Let’s start this blog-post with an honest confession: I never had any item in my bucket list which says “walk through a snow corridor”!!
In fact I never knew that there is something called a SNOW-CORRIDOR !!
Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route - intro:
The 90km 立山黒部アルペンルート (I am sure you got that ;-) ) is a unique and spectacular route through the Northern Japan Alps which is traversed by various means of transportation including cable-cars, trolley buses and a ropeway; and obviously walking/hiking/trekking. It was an incredible journey through snow covered sacred mountains, wilderness, forests, impressive tunnels, high peaks, hot springs and Japan’s highest dam. Plus a ton of fresh mountain air! Oh, I almost forgot… a frozen lake too!!
The main attraction of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is the majestic “snow corridor” whose snow walls reach up to 20m high. A section of the snow corridor around Murodo is open to pedestrians usually from mid-April to mid-June.
There are two ways of traversing the route and to reach the Snow corridor: (1) From Tateyama ; and (2) from Ogisawa. We started from the Ogisawa side and reached Murodo by traversing through the Kurobe Dam.
The Snow Corridor:
Murodo is the highest point on the route that connects Nagano Prefecture with Toyama Prefecture through the spectacular Northern Japan Alps. Standing at 2450 meters above sea level, Murodo is completely inaccessible in winter due to the heavy snowfall.
In mid-April, a road is cut through the snow, creating snow walls that can be as high as 20 meters.
In 2015, the snow corridor was open to pedestrians from April 15 to June 22 (from 10am to 3pm) along a few hundred meter long stretch of road, allowing up-close views of the walls. The highest point of the wall was reported to be 13 meters on the opening day, which is actually lower than the average (17m) due to below-average snowfall during the previous winter.
Since we were lost enjoying the breathtaking views at the Kurobe dam and the Daikando, we reached the snow corridor section only at 2.30pm. Initially although we were a little sad because we got on 20-30mins to enjoy this majestic thing, but then one of the security personnel informed that there is another snow wall: “the mini snow corridor” where we can go and “play” without any time limitations!! Yuppieee!
Apart from the main snow walls, there was a mini snow walls section too, where you can play "snow games" !!
This was one such experience that probably one would rarely get on any trip. One such place where there is no difference between ‘expectation’ and ‘reality’. The experience of playing with snow in between such majestically high snow walls is actually inexplicable. It’s truly a must do!!
If the snow-corridor travel-blog was successful in putting Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route in your wish-list, please go ahead and read the detailed travelogue (for all the info: how to go, what to see, what activities etc etc.). If not, visit the photo gallery to get further motivated to add the Japanese Alps to your to-visit places!!