11 June 2016

Trip to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route and 23rd Birthday!

The journey was started on June 2nd, with my favorite Tamagotachi girls: Freezy and Afrin. We left our dorm around 22:15 to catch our 23:45 bus heading to Toyama Station from Shinjuku Station. It took around six and a half hours from Tokyo by night bus to reach Toyama Station in Toyama Prefecture. What a good good night, since we were all bubbling over with excitement! Especially after quite a long Thursday at uni that Afrin and I got to endure every week back then. Hence, no doubt that this journey was surely a 'cure' that we had been looking forward to since a month ago. 

Put my turtleneck and sneakers on, I made sure that comfort and warmth should come first whenever I travel at night. Next, prepared the most important apparatus for the journey, no other than the one and only my tough old camera (that I thought was fully charged, duh). Lastly, brought along my leather jacket as well to wear at the cold Tateyama (this one was definitely the staple wear!). I tried to pack everything smartly in my backpack... and yeahh! I'm extremely ready for the trip! Woohoo...!

Toyama Chiho Railway Train at Dentetsu Toyama Station

Around 06:30 on the next morning (June 3rd), we finally stepped our feet at Toyama Station. Luckily, I had a very good sleep on the bus. There's no better feeling than waking up in a good mood after having a good sleep, right? After spending some minutes at the station's rest room to get ready, we then headed to Dentetsu Toyama Station. This station is literally our starting point to get to Tateyama Kurobe! 

Ah! What's good about this journey is again, a series of meetings with kind-hearted locals. I really can't thank God enough for this. The first meeting was right when we were pointing our fingers on the station map, trying to figure out the way to reach Dentetsu Toyama Station from Toyama Station (both stations are located adjacent to each other anyway). We heard a cute voice in Japanese saying, "Dentetsu Station? You can go with us." Turned out, two cute high school students with a humble and polite looking just offered us a help. "Wow! What a rare chance if we're in Tokyo", whispered Freezy and I almost simultaneously not long after. 

After walking for around 5 minutes, we arrived at Dentetsu Toyama Station. Hopped on the 08:05 train, we continued our journey to Tateyama Station for about an hour. The one way fare costs 1,200 yen per person.

View from the train

Summer greenery all along the way

Arrived at Tateyama Station! Yeeha!

As soon as we arrived at the station, we went directly to the ticket counter to purchase tickets for Tateyama Station - Ogizawa route. The ticket costs 8,290 yen per person. 

How the ticket looks like.  I did wish that they would be kind enough to provide discount for student though haha. However, the price was really worth it. I swear!

One ticket for various means of transportation. So, never lose it or you'll be in trouble, lol. Well, let's get on the first transportation, that is the Tateyama Cablecar! This cute orange cable car can load up to around 20-25 pax. It will surely give you a big thrill as soon as it goes up and up, brings you in and out dark tunnels!

The vibrant colored Tateyama Cablecar

If you're lucky enough, you can spot cute animals running around the edge of the railway. I'm not really sure about what I saw, but it looked like a female deer. Lucky me!!

It only took about 7 minutes from Tateyama Stastion to reach Bijodaira. From here, we continued our journey using Tateyama Highland Bus towards the snowy Murodo.

Waterfall as seen from Takimidai Cliff

Now you know how sunny this day was. Gosh, the sun glare tho.

Two pictures above were taken when we reached Takimidai (1,280m above sea level). The bus stopped for around a minute here, so we were given a chance to enjoy the waterfall from afar. I'm not sure about the name of the waterfall, but it's likely The Hannoki Falls (497m). Umm, or maybe it's not? Well, If it's not the Hannoki Fall than it might be The Shoumyou Falls (350m). You're getting confused? me too, lol. They are twin falls by the way and located in the same area! And, what's cool is that both are Japan's tallest waterfalls!

Wait... but they got different heights, how is it possible that both are called the tallest?! Well, the "tallest" labeling here is somewhat tricky. The Hannoki Falls wins the title only from April to July, exactly when the snow covering Midagahara Plateau melts. Therefore, The Hannoki Falls only puts on a "show" for about three months a year. Meanwhile, The Shoumyou Falls is said to be Japan's tallest "permanent" waterfall since it got a non-stop water supply throughout the year. Tricky enough right? xD If what I saw is really The Hannoki Falls, then super lucky me!! 

Well, I guess it's enough for the "waterfall lecture" thing! Hahah. Let's continue our journey as the bus is keep going up and up the winding mountain road. 

Snow on the rocks on a super sunny day. It doesn't even melt. Fantastic!

As summer is drawing near, shades of greenery has started decorating The Japan Alps.

Say hi to The Alps!

Aaand, yeay! Finally we reached Murodo

Murodo is the highest point along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. As you can see, we're now standing at 2,450m above sea level. The distance from Murodo to the peak of Mt. Tateyama is only 565m. So we're quite close to the summit! :D

Our happy face

Not long after we started exploring Murodo area, a humble middle-aged man offered us a help to take a picture for us. He suggested us to keep going since there was a beautiful pond that we should not miss. 

Then, we keep going...

We did have so much fun here, that we spent quite a while to release our inner hyperactivity, lol. We jumped, made snow balls, shot videos as a memory.... and laughed so hard in between those activities. What's awesome is that, there was nobody but three of us in this super vast land! Ahh, too good to be true... I had literaly nothing in my mind except having so much fun fun and fun.

Oh, and fyi it was super hot at Murodo at the time we were here (around 10:00 am). The reflection of sunlight that fell onto the snow indeed gave an unpleasant  reaction to the eyes. So guys, I absolutely warn you to  wear a pair of sunnies if you ever plan to travel here on June! Now I feel guilty to my eyes for making them endure a rough situation for quite a long time. Well, other than this sunnies thingy I have nothing else to regret about this super fine day! 

Alright... let's move on! We're getting closer to the pond :D

And this is it....


We then stopped for awhile, sitting on a wooden bench to enjoy the scenery. Oh, and we also filled our semi-hungry stomach with snacks that we brought from Tokyo, lol. Extremely grateful to be blessed with such a surreal view right in front of our eyes... Well, what I snapped here might not decent enough to represent how majestic the scenery was, but I do hope that you could enjoy looking at them! :)

After getting our energy back and done enjoying the view, we headed to the famous Yuki no Otani, or the Snow Corridor.

This snow corridor is Murodo's best know attraction. During mid April, the road is flanked with 20m high snow walls as a result of months of heavy snowfall in this area. As for June 3rd 2016, the highest point of the snow corridor only reached up to 8m.  

Let's compare with the picture below, when the height of the corridor is at its highest.

courtesy of http://www.japan-guide.com/

The 8m corridor

The highest wall is right behind my back! Woop!

Done with the snow corridor, we then got back to the main area of Murodo, to grab  lunch! Meanwhile, here's some snaps taken on the way to the restaurant.

Me inside a snow cocoon xD

With my "Yuki-no-Otani Snow Wall Walk Visitor Certificate". I'm a certified visitor everybody! lol.

Here's the zoom in version of this "micro certificate"

.... and here's our lunch: Halal Chicken Curry at Hotel Tateyama's restaurant! (1,400 yen)

Actually the restaurant itself doesn't own a halal certification. But they indeed prepare a Muslim friendly menu cooked with only halal ingredients. So still, thank God, there's a good food that is safe for Muslims to eat at the top of mountain, and moreover it's in Japan! They even use disposable tableware for this menu, like this plastic plate and spork (combination of spoon and fork) which I found is good for Muslims that are likely to worry if the tableware is also used to serve the non-halal dishes. Overall, I do appreciate their kind attempt to serve the increasing Muslim visitors to Japan! I hope they will add more menu variants in the future, since this chicken curry is the only muslim friendly menu they have at the moment :) 

Done having lunch, we then proceeded our journey to Kurobe Dam! Which was the last stop for our Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route journey!First, we need to take Tateyama Tunnel Troley Bus from Murodo heading to Daikanbo. Just like its name, this bus will take us to Daikanbo through a tunnel inside Mt. Tateyama!

After 10 minutes of bus ride, we then continued our journey using Tateyama Ropeway! The view from the ropeway was spectacular but since the ropeway car was sooo packed, I couldn't even get a proper snap of the view. Not even a single...
Can you spot the lake?

Here's the clearer view of the lake! Photo credit to Freezy! <3 *hug!*
Ahh what a breathtaking view of Kurobe Lake down there!!

Aaaand, we're now at Kurobe Dam, Japan's tallest dam! (height: 186m)

A bit sad since we didn't manage to witness the spectacular water discharge show. Turned out, the dam's discharge activity is only conducted from late June to mid October. Within this period, 15 tons of water per second are discharged from Kurobe Lake through the dam daily. That is why, this dam is one of the major attractions along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.

The calm and quite Kurobe Lake

Walking around the dam area. The dam is on the left side, and the lake is on the right.

So, YEAH! Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route mission: accomplished! Aye aye!

To end this journey, we then got on another trolley bus called Kanden Tunnel Trolley Bus, heading to Ogizawa. What a super fun day spent with my tamagotachi girls. Haha, you might be wondering about why "tamagotachi", maybe I will explain about it on the next occasion! xD

So, this is it! A recap of what we enjoyed along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. Of course, the attractions that this route offers are not only what I show through this post. There are still lots and lots of attractions that can be enjoyed and will surely fill you with immense awe.  If you feel interested to go on a journey in this route, you still have chance until November 30 this year! Afterwards, the route will be no longer available until mid April 2017. Yep, because the tour is closed during winter.  

Oh, and I just turned 23, right when we were having this trip! I'm so grateful for everything I have in my life, either the bitter or sweet ones. I know that I'm still far from what is defined as a "grown-up", but I always try my best to be a better person, day by day. Being a better person doesn't always get to do with pleasing everyone in my surroundings. It's damn tiring to live that way or yeah, I'm tired of living that way honestly. So,in this new age I want to be better one for myself, the one that is strong enough to stand all over again after series of trial and errors that possibly happen when someone is at his/her early twenty. I promise myself to use time better and prioritize better than before. Cheers to more adventures to come! <3

Oh, and one more video!

Hope you guys enjoy this post! Till the next adventure, guys!



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