Travel Around Japan

Travel Around Japan (Day #8) : Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

*I wrote this post in two languages. Scroll down after the English version if you want to read this post in Bahasa Indonesia .* 

Here we came on the 8th day, looked for the snow! If you ever wondered, can you see snow when it isn’t Winter season? The answer is “Yes, you can see snow even though you’re traveling in spring, summer, and autumn.” if you know where to go. It’s Tateyama Alpine Route, mountains which is covered by snow in the entire year. It is located between Toyama Prefecture and Nagano Prefecture. We had to wake up earlier in the morning because it would take whole day from the dawn till late evening to go to Tateyama Alpine Route. We could experience in riding cable car, ropeway, tunnel trolley bus, and highland bus (and we could choose to depart from Toyama Prefecture or Nagano Prefecture). From Toyama Prefecture, your journey will start from Dentetsu-Toyama Station. From Nagano Prefecture, your adventure will start from Shinano-Omachi Station. For your information, it will take three hours from Tokyo to Toyama and four or five hours from Tokyo to Nagano. So I would recommend you to start explore Tateyama Alpine Route from Toyama Prefecture.

Tateyama Alpine Route
The one way ticket was value at JPY 11.000, but if you have JR Pass you will get the cheaper price (JPY 9.000). This special price should be bought at least one day before  you go to Tateyama (this ticket can be use up to five days after you bought it). It’s not possible for you to have return tickets. So, if you depart from Dentetsu-Toyama Station, you won’t be able to go back to Dentetsu-Toyama Sta but end up in Shinano-Omachi Sta. Tateyama Alpine Route will open for public from middle of April to the end of November each year.

That’s a few informations about Tateyama Alpine Route. I departed from JR Higashi-Jujo Station (Tokyo) – which was near from the hotel I stayed – to JR Omiya Station. From here, we took Shinkansen Hakutaka to JR Toyama Station. It was 06.00 am when we started our journey to Toyama. It took 3 hours and 30 minutes from Tokyo to Toyama (included transfer time at JR Omiya Station). When our Shinkansen approached Toyama Prefecture, the view of snowy mountains appeared.

At Toyama Station
It’s easy to find Dentetsu-Toyama (first check point to Alpine Route). We had to exit from JR Toyama Station, from the exit there are so many signs which led us to Dentetsu-Toyama Station. It is located just outside JR Toyama Station. We queued for about 30 minutes to get into train which would take us from Dentetsu Toyama to Tateyama Station (second check point). From Tateyama Station, we continued our journey to Bijodaira (3rd check point) using Tateyama Cable Car. This transportation model is like train which is pulled up (uphill) and pushed down (downhill) by steel cable, but it has railways. It just took 10 minutes to Bijodaira.

The journey from Bijodaira to Murodo (the top of Tateyama Mountain) was the the longest journey using bus among those transportations. It took time for about 1 hour (1,5 hours if it was bad weather). But although that’s a long journey, you will impressed by the view of snow mountains. Even the ground was covered by snow too. The most interesting place in Alpine Route is Murodo. You will see 10 to 20 meters snow wall or snow corridor. We could walk along the snow corridor in the good weather, with the blue sky above us. Still at Murodo, there’s view point platform, which is the most crowded spot in the Murodo Terminal building.

Photo 4-17-16, 11 42 11 AM.jpg

Photo 4-17-16, 11 43 25 AM.jpg

Unfortunately, the weather had gone worse when we arrived at Murodo. We were prohibited to get off the bus. We just enjoyed the view of Tateyama Montains from view point at the terminal building. It was lunch time when we got there so we opened our lunch box. Actually there were some restaurants in every check points, but the prices were quite expensive. I’d rather buy souvenir like key chain, fridge magnet, etc than buy expensive meals. After finishing our lunch, we continued our journey to Daikanbo using tunnel trolley bus with underground route. 

At Daikanbo, we had opportunity to exit from the terminal building because the weather got better. It was my first time touching snow, the texture felt like shaved ice. Before we stood in queue line to get into Kurobedaira ropeway (the next check point), we played in the snow and took many pictures in Daikanbo. All the pictures we made looked like photo studios album with snow wallpaper as our background. We didn’t take too much time to enjoy Kurobedaira, just got into cable car to Kurobe Dam soon because it was already late afternoon. The view of Kurobe Dam was really fascinating. The wind blew so fast at that time, it made a scary sound when it beat iron pillars.

From Kurobe Dam, we continued our journey to the last checkpoint – Ogizawa – by tunnel trolley bus. That was the end of our journey in Tateyama Alpine Route. From Ogizawa, we took bus (included in the whole journey fee) to JR Shinano-Omachi Station. The view along the journey from Ogizawa was stunningly scary like an beautiful snowy area without population – I didn’t see any single person there. When the bus approached Shinano-Omachi, we could see there were population there. Cherry Blossom trees still bloomed. The journey from JR Shinano-Omachi to Tokyo took four hours with four times transits.

Tips while Visiting Alpine Route :

  • Don’t forget to bring gloves and hat or beanie because the temperature can turn into very low suddenly.
  • For you who want to stay a night near Tateyama Alpine Route, you can stay at Toyama (if you plan to start from Dentetsu-Toyama) or Matsumoto (if you plan to start from Shinano-Omachi).
  • You can also stay a night near Tateyama Alpine Route after finishing the tour. 
  • If you plan to stay a night in Nagano Prefecture, it’s better to stay a night in Matsumoto than Shinano-Omachi because Matsumoto is more lively and has easier accommodation. 
  • There is forwarder service for luggage and backpack from JR Toyama Station to JR Shinano-Omachi Station, so you don’t need to carry your luggage along the journey.
  •  If you start from Toyama Prefecture, please don’t be too late to arrive at JR Shinano-Omachi because the last train to JR Matsumoto Station will depart at 07.00 pm.
  • Don’t forget to bring some snacks and foods because the journey can be so exhausting.


Pada hari kedelapan liburan di Jepang, kami kembali harus bangun sepagi mungkin karena seharian ini kami akan berwisata ke Tateyama Alpine Route. Pegunungan Tateyama merupakan pegunungan salju abadi yang terbentang dari Toyama Prefecture hingga Nagano Prefecture.   Kita bisa bertualang di sepanjang pegunungan tersebut dengan moda transportasi yang terintegrasi (cable car, ropeway, tunnel trolley bus, dan highland bus) baik dari Toyama Prefecture maupun dari Nagano Prefecture. Dari Toyama Prefecture, perjalanan Anda akan dimulai dari Stasiun Dentetsu-Toyama, sedangkan dari Nagano Prefecture akan dimulai dari Sinano-Omachi Station. Sebagai informasi, waktu tempuh menuju Toyama Station lebih singkat dibandingkan menuju Nagano Prefecture. Jadi saya sarankan sebaiknya memulai petualangan Anda di Tateyama Alpine Route melalui Toyama Prefecture.

Harga tiket satu kali jalan kurang lebih JPY 11.000, namun bila Anda memiliki JR Pass Anda bisa membeli tiket yang lebih murah (JPY 9.000). Tiket khusus seharga JPY 9.000 ini sebaiknya dibeli sebelum Anda memulai perjalanan Anda (tiket ini berlaku hingga lima hari setelah Anda membelinya). Saya sendiri membeli tiket ini di kantor JR East yang berada di JR Tokyo Station (dekat dengan Marunouchi Exit).Kabarnya, di JR Toyama Station juga bisa membeli tiket ini. Oh iya, biasanya Tateyama Alpine Route ini hanya dibuka di pertengahan April hingga akhir November setiap tahunnya. Untuk lebih detilnya, Anda bisa memastikan tanggal bukanya melalui website resminya.
Itu tadi sekilas tentang Tateyama Alpine Route. Saya berangkat dari Tokyo melalui stasiun JR Higashi Jujo – yang letaknya dekat dengan hotel tempat saya tinggal – menuju JR Omiya Station di Saitama untuk selanjutnya transit menggunakan Shinkansen Hakutaka menuju JR Toyama Station.  Pagi-pagi benar sekitar pukul 06.00 am saya sudah berangkat dari Higashi Jujo. Transit sekitar 20 menit untuk menunggu Shinkansen Hakutaka. Total perjalan yang saya tempuh dari JR Higashi Jujo menuju JR Toyama sekitar 3,5 jam. Mendekati Toyama Prefecture, pemandangan pegunungan bersalju sudah mulai kelihatan.
Untuk menemukan Stasiun Dentetsu-Toyama (titik pertama menuju Alpine Route), Anda harus keluar dari JR Toyama Station dan berjalan sedikit. Lokasi Stasiun Dentetsu-Toyama mudah ditemukan karena banyak penunjuk arah yang menuntun kita ke sana. Kami harus mengantri 30 menit untuk ikut pemberangkatan selanjutnya ke Tateyama Station.  Dari Dentetsu-Toyama ke Tateyama Station memakan waktu kurang lebih satu jam menggunakan kereta. Dari Tateyama Station, perjalanan dilanjutkan ke Bijodaira menggunakan Tateyama Cable Car. Moda transportasi ini seperti kereta yang ditarik naik (uphill) atau turun (downhill) oleh kabel-kabel baja, namun tetap memiliki rel. Kurang lebih hanya membutuhkan waktu 10 menit untuk tiba di checkpoint selanjutnya, Bijodaira.

Perjalanan selanjutnya dari Bijodaira ke Murodo (puncak pegunungan Tateyama) adalah perjalanan yang terpanjang menggunakan moda trasnportasi highland bus selama ± 1 jam (1,5 jam apabila cuaca buruk). Saat perjalanan ke Murodo, Anda akan dimanjakan dengan pemandangan pegunungan bersalju dan tanah yang semuanya tertutup salju. Daya tarik utama dari Tateyama Alpine Route berada di Murodo ini, di mana terdapat snow wall setinggi 10 – 20 meter (kita bisa berjalan menyusuri snow wall itu apabila hari sedang cerah). Selain itu, di terminal Murodo terdapat gardu pandang (view point), di sini merupakan spot foto yang ramai.

Saat kami tiba di Murodo karena cuaca sedang tidak bersahabat dan suhu sudah di bawah 0 derajat celcius. Kami cukup terhibur meski tidak bisa bermain-main di snow wall, kami masih bisa melihat pemandangan di view point terminal Murodo. Di sini kami mengeluarkan bekal makan siang kami dan mulai makan. Sebenarnya ada restoran di setiap check point atau terminal pemberhentian namun harganya sangat mahal, jadi keputusan kami untuk membawa bekal (dari 7/11) cukup tepat. Saya lebih suka mengeluarkan uang untuk membeli oleh-oleh di sana, seperti gantungan dinding, map-map, dan magnet kulkas (yang semuanya bergambar Tateyama Alpine Route). Setelah selesai makan, kami melanjutkan perjalanan ke Daikanbo dengan menggunakan Tunnel Trolley Bus, yaitu bus bawah tanah yang membelah gunung.

Di Daikanbo kami berkesempatan untuk keluar gedung karena badai di Murodo tampaknya tidak sampai ke Daikanbo. Di sinilah untuk pertama kalinya saya menyentuh salju, teksturnya seperti es serut. Sebelum mengantri untuk menaiki ropeway ke Kurobedaira (check point selanjutnya), kami sempatkan bermain salju dan foto-foto di Daikanbo. Foto-foto yang kami ambil seperti dilatarbelakangi gambar-gambarn di wallpaper.

Kami tidak berhenti lama di Kurobedaira dan langsung menaiki cable car untuk menuju Kurobe Dam karena hari sudah terlalu sore. Pemandangan di Kurobe Dam sungguh menawan. Biasanya ada air terjun di sana, namun karena masih beku, air terjun itu terbendung sepenuhnya. Angin yang bertiup di Kurobe Dam ini cukup kencang, bahkan angin-angin tersebut mengeluarkan bunyi saat “menampar” pilar-pilar besi.

Dari Kurobe Dam, kami ke check point terakhir, Ogizawa dengan menggunakan tunnel trolley bus. Demikianlah akhir perjlana kami. Dari Ogizawa kami naik bus ke JR Shinano-Omachi Sta. Pemandangan sepanjang perjalanan itu seperti membelah tempat yang serba hijau namun tidak berpenghuni. Mendekati Shinano-Omachi, baru terlihat ada tanda-tanda kehidupan. Saya masih bisa menemukan bunga Sakura masih lebat di sekitar situ. Perjalanan dari JR Shinano-Omachi untuk kembali ke Tokyo memakan waktu empat jam dengan transit sebanyak empat kali.

Tips Saat Mengunjungi Alpine Route :

  • Sebisa mungkin membawa sarung tangan karena suhu bisa turun sangat drastis.
  • Bagi yang ingin menginap, Anda bisa menginap malam sebelumnya  daerah Toyama atau sebaliknya di daerah Matsumoto.
  • Anda bisa juga menginap setelah menuntaskan perjalanan ini di Toyama atau di daerah Matsumoto.
  • Bila Anda ingin menginap di Nagano Prefecture, disarankan agar Anda menginap di daerah Matsumoto daripada di Shinano-Omachi karena kotanya lebih ramai dan akomodasinya lebih mudah.
  • Tersedia jasa forwarder koper dan tas Anda dari Toyama Station ke Shinano-Omachi Station, jadi Anda tidak perlu membawa-bawa koper sepanjang di perjalanan Tateyama (khusus untuk Anda yang menginap).
  • Bila Anda memulai perjalanan dari Toyama Prefecture, perhatikan agar Anda tidak terlalu sore  tiba di Shinano-Omachi Station karena kereta terakhir menuju Matsumoto Station berangkat pukul 07.00 pm. Perjalanan dari Ogizawa ke Shinano-Omachi kurang lebih satu jam.
  • Disarankan untuk membawa bekal makanan, baik snack ataupun makanan berat.

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