The walk from the Kurobe dam observation deck was thrilling, and the view around dam was magnificent, but we spent a much longer time than we wanted to (part two).
We quickly walked across the dam. Right in the centre of Kurobe dam, you could see the mist fallen over from the spillway that made it looked like it was drizzling, added with the wind that blew stronger made us both shivering although we were wearing our thick jacket.
We headed straight into the dark tunnel of Kurobeko, no one else was with us, but there was no time to second guess. The tunnel took us to a warm comfy waiting area to ride the cable car to Kurobedaira. Oh no, another fixed schedule of departure again, but luckily this time it was just around 15-20 minutes wait. Soon after, other people started to arrive.
The cable car ride from Kurobeko to Kurobedaira was only for about 5 minutes. I supposed you could spend some time here at Kurobedair looking out at the scenery of mountain range outside while sipping a warm cup of tea and coffee, but we headed directly to line up for the cable car to lift us to Daikanbo.
That day was partly cloudy, yet it didn’t fail to hide the spectacular view of the Mt. Akazawadake valley. Our decision to stand in line before the gate opened was worth it. We got the best spot to enjoy the view during the seven-minute ride to Daikanbo. We were literally going through clouds. The feeling was surreal.
From Daikanbo, the staff ushered us directly to ride the tunnel trolley bus, connecting Daikanbo and Murodo. The tunnel trolley bus was basically penetrating through the heart of Mt. Tateyama and safely taking us to Murodo. As we stepped down from the trolley bus into the station, we then heard an announcement that the last bus to leave from Murodo to Bijodaira would be at 3 PM. We immediately checked the time, it was already 2.30 PM!
With a mixed feeling of a panic rush for running out of time and excitement to have reached the highest spot in this Alpine route, we both scrambled to find our way out. We even got lost and ended up going out through the backdoor. When we opened the door, sudden blinding sunlight, cool breeze of the mountain air, and the stunning view in front us swept us off our feet.
We finally got there at Murodo, but only had about half an hour to explore. Not many people were around, we saw people were coming back to the station maybe they just wanted to warm themselves and waited for the bus.
We walked out and started exploring the surrounding area until we reached Mikurigaike, a crater lake of Tateyama mountain.
Half an hour passed like a minute, we both had to walk back again to the station or else would have missed the last bus of the day. I heard my wife saying, “Thank you, Murodo!”. Before entering the station, I turned around, reluctant to accept the fact that we had to leave, and took another last glance at the place.
On the bus from Murodo to Bijaidaira, I stared out the window, feeling amazed not only by the stunning views along the Alpine route but also by the whole operation of tourism services throughout the journey. From the start at Ogizawa station all the way to Murodo, and then now to Bijodaira, everything went very smoothly and timely. All transports were arranged professionally, staff were courteous, facilities, food and safety, were all satisfying. All were thought and taken care of very well. Kurobe dam was built out of necessity to supply electricity to support the economy, but the whole supporting infrastructure was eventually used for tourism, generating incomes for the country.
The bus from Murodo went straight to Bijodaira, passing by Midagahara. There was no time anymore to explore other places along the way. It took about 30 minutes of bus ride from Murodo to Bijaidaira. There was then another cable car ride from Bijodaira down to Tateyama station. At Tateyama station, an old man was all alone checking the passenger tickets before they could board the train. He was punctual, only five minutes before boarding time that he then allowed us to get on the train. There were only a few of us at that time. The day was getting darker as the train moved along steadily to Toyama Station.
My wife and I were quiet along the way, maybe because we were just tired after all the adrenaline rush for accomplishing the seemingly impossible trip when we started out this morning or perhaps we just couldn’t get over the beautiful sceneries we saw that day. From Toyama station, we caught a Shinkansen back to Osaka through Kanazawa.
Before I end this story, I wanted to offer some tips for anyone who wanted to visit Tateyama Alpine Route.
- You need to buy the option ticket of Tateyama Alpine Route at least one day before your trip at Y9,800 per person. Observe the period of sale and period of use of the ticket.
- Tateyama route is only open from mid-April to mid-November. We went there, on the 10th of November 2018, basically the last day of use of that year.
- One day trip from Osaka or Tokyo is doable, we proved that but the time was very tight. You could only enjoy a maximum of two highlights of the route. So sadly, I wouldn’t recommend you to do it unless you really have no choice. Like us, it was the last day of the use that year, and there was no other day left to arrange our travel to be more relaxed.
- It would be a better option to stay in a nearby town like Toyama or even Tateyama, so you could start the journey early in the morning and could relax enjoying the whole trip.
- Wear proper clothing as it could get freezing at Kurobe dam with the wind blowing, or at Murodo.
- Packing some food may be useful if you don’t want to bother spending time eating at the restaurants there.
- Travel light as from end to end was quite a distance.
Would we go back again one day? Of course, without a doubt. Midagahara still offers plenty of places to visit and a walking trail with a beautiful scenery and the fact that we only spent 30 minutes up in Murodo, really left me with a thirst that we should go back again to Murodo. Until next time Murodo!
Ticket info – http://www.jrtateyama.com/e/index.html
Alpine Route – https://www.alpen-route.com/en/about/introduction.html