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(CNN) A giant snow corridor near the otherworldly Mount Tateyama, one of Japan’s three sacred mountains, will reopen to travelers on April 15.
Called Yuki no Otani (or Great Valley of Snow), this 500-meter-long pathway traverses towering walls of snow that rise up to 20 meters at the highest point of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.
Stretching through Toyama and Nagano prefectures north of Tokyo, the 90-kilometer sightseeing route — dubbed the “Roof of Japan” — offers incredible views of 3,015-meter Mount Tateyama and 2,478-meter Mount Akazawa-dake peak, while providing access to everything from Japan’s highest altitude hot spring to the country’s highest waterfall.
But the biggest attraction of the route is the snow walk, which takes about 20 minutes to cross and will remain open until June 25.
The tourist attraction is the result of months of hard work by snowplow drivers who carved out the snow-on the Tateyama Toll Road.
The opening of the Yuki no Otani walk also marks the resumption of traffic along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route at the end of winter.
Other attractions in the area include a separate Panorama Road, which gives trekkers a better view of Mount Tsurugi, part of the Tateyama range. This one is only open until May 7.
Tourists can also visit the Snow Kamakura (Japanese igloo) and Snow Tunnel at Daikanbo Station, which also has an observation deck that offers panoramic views of the Japanese Alps.
For the first time, visitors in 2023 will be able to help clear the frozen snow and take part in creating a new route — or as the attraction site calls the event, “Kuzusou Yukikabe (Let’s break the snow wall).”
The Snow Wall and other attractions may close during inclement weather. Visitors should check the official website, Alpen-route.combefore making the trip.
For those looking to avoid the crowds, the website encourages visitors to consider going in June.
“Even in late June, the walls are more than 10 meters high. Since there are fewer visitors in June, you can enjoy a more relaxed sightseeing experience. Also, the weather in June is warm and more predictable,” the official website said.
The starting points of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route are Tateyama Station in the west or Ogizawa Station in the east, while the Great Valley of Snow can be accessed from Murodo Station, which at 2,450 meters is the highest station on the route.
It takes about an hour to reach Murodo Station from Tateyama Station, a journey that includes a 50-minute scenic bus ride and cable car trip.
Travelers can choose to stay in one of the mountain accommodations on offer.
Since private vehicles are prohibited, visitors must use local public transportation and travel to designated areas.
Some of the best trekking routes include Bijodaira, a primeval forest home to 1,000-year-old cedars and beech trees, and Murodo (near the snow wall walk), where visitors can see the photogenic volcanic crater lake of Mikurigaike and the oldest. mountain hut in Japan.
The route is also home to Japan’s highest altitude hot spring — Mikurigaike Onsen at 2,410 meters in Murodo — and the country’s highest waterfall — Shōmyō Falls, which rises 350 meters.
Experienced mountaineers can attempt one of the peaks of Mount Tate, which offers views as far as Mount Fuji on a clear day.
Travelers visiting the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route are advised to wear winter clothing and equipment suitable for trekking or mountaineering.
There are various ways to access the area, with regular trains running from Tokyo to Tateyama Station, but travelers will need to change trains at Toyama. More travel options can be seen in Alpen-route.com website.