We were at the base of the Tateyama Kurobe mountains. The hills around us were transformed by the beautiful colors of the Autumn leaves. In Japan, the leaves are called, “kouyou” or “momiji”. The Japanese admire “kouyou” just as they admire cherry blossoms in spring. We were delighted at the sight of the colored foliage.
Heading up the mountain, we were to ascend 1,975m and would experience a temperature drop of 10 degrees when we reach the top.
The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is just 37 km in length, but to tackle this route, there are no other ways but to use 7 different public transports with 5 different modes, namely funicular, bus, trolleybus, aerial tramway, and walking.
On the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, as we ascended from the foot of the mountain, the autumn leaves display a wide range of colours including Yellow Minekaede (one of maple varieties) and Dakekamba (Erman’s birch) as well as red Nanakamado (Japanese rowan) could gradually be seen as we proceed to the summit.
As usual, the best sights you saw were the sights while you are moving. While the funicular railway was making a steep climb, with all the trees seemed slanting, the views outside the funicular window were just picturesque. The fact that the funicular was quite full and that it was making a steep climb did not stop me from taking some photos from the funicular’s windows.
As we proceeded higher up, we changed to a tired Trolley Bus with snow chains. The autumn spectacle of the multi-coloured leaves disappeared and gradually gave way to a snow scene. Snow was falling. The fall of snow that has completely turned the area to white, really compelled us all.
We were finally at 2,450 meters above sea level, at Daikanbo, the highest point of the Alpine Route. Daikanbo is located between Murodo and Kurobe-daira stations, where visitors transfer from the Tateyama Trolley Bus to the Tateyama Ropeway, or vice versa.
Daikanbo is arguably the best viewing spot on the Alpine Route. An observation deck outside the precipitous offers the splendid view of Ushiro-Tateyama Mountain Range and Lake Kurobe. Here we have a beautiful view of the mountains and the Lake Kurobe down below.
So, we have experienced the beautiful colors of the fall foliage and the drastic change to the bleak and white and black of the snow capped mountains. We made our way down, taking the ropeway (mountain cable car).