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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Chubu - Toyama
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route 
# 87   of 170 destinations
in our travel guide

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The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is a unique and spectacular route through the Northern Japan Alps, which is traversed by various means of transportation, including cablecars, trolley buses and a ropeway. The route is particularly famous for the high snow walls that line some of its roads in spring.

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route was completed in 1971, and connects Toyama City in Toyama Prefecture with Omachi Town in Nagano Prefecture. The section between Tateyama Station and Ogizawa is closed to private vehicles.

In 2014, the entire route is open from April 16 to November 30 (the section between Toyama and Midagahara from April 10). The snow corridor in Murodo is open to pedestrians to walk from April 16 to June 22. On the opening day, the snow walls reached a height of up to 15 meters.

The main attraction of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is the magnificent scenery of the Tateyama Mountain Range, part of the Chubu Sangaku National Park. The up to 20 meter high snow corridor is a highlight during spring, while summer and autumn attract hikers with alpine flowers and autumn colors.

Autumn colors can be seen along the Alpine Route from late September into early November

Transportation along the Alpine Route is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass. A one way journey along the entire route costs roughly 10,000 yen. A luggage forwarding service is provided between stations and hotels along the route. The cost is around 1500 yen per piece of luggage.

Note that the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route gets very busy during holidays, such as the Golden Week, summer holidays and weekends during the autumn leaf season, resulting in possible waiting times at bottlenecks along the route. A system with numbered tickets is put into effect on such busy days, which assigns travelers with a time after which they are allowed to board.

A bilingual online reservation system allows travelers to make reservations for the cablecar from Tateyama Station to Bijodaira (but not in the opposite direction), one of the bottlenecks along the route, but reservations are not possible for any other sections.

A sign shows departure times associated with numbered tickets, and a monitor displays the current number.

Toyama Chiho Railway
Running through rural Toyama Prefecture, this train gets you from Dentetsu Toyama Station (next to JR Toyama Station) in central Toyama City to Tateyama Station in about one hour. The one way fare is 1200 yen.

Tateyama Cablecar
The Tateyama Cablecar ascends from Tateyama Station to Bijodaira Station in only seven minutes. The one way fare is 720 yen.

Highland Bus
This bus requires roughly 50 minutes for the journey between Bijodaira Station and Murodo. The one way fare is 1710 yen. There are a few bus stops along the way. During spring, the bus runs along the Tateyama Snow Corridor.

Tateyama Snow Corridor
From April to May, the road from Bijodaira to Murodo runs between up to 20 meter high snow walls. The snow corridor is most spectacular around Murodo. A short passage is open to pedestrians from mid April to early June.

Murodo
Murodo offers fantastic views of the Tateyama Mountain Range. In summer and autumn, hiking trails lead to the surrounding peaks and to nearby Jigokudani (see image to the left), a valley where volcanic activity can be observed. The Murodo Station complex includes Hotel Tateyama, Japan's highest located hotel.

Tateyama Trolley Bus
Electric powered buses transport travelers through the tunnel between Murodo and Daikanbo. The one way journey takes 10 minutes and costs 2160 yen.

Daikanbo
This is the transfer station between the Tateyama Trolley Bus and the Tateyama Ropeway. The small station has an observation deck with great views of the mountains.

Tateyama Ropeway
This 1.7 kilometer long ropeway operates without any support towers between the lower and upper stations, making it Japan's longest one-span ropeway. The one way trip takes seven minutes and costs 1300 yen.

Kurobedaira
Kurobedaira is the transfer station between the Tateyama Ropeway and Kurobe Cablecar. The station offers a restaurant, souvenir shop and beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.

Kurobe Cablecar
This cablecar runs entirely inside a tunnel, which is a rarity among cablecars. The one way journey between Kurobedaira and Kurobeko Station (next to Kurobe Dam) takes five minutes and costs 860 yen.

Kurobe Dam
Kurobe Dam is with a height of 186 meters Japan's tallest dam. From late June to mid October, up to 15 tons of water per second are spectacularly discharged through the dam. Sightseeing cruises are operated on the lake from June to early November.

Kanden Trolley Bus
Electric powered buses transport travelers through the tunnel between Kurobe Dam and Ogizawa. The one way journey takes 15 minutes and costs 1540 yen.

Ogizawa-Omachi Bus
A regular bus service connects Ogizawa with JR Shinano-Omachi Station via Omachi Onsen. The one way trip takes 40 minutes and costs 1360 yen.

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there

From Tokyo

to Shinano-Omachi

Take the JR Nagano Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagano (100 minutes, around 8000 yen one way) and then a bus directly to Ogizawa along the Alpine Route (105 minutes, 2600 yen one way). The Japan Rail Pass covers the shinkansen, but not the bus.

Alternatively, take the Azusa Limited Express from Tokyo's Shinjuku Station to Matsumoto (2.5 hours) and transfer to the JR Oito Line to Shinano-Omachi Station (1 hour). The one way journey costs around 7500 yen and is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass. A small number of Azusa limited express trains run all the way to Shinano-Omachi.

to Toyama

Take the JR Joetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo to Echigo-Yuzawa (75 minutes), followed by a ride on the Hakutaka Limited Express to Toyama (2 hours). The one way fare is about 11,500 yen. Note, however, that the Hakutaka uses non-JR tracks between Echigo-Yuzawa and Naoetsu. Therefore, Japan Rail Pass holders will have to pay a supplement of 1480 yen. A fully covered, alternative route leads via Nagaoka, using the JR Joetsu Shinkansen (100 minutes) and JR Hokuetsu Limited Express (2 hours).

From Osaka/Kyoto

to Toyama

The one way journey by direct JR Thunderbird Limited Express trains takes about 3 to 3.5 hours, costs around 8500 yen and is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass.

to Shinano-Omachi

Take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya (1 hour), the JR Shinano Limited Express to Matsumoto (2 hours) and the JR Oito Line to Shinano-Omachi (1 hour). The one way fare is about 11,000 yen and fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass.

From Nagoya

to Toyama

The one way journey by direct JR Shirasagi Limited Express trains takes about 4 hours, costs around 8000 yen and is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass.

to Shinano-Omachi

Take the JR Shinano Limited Express to Matsumoto (2 hours) and the JR Oito Line to Shinano-Omachi (1 hour). The one way fare is about 6,500 Yen and fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass.

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Tours and Packages
Travel the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route by Club Tourism
Sightseeing in the mountains can be difficult to arrange for individuals. Leave it to Club Tourism to make travel easy. Departures from Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.

User Ratings
Ratings for Alpine Route:
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User Rating (by 116 users):
93/100
  highly recommended

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English Links
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
Official English website.

Japanese Links
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
Official website.

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Related Pages
Travel
Sightseeing
Chubu Region
Toyama Prefecture
Nagano Prefecture
Chubu Sangaku National Park

News and Reports
September 27, 2013
Tateyama Autumn Color Report
by sean
October 22, 2012
Alpine Route Autumn Color Report
by scott
October 4, 2012
Alpine Route Autumn Color Report
by schauwecker

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