Tateyama Alpine Route to Kurobe Dam in Toyama
Kurobe Dam, nestled between 3,000 m high mountains, is one symbol of Japan’s high economic growth after WWⅡ. Kurobe Dam was constructed in 1963 with over 10 million workers and a 7-year construction period.
Since we were children, we have heard lots of stories of how hard it was to build Kurobe Dam. It used to be so difficult to visit, but after the Toyama Shinkansen, a bullet train, opened in 2015, it has become much easier to access.
There are two gates to access to Kurobe Dam from Toyama Prefecture and Nagano Prefecture. From Toyama Prefecture, Tateyama Station is the starting point to visit by using Trolley, Cable Car, Ropeway and public bus. It takes about 3 hours to go through from Tateyama Station to Ougisawa Station in Nagano Prefecture, without sightseeing, with 6 types of public transportation. Recommended time is about 8 hours to visit and sea around Kurobe Dam. A one night stay would be much more preferable.
From Toyama Station, it takes one-hour to go to Tateyama Station by car or public transportation.
1. Cable Car from Tateyama Station to Bijodaira Station
Bijodaira Station via Midagahara, Tengudaira to Murododaira by Tateyama Kogen Public Bus (50 mins with 30-40 minute interval)
Cloud sea was approaching as we went up higher and higher near to Murododaira.
3. Tateyama Trolley from Murododaira Station to Daikanbou Station
Trolley (10 mins with a 30-minute interval) through Tateyama bypassing under Mt. Oyama (3,003 m).
4. Tateyama Ropeway from Daikanbou Station to Kurobedaira
Tateyama Ropeway is the longest Onespan type ropeway in Japan at 1.7 km.
Daikanbou Station is located at 2,316 m elevation. There is an observation deck to enjoy Kurobe Lake and Tateyama Kurobe Alpine.
Outstanding views can be seen from the observation deck at the top of the station, including a wide panorama of the Japan Alps and Kurobe Lake.
5. Kurobe Cable Car from Kurobedaira Station to Kurobe Lake Station
The Kurobe Cable Car runs from Kurobedaira Station to Kurobe Lake Station and passes through a steep slope. The difference of elevation is 373 m and the maximum gradient is 31 degrees. The cable car goes underground to preserve nature and protect from natural disasters.
At Kurobedaira (Elevation 1,828 m ), we can see the Tateyama mountain range and Kurobe Lake.
The botanical garden near Kurobedaira Station gives excellent views of the scenic mountain range and Kurobe Lake. You can enjoy high altitude plants and picturesuque scenery.
6. Trolley from Kurobe Dam Station to Ougisawa Station
You can go through from Kurobe Lake Station to Kurobe Dam Station with a 15-minute walk on the Kurobe Dam embankment.
The length of Kanden tunnel is 5.4 km under Mt. Akazawatake and it was constructed to transport building materials. It took 19 months to connect Toyama and Nagano. People used to assemble logs to be carried through the valley to the Kurobe area from Ougisawa town and it took 2-3 days.
It took 7 months to tunnel through the fractured zone, blowing out cracked rocks and 4 degree water, due to its soft surrounding stratum. Digging the Kanden Tunnel was said to be the hardest part of the Kurobe Dam construction project.
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route round ticket is available and the valid period is 5 days. Along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, the connection is very smooth to transfer.
It takes 105 mins from Nagano Station to Ougisawa Station by public bus. It takes 3-4 hours to Shinano Oomachi Station from central Tokyo.
You can visit the West Area via Toyama and Nagano prefectures from Tokyo, but it takes time to transfer. Although renting a car is not necessary to visit Kurobe Dam, traveling in Toyama and Nagano Prefectures is much more convenient with a rent-a-car.