Helen and Randall on the road

A bit about our adventures 2011-2012

Monday 6th May 2013: The Alpen Route, Japan Alps.

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The plan was to do the supposedly spectacular Alpen Route , leaving early from Martin and Tilly’s on Monday morning and arriving at the other end in time for the last train to Matsumoto, having seen some spectacular views and done some short hikes along the way.

When we took the first two modes of transport – the train from Toyama to Tateyama and then the ‘cable car’ (funicular to us) for the first 500m up the mountain – this still looked reasonable.

Waiting for the 'Cable Car'

Waiting for the ‘Cable Car’

However by the time we were at about 1500m, about halfway to Murodo on the bus, a heavy mist had rolled in and the snow was starting to fall as we drove through the famous snow corridor:

Snow Corridor

In Murodo, at 2500m, we’d been planning to hike around the pretty lake there and maybe even visit the ‘Hell Valley’ , although we saw a sign that the latter was closed to walkers because of dangerous gases released by recent increased ‘fumarolic’ volcanic activity. However there was such a white-out at the top that walking really wasn’t on the cards:



So we took the next three means of transport; the electric ‘trolley bus’ through the tunnel, followed by the spectacular, over 1000m single-span cable car / ropeway and then another funicular down to the Kurobe dam:

Looking down from the top ropeway staion

Looking down from the top ropeway staion


Warning sign on the funicular


Kurobe Dam (1962)


Kurobe Dam


At Kurobe Dam

From the dam the final means of transport were another electric trolley-bus, then a local bus for half an hour, then finally a JR train to Matsumoto to check in to our hotel for the night.

We found an izakaya near the hotel for food and a couple of beers while listening to locals be raucous (well, mainly local girls be squeaky and screechy!) before crashing for the night.

Edamame, sashimi etc...yummy!

Edamame, sashimi etc…yummy!

Needless to say, the next morning the mountains were clear and the sky was blue!


View from our hotel


Written by helenbcn

May 7, 2013 at 6:21 am

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