We decided to visit Kurobe Dam located in the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. Kurobe Dam was constructed after extremely hard toil in the 1960’s. Tourists can only visit from the middle of April to the end of November due to the heavy snow and severe weather in the Kurobe area. The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route was opened in 1971, after improving the condition of the transport links as a result of the construction of the Kurobe Dam.
Mirror like surface of the Mikuriga-ike Pond
Murododaira is the key station to visit the Kurobe Dam and the Tateyama Mountain Range. It is also a beautiful place for a walking trail. When we visited, we didn’t prepare any equipment for climbing mountains, but we could enjoy a walking trail at Murododaira. A well-maintained sidewalk runs through Murododaira, so it was easy to hike without special gear for climbing. While walking the sidewalk to see alpine plants, suddenly a millar-like pond appeared in front of us. Mikuriga-ike Pond was created by a volcanic eruption and there were no fish in it. The circumference is 630m and the depth is 15m. It took one hour to walk around the pond.
There were some gentle slopes and it was easy to walk with jogging shoes or walking shoes. Rain gear was needed, because the weather was changeable at 2,450m altitude and we had to walk in rain or foggy weather sometimes. The path and guide maps were well maintained, so we had no worries to walk even in the foggy conditions. We saw reflections of the scenery of the Tateyama Mountain Range in the mirror like surface of the Mikuriga-ike Pond. It’s one of the most picturesque spots for a stroll at Murododaira.
Alpine Plans in Murododaira
Alpine plants were blooming around the Mikuriga-ike Pond. Their color was plain and the shape was simple, but they looked brave and strong in the strict environment. It was fun to take pictures of adorable appearance and amazing colors of each of them. However, the most interesting part was to see those flowers and plants in harmony with the huge and wide mountainous background.
We stayed at Murododaira for two nights to see the Kurobe Dam and went a little further to hike at Midagahara which was one of the areas to walk along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. The transportation was so convenient to hike in Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. It took 30 mins from Murododaira to Midagahara by Express bus. You can also stop over from Tateyama Station to Midagahara for a walk. Midagara is situated 1,930m above sea level, so the weather is changeable. We saw blue sky behind the Tateyama Kurobe alpine area but soon after we were surrounded by white fog. We didn’t bring our umbrellas, but sports jackets protected us from coldness.
You can choose to do a 45-minute or 1 and a half hour walk while enjoying the beautiful scenery and alpine plants at the Midagahara. The boardwalk was flat and it was well maintained. Some parts were separated into two boardwalks, so we could easily pass each other with other visitors even in summer vacation season.
Following the boardwalk from Midagahara Hut, we saw the wetland called hungry goasts’ rice fields. Only selected people could climb Tateyama Kurobe Alpine in old times and they had a hard time to climb up to Midagahara. In the wild landscape, they had seen small plain fields and thought someone must claim this area.
It was also easy to tell the story of goasts’ rice field to someone who had never been to Midagahara in their life.
It’s all in the details:
Transportation: Tateyama Alpine Route
Stay: Hotel Tateyama