Explore Japan's Northern Alps
Open annually from mid-April through November, the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route draws huge numbers and a wide array of visitors from around the world each year, all eager to navigate the majestic and wild beauty of Japan’s Northern Alps. Located between Toyama and Nagano prefectures, this mountain range, also known as the Hida Mountains, is home to many natural wonders which can be conveniently explored thanks to the Alpine Route. The mountain sightseeing route connects the city of Toyama in Toyama Prefecture with the town of Omachi in Nagano Prefecture. With the March 14th, 2015 grand opening of the Northern Japan bullet train shortening the trip from Tokyo to Toyama to a leisurely 2 hours of beautiful scenery, getting to the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route has never been easier!
Also referred to as the "Roof of Japan", the Alpine Route is renowned for the many highlights interspersed throughout each leg of the journey. Of particular note is the Tateyama Snow Corridor, an expanse of road flanked by massive walls of snow reaching up to 20 meters in height. Another point of interest is Kurobe Dam, Japan’s highest at 186 meters, surrounding by breathtaking mountain scenery. The route also boasts panoramic views of the Hida Mountains, exciting volcanic landscapes, waterfalls and many more attractions.
Despite its rugged terrain, the area is by no means off-limits to non-mountaineers. Those not looking to hike the entire trail will find that the Alpine Route is also quite friendly to nature enthusiasts of all ages and activity levels, owing to various means of public transportation which make traversing the Alps a piece of cake. The list of vehicles used to make the journey through the mountains includes trains, buses, a ropeway, cable cars, and even a trolley bus (the only one of its kind in Japan!).
Those hoping to stay close to nature can lodge in one of the many hotels and ryokan that are situated along the route; one advantage of this is being able to admire the sunset as it melts into the clouds, or being able to gaze at the stars when the sky is clear. However, visitors wishing to lodge closer to the city will have access to some of Japan’s best and freshest seafood in Toyama. Others wanting to relax will find their moment of tranquility at one of the onsen (hot spring) resorts also nearby.
*Please note that the route in its entirety is scheduled to be open in 2015 from April 16 until November 30.
*The Tateyama Snow Corridor is scheduled to be open to pedestrians in 2015 from April 16 until June 22.
Perhaps the most convenient way to access the Alpine Route is from the city of Toyama.
GETTING TO TOYAMA
From Tokyo: With the expansion of the Hokuriku Shinkansen opening on March 14th, 2015, getting to Toyama from Tokyo has never been easier! The bullet train ride takes about 2 to 2.5 hours.
From Osaka & Kyoto: Take the JR Thunderbird Limited Express to Toyama Station (about 3 to 3.5 hours).
From Nagoya: Take the JR Shirasagi Limited Express to Toyama Station (about 3.5 hours).
By Air: Alternately, it is possible to fly to Toyama Airport, from where a 25-minute bus ride will take you to Toyama Station.
GETTING TO THE ALPINE ROUTE
From Toyama: After arriving in the city of Toyama, head to Tateyama Station from Dentetsu-Toyama Station. The ride is just one hour.
Hotels in Tateyama & Kurobe
Hotels in Toyama & Uozu
Toyama CityGuest Rating: 4.83
A unique and charming hot spring resort where each guest room boasts different décor and even an art musuem is counted among the gorgeous facilities. If you are looking for modern and luxurious accommodations, look no further.
from 38,700 JPY
Hotels in Kanazawa
*Disclaimer: Prices shown are lowest available room rates per person per night based on double occupancy. Prices may vary from those listed above depending on room type, number of guests staying, schedule, and inventory.