Listening In

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Doing the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route

9th June 2011

It's summer in Kyoto but in the high mountains of Toyama and Nagano, it still looks like winter.

The Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, which straddles the prefectures of Toyama and Nagano in central Japan. Buses, cable cars and a ropeway get you from one end of the route to the other.

The Kurobe Dam, Japan's largest, is one of the highlights of the Nagano side of the route. A cruise ship takes visitors round Lake Kurobe, which is 1,448m above sea level. If you were a lake monster looking for high-rise accommodation, I'd recommend this spot.

Visitors travelling from the Toyama side would see the dam last. What they'd see first if they were there any time from April to June: a corridor carved through deep snow.

You can leave messages in the snow corridor. TK, said one of them, *hearts* AY.

At the end of the corridor, visitors double back, this time over the snow, which can reach 18m high. Informal winter sports are played along the way. This is the snow putt, where you heave a snowball as far as you can. Some people actually tried to do the snow putt uphill.

Snow floor routine. The final pose for the judges.

Lots of winter fun to be had along the route. And that includes lunch.

No comments: