Alpine Pass

Peach:  Japan has been pretty spectacular so far with the hustle bustle of Tokyo and then the relative calmness of Matsumoto and the beautiful Kamikochi National Park. So we were well aware that when we decided to take the full day ‘Tateyama Alpine Pass’ that it would definitely be beautiful. It included busses, trolley busses, cable cars/funiculars, ropeways, and a train.

Jethro:  Nope, we didn’t know what half of those methods of transport mean either.  They take you from Ogizawa, over the mountains (across 37km and up 2450m) and end at Toyama.  We had left at 6:30 am, with the hostel dude kindly driving us to the bus station.  There was a bit of a worry as I had lost my speaker!  We had it attached to our bicycle yesterday, and turns out we left it clipped on there and someone else took that bike out.  Thankfully the hostel dude found it for us when the other guests returned the bike.  We ended up waiting a bit for the bus so nipped out to get our hattrick visit to Matsumoto castle, this time with sunrise golden light.

Peach:  The Bus took us to Ogizawa where we bought our day ticket to Toyama, the end of the route where we would be staying for that night.

First was trolley bus to Kurobe Dam, took 1 million people to build it and 171 died whilst building it. [Jethro: the dam, not the trolley bus d: ].  Water is released from June to October and is incredibly impressive. Ten tonnes per second or something. Whole structure is imposing and impressive. Making lots of Dam puns. Climbed about 300 steps to get to different viewpoints up the mountain.

We took a ‘Funicular’ (Cable pulled steep land train thing) for 0.8km up to next stop where we could see the dam area from a higher vantage point. Only then could appreciate how ‘small’ the giant Dam was compared to the mountains surrounding it.

Jethro:  Next was the ropeway (in England it’d be called a cable cart), which took us up into the clouds.  Going up a ropeway into clouds sounds beautiful but in reality is wet and has low visibility.  We couldn’t even do the walk we had planned up here as we couldn’t see 5 meters in front of us.

At this point we were already 2316m up, and needed to take a bus (don’t ask how they got it up here) along to the peak.  This can be extra incredible in springtime:

However, the snow wasn’t anywhere near that impressive for us.  We could see rough hills covered in cold life instead, and it was still pretty epic.

The way down the mountain took more busses and another cablecart.

We did a backup walk which was below the cloud level and good fun. We then had another (very scenic!) Train ride through Japanese countryside, getting us to Toyama for the night.

Toyama was a pretty normal big town, and was really just a stop over before we headed south on the rest of our loop.  We had booked the hotel late, and the cheapest option ended up being a bit fancy (compared to our standard level of fanc) and even came with room robes.  We had well earned fun taking selfies with these for an hour or so then went to bed tired but very happy.

Tomorrow would be a good one, heading to takeyama!


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