Dam. From the Kurobe Dam Observatory, you can look down at the entire dam. Enjoy the great landscape with the dam.

Kurobe Cable Car

Kurobe Dam

Great view spot “Mikuriga-ike” Pond

Serving as the terminal of Tateyama Tunnel Trolley Bus, Murodo Station is located at the highest altitude (2,450 meters) among Japanese railway stations. Walk for about 15 minutes from the station, you will come to one of the best view spots on the Alpine route, called “Mikuriga-ike” pond. During summer and autumn seasons, you can see a mystical view of the dark blue water of the pond reflecting the mountains. The pond is usually covered with snow until mid-June, and as summer approaches the snow gradually melts to reveal a blue lake surface. An onsen hotel, “Mikuriga-ike Onsen,” located near the pond, has 100% natural hot spring water with a scent of sulfur from the nearby hot springs that feed an indoor bath, with a good view for both males and females, without adding water nor reheating the water. Immerse yourself in natural hot spring water above the clouds and enjoy the grand view, and you can be healed and refreshed. Enjoy a drop-in-visit bath.

Great view spot “Mikuriga-ike” Pond

Mikuriga-ike Onsen


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The information herein is as of July 2019
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