Are you planning to visit Japan but worried that you would not be able to catch its beauty in snow? Or do you live in Japan but missing the sight of snow in spring or summer? Fret not because Japan has a way of experiencing snow even in the middle of the warmer months!
In Murododaira of the Tateyama area in Toyama Prefecture, one of the snowiest places in the world, an astonishing sight of gigantic snow walls are visited by about a million tourists every year. And when I say “gigantic,” I mean GIGANTIC. The famous snow corridor runs a stretch of 500 meters with its snow walls reaching up to 50 feet (15 meters) in height, which is as tall as a seven-story building!
For the entire winter season, Murodo is inaccessible because of the huge amount of snowfall it receives. But in April, the snow is gathered on the side of the road, forming these snow walls and giving way to pedestrians for sightseeing. What a wonder!
These majestic snow walls in Murodo, locally known as “Yuki no Otani,” are considered as one of the most popular attractions that can be seen when taking the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, the 37-kilometer sightseeing route that connects Tateyama, Toyama, and Nagano. It is also located at the highest point of the route and can be accessed by taking a trolley bus, a cable car, and a ropeway. Tickets for these modes of transportation are available both at the designated ticket counters and online.
By the way, the ropeway going up the route is considered as Japan’s longest one-span ropeway without any support towers for a span of 1.7 kilometers. So aside from seeing gigantic snow walls, you’d also get to experience one of the “-ests” of Japan!
Visitors are welcomed to enjoy the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route starting from mid-April to November, but the viewing of the snow wall only lasts until June. This 2018, it is opened to the public on April 15 until June 22, from 9:30 AM to 3:15 PM (last admission at 3:00 PM). Make sure to catch it!
It would definitely feel like you are in a different world when you visit Murodo as everything is a vast stretch of white snow. At the same time, the sky would seem so close and within your grasp with the view of the snow-covered Northern Japanese Alps all around you! If you are lucky, you might even get the chance to see the Alpine ptarmigan, known as the “messengers of god,” who are believed to bring happiness to those who see them.
In April, it still feels like winter up in Tateyama as the temperature can get as low as 1 degree Celsius. And, it can get really crowded as it is the best season to see the snow walls. However, a visit in June would give you a warmer and a more relaxing experience, with the temperature rising as high as 12 degrees Celsius. It can still get a little chilly, but definitely not as cold!
When visiting, make sure to wear proper clothing that will keep you warm in the entire walk.
Also, there are times when the snow walls could be closed due to bad weather, so make sure to plan your trip well ahead of time.
Now, isn’t the idea of seeing snow in spring, more so in summer, exciting? What are you waiting for? Get your winter clothes ready and embark yourself on an awesome trip!