I visited on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route from Toyama to Nagano in this past summer. It was not a perfect day to travel there. The weather was so wet and very chilly. Actually Hokuriku region had received the record breaking rainfall at that time. I could not see any mountain. However I would like to share my experience and show many photos of this mountain trip. It shows you the station layout and scenery. I am sure that it will help you to build your trip plan to Alpine Route.
- 1 Dentetsu Toyama station to Tateyama station by Toyama Chiho Railway
- 2 Tateyama station to Bijodaira station by Tateyama Cable Car
- 3 Bijodaira station to Murodo station
- 4 Murodo station
- 5 Murodo station to Daikanbo station by Tateyama Tunnel Trolley Bus
- 6 Daikanbo station to Kurobedaira station by Tateyama Ropeway
- 7 Kurobedaira station to Kurobeko station by Kurobe Cable Car
- 8 Kurobeko station to Kurobe Dam station by walk
- 9 Kurobe Dam station to Ogizawa station by Kanden Tunnel Trolley Bus
- 10 Ogizawa station to Nagano station by Alpico Express Bus
- 11 Assessment
Dentetsu Toyama station to Tateyama station by Toyama Chiho Railway
Dentetsu Toyama 05:29 (Rapid train) 06:19 Tateyama
I wanted to complete the trip by early afternoon. I started the trip very early morning. First of all, I took Toyama Chiho Railway train from Dentetsu Toyama station. The station was very quiet.
Toyama Chiho Railway’s Toyama station is called “Dentetsu Toyama”. It is located next to JR Toyama station. It is very easy to change trains from/to JR trains. Please see the link below to find more information about Toyama station.
I took the rapid train of Toyama Chiho Railway. The train was one of this railway’s common fleet.
The fleet was old but the seat was not bad.
It was raining a bit and very cloudy. I could not see most of mountains on the way to Tateyama.
Tateyama station to Bijodaira station by Tateyama Cable Car
Tateyama 07:00 (cable car) 07:07 Bijodaira
After arriving at Tateyama station, I went up the second floor and proceeded to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route ticket window. Toyama Chiho Railway’s platform is located under the building.
The ticket window is located outside the building. When you arrive at Tateyama station by train, you will be navigated by lots of staffs. All you have to do is just following their assistance. You will not lose your way. You can get the ticket window easily.
You have to get a ticket at this window. You will know the departure time of cable car. I was assigned to the first cable car.
If you use Tateyama Kurobe option ticket, you can show your ticket at Dentetsu Toyama station to enter. And then you have to exchange here at this window and the actual ticket will be attached on your option ticket.
Only departure time of cablecar is assigned. After you go up to next station, Bijodaira, you can choose any departure. The ticket which is issued at Tateyama station is valid until you get Ogizawa.
There are the gift shop and the restaurant. The restaurant was closed because it was early morning.
The gate was open at 5 minutes before departure time.
Cable car is a sort of the incline. The steps are very high and steep.
Cable car went up on the steep slope to next station, Bijodaira.
Bijodaira station to Murodo station
Bijodaira 07:40 (Tateyama Highland Bus) 08:30 Murodo
All stations on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route have very simple layout. There are lots of signage and the staffs are very well educated. All you have to do is just following the signage to get next transport.
After I got off cable car, I went up by stairs to catch next bus. On this mountain route, there are lots of stairs and we need to change many trains and buses. If you need help, you can ask the station staff any time. They are happy to assist you
I got on the bus from this station to Murodo. I had a plan to drop by Midagahara for short hike. But I gave up because of the rainy weather. I went straight to Mudoro which is the largest station on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.
When I was at Bijodaira station, there are two lines to wait for the bus. One was for the direct bus to Murodo and other one was for the bus stopping at Midagahara and Tengudaira. Please keep it in your mind if you take a bus from Bijodaira.
On Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, we need to take many trains and buses. Trip time is mostly around 10 minutes for each segment. But the trip time is nearly one hour from Bijodaira to Murodo by Tateyama Highland Bus. If you get motion sickness easily, please take a medicine before you ride. There are lots of curve and some of them are very tight and sharp.
In my opinion, the left side has better view from Bijodaira to Murodo. The bus will slow down the place to see Shomyo falls over the valley.
Most part of alpine meadow at Midagahara are seen at the left side to Murodo.
I skipped Midagahara at this time. But there are lots of hiking route. The easiest one is just walking on the boardwalk mostly. It takes about one hour. It is suitable for any ages and highly recommended. If you worry about motion sickness, this is a nice break too.
By the way, the bus has screen. It shows us the general information in Japanese and English. And the announcement is made in both Japanese and English too. Language barrier is not an issue on this route.
I was there in the end of June. But I still could see the snow wall before just reaching Murodo.
The elevation is 2,450m. This is the highest point on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. And also this is the biggest station on Alpine Route.
I tried to go outside and hike to Mikurigaike but I could not get there. The weather was very stormy.
I had to stay inside the station. At the top floor of the station, it has exhibition of former Oyama shrine.
There is another building next to the station. The nature conservation center is in the building. I spent my time there.
There are Hotel Tateyama in the station building. Only hotel guest can access in the hotel. But the hotel has restaurant. There are another food facilities in the station. I supposed to have brunch after short hike. It was too early and all restaurants were still closed.
But this is the best spot to have a lunch time on Alpine Route anyway.
Murodo station to Daikanbo station by Tateyama Tunnel Trolley Bus
Murodo 08:45 (Trolley Bus) 08:55 Daikanbo
After quick stop at Murodo, I got on the trolley bus.
This bus goes through the tunnel under Mt. Tateyama.
This looks a bus but technically it is sort of railway.
Murodo station is sometimes called “the train station at the highest point in Japan”.
Daikanbo station to Kurobedaira station by Tateyama Ropeway
Daikanbo 09:10 (Ropeway) 09:17 Kurobedaira
Daikanbo station is quite small because it is located at the cliff in the middle of the mountain. If you travel in peak period, this station is packed by many numbers of travelers.
You can go up on the roof of this station. There is the viewpoint.
You can enjoy the scenery of mountains and Lake Kurobe.
I took the gondola to go down. The staff said some travelers saw a bear. I was looking for it but I could not make it.
Kurobedaira station to Kurobeko station by Kurobe Cable Car
Kurobedaira 09:30 (Cable car) 09:35 Kurobeko
Kurobedaira has a restaurant and gift shop. It is located in front of Kurobedaira garden. It is very nice spot to take a photo. But when I was there, it was so wet and I could not see it.
From this station, The cablecar took us to Kurobeko where is located near Kurobe Dam.
This cable car is quite different from ordinary incline. It is very interesting because it runs in the tunnel all the way.
This cable car runs on very high elevation area. This area receives huge amount of snow in winter time. This tunnel helps to avoid the damage by snow in winter time.
Kurobeko station to Kurobe Dam station by walk
After arriving Kurobeko station, I walked on Kurobe Dam to Kurobe Dam station. There are lots of station on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. We can change trains and buses inside the station. But at this point, we need to walk for 10 to 15 minutes.
When I was there, it was raining and very windy. I finally needed to care about the weather.
I weared Gore-Tex jacket. But my pants and shoes were very very wet.
Even if I would have an umbrella, it might not work because it was so windy. You should have rain wear if you go there in rainy day.
The scenery was amazing. I could see the huge amount of water passing through the dam.
There is a building beside the tunnel to Kurobe Dam station. The dining space, gift shop and small movie theater are located in the building. And another observation deck is located near this building.
I passed the tunnel to catch another trolley bus to Ogizawa.
Kurobe Dam station to Ogizawa station by Kanden Tunnel Trolley Bus
Kurobe Dam 10:05 (Trolley bus) 10:21 Ogizawa
Trolley bus connects Kurobe Dam and Ogizawa. This bus runs in tunnel on most part of the route. This trolley bus will be replaced by electric bus. Overhead line will be removed.
Ogizawa station is other side of gateway to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. There are dining facilities and gift shops again.
We can access to Ogizawa from Shinano-Omachi and Nagano. I took the express bus to Nagano.
In 2019 season, Kanden Tunnel Trolley Bus was replaced EV bus. It is not a trolley bus any more.
Ogizawa station to Nagano station by Alpico Express Bus
Ogizawa 11:00 (Express bus) 12:45 Nagano
This express bus is operated by very ordinary highway coach. However it does not have a bathroom even though it is almost 2 hours trip. Please keep it in your mind.
Bus arrived at Nagano station on time.
I wrote about Nagano station in the link below. You can find some more information about bus stop at Nagano station.
As you read, I skipped most of places. I just went through the route because of the rainy day.
I spent 5 hours from Toyama to Ogizawa, and spent 7 hours from Toyama to Nagano. This is minimum trip time. You will spend your time to eat and maybe hiking. You need at least extra 2 hours.
You can start the trip from either Toyama or Ogizawa. Ogizawa can be accessed from either Nagnao or Shinano-Omachi. In my opinion, starting from Toyama is better than Ogizawa. Tateyama Highland Bus takes you to mountain zone through alpine meadow gradually. I think Murodo and Kurobe Dam are highlight on this route. If you start from Ogizawa, you may be tired after Murodo. It is the longest segment on the route. But this is my thought. Some of you who have already been there may have different opinion.
I hope this post will help you to build your plan to get one of most amazing mountain route, Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.