It was 5-hour journey from Shinjuku, two stops, I can barely open my eyes at the second stop even though I wanted to use toilet badly. I reached Nagano at 5am, it was so freaking cold, and the sun was yet to rise. I grabbed a sandwich for my breakfast, pray, clean up and change into a new outfit while waiting for Shinanoki Souvenir Shop to open. The Alpico Bus from Nagano to Ogizawa was scheduled to depart at 8am, and the ticket can be bought from Shinanoki.
It was 10.30am when I reached Ogizawa, low peak season, less tourists, no long queues, I bought my one way ticket to Dentetsu Toyama Station in Toyama where I will be staying for one night. Most of the tourists that day were the local itself, Taiwanese and Thailander.
If you are planning to go there during the peak season, it is best to print this out and hand it over at the counter for a faster service. Alpine Route Ticket in PDF
Carrying 30L backpack was quite challenging for my small frame (my weight is less than 40kg), and when I saw these green stairs to hell haha I almost faint, and I need to climb 220 stairs to get to the Observation Deck, but once I get to the top, I told myself, if earth could be this beautiful, I can’t imagine how beautiful heaven could possibly be.
No words can perfectly describe my feelings, it was a combination of aghh… it felt like I could cry rainbows, unicorns, gummy bears and all pretty and imaginable and yummy things in the world. I spent more time relaxing and enjoying the view, rather than taking photos.
The sun was shining, so do the windy, keep blowing, felt like a competition between them two. It reminds me of The Wind & The Sun
They said the 10 tones of water discharged from this dam producing a beautiful rainbow. You can only witness it from late June to mid October, so plan your schedule wisely if you’d like to witness it!
The pro of getting to a place during low-peak season, less crowd, more chances to take photos
The wind was blowing hard, at this stage I feel blessed to have extra weight on my back, or the wind will blow me away
At first I thought that climbed down the stairs will be lot easier, NO, it was an outer stairs, where the wind still blowing hard, I had to wait for a while. There’s a couple, the boyfriend was hysterically climbing down the stairs, he must be an Acrophobia. I did too, but not as serious as him and I told myself not to look down.
I want to eat Ice Cream but I was freezing cold, so I just sat for a while
I saw them trying to take a group photo, and I understand how bad you want everyone to be in the picture, so I asked them if they’d want me to take their picture. The next thing I know, I was in the photo too.
As mentioned previously, I have height fright, nothing too serious, I hate cable cars, I don’t feel safe but this is totally different. The Tateyama Ropeway was packed and I was squeezing myself near to the exit door, did I look down? Yeah. Did it scare me? No.
Some silly conversation
Ichie: Owhhh Ju-on!!
Ichie: There (pointing at the girl’s reflection)
Murodo is another heaven on earth. Trekking trails, withered grass and the peak of the Mt Tateyama set against the volcanic crater lake, Mikurigaike.
I put on my gloves, too bad it didn’t stop me from freezing, it’s wool half-finger glove, bought it two years ago in London, because I thought it’s kinda cute, but not a good choice of gloves and the wind made it even colder.
The lake, a dark blue lake, It feels like someone has put a magic spell on it, you can’t stop staring, despite of the cold and windy weather, I was at the edge of the lake, stood still. They said spring will be even beautiful, summer snow. But this is fine with me, a clear blue sky, fluffy white cloud, patches of green and brown summit against the dark mystic blue lake. I fall in love, again, and again.
Do you know that you can climb up the Mt Tateyama and ski down during winter? They have few hiking courses as well. Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route Walking Map
I took 3.15pm Tateyama Highland bus from Murodo to Bijodaira, you can choose to stop over at Midagahara or skip it. I had to skip it, I need to get to Toyama before it’s getting too dark, as I hadn’t studied the route to my hostel yet. I fall asleep, during the 50mins bus riding, but I half awake when the driver slowing down the bus at some attraction points.
Once I get to Tateyama station then I realised, the next train will be at 5.26pm, ouch which means, I will only reach Toyama around 6.30pm. I wandered around, had matcha ice cream and wait patiently. The train arrived as scheduled, it’s an old-school train, ahhh vintage should be a proper word I guess, and I fall asleep again, it’s an hour journey, what else should I do?
Dentetsu Toyama Station is a train station for Toyama Chiyo Railroad, it is located near to JR Toyama Station, I walked to Toyama Station, too bad my pocket wifi, handphone and almost everything were run out of battery, and I have to depend on my ability reading the old-school map. It was 15minutes, almost 20minutes walking from the train station, it was the cheapest hostel in Toyama, so I think I shouldn’t complain much. Still, this was one of the expensive hostel for my trip (my 2-night staying in Kyoto was even cheaper)
I spent a night at Ryokan Kiyota. I was so happy that I own the room for myself. It was Japanese Traditional Ryokan, a little bit creepy, haha but I love it anyway. It felt like Ju-on will be crawling out from one of the sliding closet doors, luckily I was too tired and fall asleep with the TV on.
Gosh.. how many times did I fall asleep today?
Why Alpen Route is a must?
1. The only trolley bus in Japan can be found here
2. Murodo Station is the highest station in Japan (2450m)
3. The longest unsupported ropeway goes to Tateyama Ropeway
4. Highest hot spring in Japan is Mikuriga-ike Hot Spring located at Murodo
5. The beautiful Shomyo Falls is the highest waterfall in Japan
6. As known, Kurobe Dam is the highest dam in Japan, with 186m
(source: Kurobe Dam pamphlet)
Alpen Route Tips & Tricks
1. The Snow Corridor only opens from mid April to mid June
2. Instead of going to Nagano from Shinjuku, you can go to Matsumoto, and travel via JR train and local bus to Ogizawa. Highway Bus Info
3. Aghh I can’t think of any but I will keep this section up to date
Do you know that I love the smell of the grass after rain?