HOME Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route Guide: Don’t Miss Japan’s Incredible Snow Walls!
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route Guide: Don’t Miss Japan’s Incredible Snow Walls!

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route Guide: Don’t Miss Japan’s Incredible Snow Walls!

Date published: 21 July 2020
Last updated: 7 December 2020

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is a mountain sightseeing road connecting the prefectures of Toyama and Nagano, and it’s a top-rated tourist destination for visitors from around the world.

For those of you who may not know everything you will need, or what to bring to best enjoy your trip, we will tell you all there is to know. And we will look into the beauty of the route, as well as how to best access it, and we’ll dive into the “Snow Walls (Yuki-no-Otani),” one of the most popular alpine routes.

The information may change depending on the status of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19).

Table of Contents
  1. What is the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route?
  2. The majestic snow wall is a masterpiece! What is Yuki-no-Otani?
  3. Experience the Yuki-no-Otani Walk up close to the impressive walls!
  4. What kind of clothes should I bring for the “Yuki-no-Otani walk?” Measures against the cold and UV
  5. How to get to the snowy valley and access information
  6. Access information by car for the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
  7. Access by train to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
  8. Access by Highway bus to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
  9. What’s Around Yuki-no-Otani
  10. Kurobe Dam, the highest in Japan
  11. Murodo Area: You might see a grouse!
  12. The ride is the best part!
  13. Get ready and enjoy the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route and Yuki-no-Otani!

What is the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route?

What is the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route?

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is one of the world’s leading mountain sightseeing routes that runs through Japan’s Northern Alps, with its 3,000m mountains. We will cross the tourist route from Ogizawa Station in Nagano Prefecture, to Tateyama Station in Toyama Prefecture, for a total length of 37.2km and a highest point of 2,550m.

Vehicles can access the route, so families with children and seniors can enjoy the magnificent nature and scenery without worries. If you watch the following video, you will get an idea of what the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route is like

One of the best things about the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route is that its attractions and highlights change depending on the season. Particularly amazing, though, are the Snow Walls, known in Japanese as “Yuki-no-Otani”!

The majestic snow wall is a masterpiece! What is Yuki-no-Otani?

The majestic snow wall is a masterpiece! What is Yuki-no-Otani?

The spring tradition of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is Yuki-no-Otani. Immediately after the opening of the entire Alpine route, the Tateyama Kurobe Yuki-no-Otani Festival is held from mid-April to mid-June.

This is where the road between the towering snow walls has been carved out for about 500 meters. The walls are about 20 meters in height, right after the opening of the Alpine route. This is a magnificent sight unique to Murodo, a substantial snowfall area, and there is no doubt you will be amazed by its majesty.

Experience the Yuki-no-Otani Walk up close to the impressive walls!

Experience the Yuki-no-Otani Walk up close to the impressive walls!

At the Yuki-no-Otani Walk, you can walk up the highland to experience the high snow walls from up close. As you can see in the picture, the contrast between the white snow and the blue sky is stunning.

It takes about 35 minutes to walk the full walking path of roughly 500 meters. You can walk on the snow, while admiring the spectacular view of the 3000m mountains on the Panorama Road, which is available only for a limited time during the season.

The following schedule refers to the event that was supposed to be held in 2020, but it has since been canceled to prevent the spreading of Covid-19. Please make sure you enjoy it next year.

Overview of the 2020 Tateyama Kurobe Yuki-no-Otani Festival
Period: April 15 (Wednesday) – June 22 (Monday), 2020
Location: Ashizenji Murodo, Tateyama City, Nagashigawa District, Toyama Prefecture
Time: 9:30am-3:15pm
Official Site: https://www.alpen-route.com/
*Please check the official website for up to date information

What kind of clothes should I bring for the “Yuki-no-Otani walk?” Measures against the cold and UV

What kind of clothes should I bring for the “Yuki-no-Otani walk?” Measures against the cold and UV

Even in April-June, during the Tateyama Kurobe/Yuki-no-Otani Festival, the temperatures are as low as 5-10 degrees Celsius (a little above freezing), so, warm jackets and other measures against the cold are necessary. However, it does get warmer during the walk on the snowy Otani walk, so we recommend you wear a front-button or a zipper-type jacket, easy to put on and take off.

For your feet, you should be wearing waterproof trekking shoes or boots, and high-cut shoes that would prevent snow from getting in. Shoes with a non-slip sole will also be better for the road and for snow trekking.

Also, when it’s sunny, the reflection off the snow can be quite strong, so sunglasses and sunscreen are essential items. Other useful items include gloves, body warmers, scarves, wool hats, and neck warmers. If you prepare well, you’ll feel safe even in the case of an emergency.

How to get to the snowy valley and access information

Yuki-no-Otani is one of the tourist attractions within the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.

You will have to access either the Nagano Prefecture side or the Toyama Prefecture side, and then use the vehicles on the Alpine route to go to the desired spot. (*Regular vehicles cannot access the Alpine route.)

・On the Nagano side: Ogizawa Station (Omachi City, Nagano Prefecture)

・On the Toyama side: Tateyama Station (Tateyama Town, Toyama Prefecture)

Following, is the Alpine Route Map, to easily see what kind of vehicles have access and how to get the snow valley.

Access from the Toyama side
From Tateyama Station, the departure point of the Alpine route on the Toyama side, take the Tateyama Cable Car to Bijodaira Station. Transfer to the Tateyama Kogen Bus at Bijodaira and get off at Murodo (about 50 minutes).

Access from the Nagano side
Take the Kanden Tunnel Electric Bus to Kurobe Dam from Ogizawa Station, which is the starting point of the Alpine route on the Nagano side. From Kurobe Dam, walk to Lake Kurobe and take the Kurobe Cable Car to Kurobedaira. From there, take the Tateyama Ropeway to Daikanbo, and finally, take the Tateyama Tunnel Trolley Bus to Murodo.

Access information by car for the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

Toyama side
Tokyo:
Nerima IC

Access by train to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

Toyama Side
Tokyo Station

Access by Highway bus to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

From Tokyo
Toyama Prefecture Side:
Narita Airport

What’s Around Yuki-no-Otani

From here we'll look at the best spots around the Yuki-no-Otani area for you to best enjoy the snowy valley.

Kurobe Dam, the highest in Japan

Kurobe Dam, the highest in Japan

The Kurobe Dam is commonly known as “Kuroyon” and is famous for being the highest in Japan. The total cost of construction was 51.3 billion yen, and it took 7 years, and a total of 10 million people worked on it. With a height of 186 meters and a length of 492 meters, it’s Japan’s largest arched dome overflow-type dam.

The sight of the Kurobe Dam, which discharges more than 10 tons of water per second, is breathtaking. If you board the popular Kurobe sightseeing boat Garube, you can enjoy the Kurobe Dam from an entirely different perspective.

Kurobe Dam sightseeing water discharge period: June 26-October 15

Kurobe Lake Sightseeing Boat operation period: June 1-November 10

  • Kurobe Dam
    黒部ダム
    • Address 6 Ashinenji Temple Tateyama Town, Nakashingawa District, Toyama Prefecture, 930-1406
    • Nearest Station Access: Go to the starting point of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route (access is the same as the one mentioned above for Yuki-no-Otani).

      After arriving, take the following route to Kurobe Dam:

      From the Toyama side
      From Tateyama Station, the departure point of the Alpine route on the Toyama side, take the Tateyama Cable Car to Bijodaira. Here, transfer to the Tateyama Kogen Bus and go to Murodo. From there, take the Tateyama Tunnel Trolley Bus to Daikanbo. Take the Tateyama Ropeway from Daikanbo to Kurobedaira. Take the Kurobe Cable Car and get off at Lake Kurobe. You can reach the Kurobe Dam within a few minutes on foot from Lake Kurobe.

      From the Nagano side
      Take the Kanden Tunnel Electric Bus to Kurobe Dam from Ogizawa Station, the starting point of the Alpine route on the Nagano side.
    • Phone Number 0261-22-0804
    • Open: dependent on the Kanden tunnel electric bus operating time
      Fee: Free (*Transportation cost to Kurobe Dam is required)
      Kurobe Dam public opening period: April 15-November 30

Murodo Area: You might see a grouse!

Murodo Area: You might see a grouse!

The Murodo area is dotted with many beautiful spots such as the clear Mikurigaike Pond and the Tateyama Tamadono Spring, at an altitude of 2,450 meters, which is pretty unique in Japan. Here there are about 300 grouses designated as unique protected species around Murodo. There are also a lot of other wild animals, like stoats. Make sure you visit!

  • Mikurigaike Pond
    みくりが池
    • Address Murododaira, Ashikuraji, Bunazaka, Nakaniikawa Gun Tateyama Machi, Toyama 930-1414
    • Nearest Station Access: Walk from Murodo on the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.
      Access to the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route and the route information from the Alpine Route departure point to “Murodo,” are the same as those for Yuki-no-Otani. Please refer to the access information for Yuki-no-Otani
    • Phone Number 076-432-2819
    • Admission: free
      Closed: winter

  • Tateyama Tamadono Spring
    立山玉殿の湧水
    • Address Murododaira, Ashikuraji, Nakaniikawa Gun Tateyama Machi, Toyama Ken, 930-1406
    • Nearest Station Access: Walk from “Murodo” on the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.
      The access method to the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route and the route information from the Alpine Route departure point “Murodo,” are exactly the same as the ones for Yuki-no-Otani. Please refer to the access information for Yuki-no-Otani
    • Phone Number 076-432-2819

The ride is the best part!

The ride is the best part!

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is an attraction in itself while traveling around.

There are many kinds of vehicles to enjoy, like:
・The Tateyama Cable Car climbs at an altitude of about 500m in 7 minutes.
・The Tateyama Kogen Bus takes you through beautiful nature.
・The Kanden Tunnel Trolleybus takes you through the tunnel used when the Kurobe Dam was built.
・The Tateyama Ropeway, also called the “Moving Observatory,” offers a 360-degree panoramic view.
・The unusual Kurobe Cable Car runs underground.
・The Kanden Tunnel Electric Bus was introduced in April 2019.

Get ready and enjoy the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route and Yuki-no-Otani!

We have introduced the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, focusing on the beauty of the Yuki-no-Otani area. You will be able to see the snowy valley from spring to early summer, but it’s cold in the area, so make sure you prepare adequately.

Make sure you bring appropriate clothes and accessories to best enjoy the magnificent nature of the snow valley and Tateyama Kurobe.

Written by Dali Corporation

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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