I saw it for the first time 5 years ago. In the train. Poster. There was a bus running through snow which was higher than the bus itself. Wow. Interesting. Where is it? Kurobe Tateyama Alpine Route. I see. And how I can get there? By train and by bus. Yes. And how much is it? Oh. More than 20 000 yen? So I will not see it. In that time I was a student without money. But after some time I`ve got a job, then salary and money came. I bought even a car. So one nice day I decided that I have to see IT. I packed all my stuff and started the car. I did not reserve any accommodation. I hoped I can find something when I get there. I`m happy that most of the Japanese high mountains are near Okazaki where I live. No more than 300 km away. I had to go almost 260 km because Tateyama is almost on the other side of Japan. I used the highway. You pay in Japan more for the highway fee than for a gasoline. My mini car Suzuki Alto is allowed to run only 80 km/h. I reached Tateyama area and started looking for some accommodation. I found a luxurious hotel called Kuroyon Royal Hotel. I don`t especially like such a good hotels, but there was nothing else. Kuroyon Royal Hotel
That was hotel in classic western style. I reserved the cheapest room for 8000 yen. When I entered the room, I noticed that the room is bigger and better than the one I reserved 10 minutes ago. I was little bit perplexed. A hotel room
When I asked what does this mean, the hotel girl replied, that there was no cheap room left, so they gave me a better one. But I don`t need to be worried, the price will remain the same. OK then. Hotel wasn`t crowded. There was also bydy-building room and big pool, where was nobody swimming. I couldn`t test it because of lack of swimnming suit. But I tried japanese hot-spa onsen. That was fantastic. There was small pool outside, so I relaxed under the heaven full of stars. Next day in the morning the luxurious breakfast and departure. First I had to go by car some kilometers uphill before reaching the Ogizava station. The parking was free of charge (incredible) and was still empty. Kurobe dam was build by the Japan electric pover company in the year 1963 for producing electricity. Because of difficult terrain, some tunnels needed to be built. Those tunnels are nowadays used by tourists.
I bought 8000 Yen ticket, valid for whole route and back. First you go by trolleybus through 6,5 km long tunnel. Trolleybus
Tunnel is really narrow. 4 trolleybuses are running from each end of the tunnel and in the middle there is a plase where they can avoid. Tunnel
Inside the tunnel we crossed the border between Nagano and Toyama prefecture. Japanese like speaking machines, so if you are in the bus or elevator, you are still bombarded by some kind of informations, usually recorded at the tape. So they tell you how they are glad that you use their service. Then all informations about building dam and so on are spoken. On the end they say many thanks again. I`m not against it but sometimes less informations would be better. So we are now in the Kurobe dam station. From now on we have to go 300 m on foot, crossing the dam. Kurobe dam
This dam is the highest in Japan. 186 m. And there is a beautiful Alpen scenery in the sorroundings. I`m lucky. Because I started early morning, the spots are still not crowded. Fantastic. Next I have to go from the Kurobe ko station to the Kurobe daira station by the cable car. The hill is really steep and the vagoon has go through narrow tunnel. Cable car
Kurobe daira is a small platform, from which is fantastic panoramatic view. And of course a souvenir shops everywhere. Ropeway
The next was ropeway to the Daikanbo station. The rope is stretched only between two poles, so you can see the terminal station. Then you have to go through other tunnel using trolleybus again and you`ll be in Murodo station on Tateyama mountain. (trolleybusses used here are the only ones in whole Japan) There you can find a hotel, big parking and many tourists which came here by bus from the opposite side. (fortunatelly cars are forbidden to enter) You`ll see here of course many photographers with single reflex lens cameras and tripods. But I can`t forget to write about the biggest attraction here. Yes, that snow valley. Yuki no otani - snow valley
When spring starts and the Tateyama road is going to be open, first bulldozers have to clean the snow. As a result of this, that famous snow valley is created. 16. year of Heisei era, 4. months, 18. day
When I was there, the snow walls were 16 m high. Fantastic, I never saw something like this before. Half of the road is only for pedestrians, so they can walk near easily. I eat a lunch and made some small trip in the neighboroughs. And I found interesting board. There was written "POISONUS GUS" on it. Japanese English
It took me a while and I understood that I should be aware of, yes, "POISONOUS GAS"! This bad English is not so rare in Japan. Especially R and L is for Japanese difficult to distinguish. L does not exist in Japanese. There are on the web special pages, where that bad English is collected. You can visit it at www.engrish.com
. But you have to know, that English is really difficult to learn for Japanese. So I don`t like making jokes about it and especially I hate those jokes made by the people who can`t speak Japanese at all.
I have to finish, there is nothing more to write. The whole weekend trip cost me about 30000 yen. Travelling is relatively expensive in Japan.
You can find other photoghraphs here