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How to go about the Kurobe Alpine Route?

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Edinburgh, United...
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How to go about the Kurobe Alpine Route?

Hi,

I am interested to go on this route on my own. However, I am not too sure how. Can the whole trip be done in a day? Is there a map or a guide to follow? Or is there any local tour there available? Any advise?

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: How to go about the Kurobe Alpine Route?

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route can be done in a day, provided you spend the night before at either end close to the route. On the western approach you can stay in Tateyama, but if you can start early spending the night before in Toyama or even Kanazawa is also possible as the 2 towns have more choices in accommodation. On the eastern end you can consider Shinano-Omachi or Matsumoto, both of which are accessible by using JR.

Here a general route map of the whole Alpine Route:

alpen-route.com/english/Access/index2.html

Edinburgh, United...
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2. Re: How to go about the Kurobe Alpine Route?

Hi,

Thanks for info. However, would you recommend going through the course in a day or to stay over at the peak station so as to explore the place further. Would the through pass be valid still if I break up my trip in 2 days? I see that the region nearby are rather worth a visit too like Gokayama and the Kurobe gorge.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: How to go about the Kurobe Alpine Route?

Unless you are into hiking, one day for the Alpine Route is enough, IMO. The time of visit is another important factor. Weather up there could be severe. We went late April and still it was snowing heavily. We also read that snow starts to gather as early as Oct. May is a good time to go when you can walk out to the unique snow corridor. Another suitable time for the Alpine Route is autumn when koyo can be enjoyed, especially around the Kurobe Dam area.

Indeed Gokayama and Kurobe Gorge are also worth visiting. Taking the scenic train to Kurobe Gorge during autumn foliage season will reward you with spectacular koyo view. The Gokayama region is less touristy than Shirakawa-go and is best suited for a self-drive tour around Ainokura, Suganuma and Gokayama Washi-no-Sato.

For the 3 mentioned destinations it is best to spend a few days using Toyama as your base. Rent a car for a day and go to Gokayama. Another day travel by train to Unazuki and then train again to Kurobe Gorge and back. Keep the Alpine Route last and end it in Matsumoto for your onward journey.

Edinburgh, United...
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4. Re: How to go about the Kurobe Alpine Route?

Hi,

Wow, those are very helpful suggestions indeed. I am planning to go during the end of Oct or early Nov. I guess it would be too cold to hike than ya. I haven't check out transportation to Gokayama. Would there be buses available? Though I can drive, but I haven't been driving for a long time and I am worried that the road condition might be too much a challenge for me.

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: How to go about the Kurobe Alpine Route?

To go to the Gokayama area by public transport from Toyama, you need to take a train to Takaoka and then a bus. As you can see from the following webpage daily bus service is not that frequent.

http://www.japan-guide.com/bus/gokayama.html

It can be done but having your own wheels will surely allow more flexibility and save waiting time for train + bus connection. We also went during Nov and the drive was easy. In a day we covered Ainokura, Kaminashi, Suganuma and Gokayama Gassho no Sato. We even found time to go to Himi on our way back to Toyama.

Late Oct to early Nov is the ideal time for autumn foliage in Kurobe Gorge. It would be crowded as it is very popular, so reserve your Kurobe Gorge train NOW. Too lazy to repeat myself here, just take a look at the following thread on another forum about access to Kurobe Gorge.

http://www.japan-guide.com/forum/quereadisplay.html?0+85406

singapore
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6. Re: How to go about the Kurobe Alpine Route?

Can i do this way ?

Stay at toyama the night before then take the ride and back again to toyama ?

Is there a one day for the whole of Kurobe Alpine Route ?

My trip supposed to be mid May

thanks

Edited: 5:44 am, October 14, 2011
Edinburgh, United...
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7. Re: How to go about the Kurobe Alpine Route?

To cover the Alpine route from 1 end to the other takes 6-7 hr.

So I would suggest you stay in Toyama, Start the route the next morning and ends at Shinano-Omachi. Proceed to Matsumoto to stay 1 night. I am going in 2 weeks time, and this is the plan I have. Since you are going in May, you should be able to do hiking along Murodo (the peak). You suppose you can explore staying up there for the night too.

If you proceed to Matsumoto, consider going to the Daio wasabi farm, which is about 30-40mins away by rail. I went there before and it's pretty interesting.

singapore
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8. Re: How to go about the Kurobe Alpine Route?

Able to do some hiking in May ? Thought there are still snow there , which is not safe ? If can , would be good !

Do you know is there a day pass for all the rides there ?

Matsumoto - i have been before.. so wondering after I get down from Shinano-Omachi , should I stay for the night or proceed else where ?

wow will wait for your report !

Coolum Beach...
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9. Re: How to go about the Kurobe Alpine Route?

We made the trip as a two day effort in early June, travelling west to east and staying at Murode overnight. The Tateyama hotel at Murode was excellent - not cheap but the all inclusive meals were substantial. There are interesting walks around the Murode area. Certainly if you have the time and funds two days is better than one for the tour.

We stayed in Toyama the night before departing on the Dentetsu railway for Tateyama; there are several hotels in Toyama that near walking distance from the JR and Dentetsu stations.

Hikers were seen leaving Bijodaira, presumably staying at some of the hotels between there and Midagahaira where snow was prevalent.

Mid afternoon there is a once daily Azusa Limited Express through Shinano-Omachi to Matsumoto and on to Shinjuku. Matsumoto is worth a look around if you have time. Alternatively a bus departs Shinano Omachi for Nagano a couple of times in the afternoon. However bags forwarded from Murode don't arrive at the collection point near the station until around 2.30pm.

A short video of the snow wall on the approach to Murode is available on http://vimeo.com/29094678

Edited: 6:46 am, October 16, 2011
Singapore
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10. Re: How to go about the Kurobe Alpine Route?

Pls advise , can i use JR east pass to travel from Narita airport to Toyama station? Pls advise also the correct n fastest route.