Explore Game of Thrones’ snow wall at Japan’s alpine route


Japan has been a much-loved destination among Indian travellers. This year 18,400 Indian travellers visited the destination in the month of April, which saw 3.9% growth from last year. Japan welcomed 57,700 Indian visitors from January to April registering a 13.7% year-on-year hike. The Cherry Blossom season in Japan has faded away, but one cannot miss out on the Alpine tour.

From mesmerising landscapes to panoramic hiking trails and tranquil lakes, Japan’s Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route offers unparalleled experiences for one and all. This naturally spectacular journey through Japan’s Northern Alps is so high (3,000 m level) that it is often called the ‘Roof of Japan’. To witness its beauty to the fullest, one has to travel through varied means of transportation including cable cars, trolley buses and a ropeway to complete the journey.

While the route can be completed as a long day trip from either Toyama or Nagano, it is advised to relax and complete this 23 miles long journey in two days. The best recommended time to travel the Alpine route is from April till November. The highlight of this snow route which makes it all the more popular is the majestic snow corridors of Midagahara and Murodo. Straight out of Game of Thrones fairy-tale, the wondrous wall reaching 66 ft high can be accessed from April 15 to June 22.

First in this nature trail comes Midagahara, a stunning snowy landscape at an altitude between 1,600 and 2,000 m which is a haven for snow trekking aficionados. Tourists cannot miss the panoramic snowy landscape of Tengudaira, which after spring transforms into a flower garden.

The last tourist spot of the Alpine tour is Murodo, which is also the midpoint of this tour. Murodo, which is known for being the highest altitude railway station/bus terminal, is also famous for its mind-boggling sunset point. From there, one can’t miss the sight of the sun slowly setting in a sea of clouds amidst the hues of orange, pink, red and purple.

The next day begins with an exciting walk along the snow corridor of Murodo, bound to leave the traveller awestruck. After a 10-minute bus ride from Murodo Terminal comes Daikanbo. This tourist spot has an observatory which allows visitors to witness the beauty of the Tateyama Mountain Range and Kurobe Lake’s emerald green sheen.

The exciting voyage then proceeds to Kurobe dam, which can be reached by using a seven-minute ropeway to Kurobedaira and from there five-minute cable car to the tallest dam in Japan. Towering at an altitude of 1,470 m and 186 m high, the dam supports a hydropower plant which helps supply electricity to the entire Kansai Region. Tourists can also enjoy cruising around the lake if they are lucky enough to be visiting during a time when the floodgates are open to let the water pass.

The route then ends on a healing note at the hot spring sightseeing spot Omachi Onsenkyo. Tourists can wash away their fatigue in a natural hot spring surrounded by the majestic view of the Northern Alps.