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[Toyama/Sightseeing] Introducing the charms and 10 walking points of Murodo (Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route)

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Murodo is located at an altitude of 2450 meters, the highest point on the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. It is a spot rich in nature and full of things to see in each season. This time, I would like to introduce the charm of Murodo and some walking points in the surrounding area.

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1. Murodo area rich in nature

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is a mountain sightseeing route with a total length of approximately 37.2 km, connecting various vehicles between Tateyama Station in Tateyama Town on the Toyama Prefecture side and Ogizawa Station in Omachi City on the Nagano Prefecture side. This course, which runs through the Tateyama Mountain Range, is almost entirely within the Chubu Sangaku National Park, and is visited by many tourists as it includes spectacular scenic spots such as Yajagahara, Daikanbo, and Kurobe Dam.

However, touring this place in your own car is basically prohibited. Transportation options include cable cars, highland buses, trolley buses, ropeways, and electric buses. The roads are closed from December to March due to heavy snowfall, so the season is from April to November.

Still, the reason why the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is chosen as a popular travel destination is because you can encounter the charm and excitement of nature that outweighs the inconvenience. In particular, Murododaira, which stretches out in front of Murodo Terminal, which is located at approximately 2,450 meters above sea level and is the highest point on the Alpine Route, is an area with many popular spots. Surrounded by mountains such as the Tateyama Sanzan, Mt. Tsurugidake, and the Dainichi Mountain Range, the area offers spectacular views and the thrill of encountering rare animals and plants. Stargazing, such as the Milky Way and shooting stars, which can only be seen in the clear air, is so amazing that you will be left speechless.

Raicho

2. Murodo’s four seasons

2-1 Spring when snow rafts appear on Mikuriga Pond

Spring in Murodo begins around mid-April, when the Alpine Route opens. At Mikurigaike Pond in Murodo, you can encounter beautiful natural phenomena that can only be seen at this time of year. ``Snow rafts'', which are snow floating on a lake and moved by the wind, are one of the seasonal features of spring.

Even in April, the area is still covered in snow, so we recommend waterproof trekking shoes when walking. Wear thick jackets and wear layers to help regulate your body temperature, so you don't have to sweat during the walk. Also, the glare from the snow is strong, so it's helpful to carry sunglasses.

Mikuriga Pond

At this time of year, the huge snow wall known as the ``Yuki no Otani'' that appears when snow is removed from the highland bus road is a regular feature. A spring walking event will be held where you will walk alongside snow walls that are 20 meters high at their highest point.

Snowy Otani Walk

2-2 Murodo is in full bloom during the summer season

Kurobe Dam starts releasing water for tourism in late June, and Mt. Tateyama opens in early July, making this a season full of greenery. Around this time, many sightings of the grouse, a national special natural monument, and the weasel-like stoat can be seen. The alpine plants such as Chinguruma, Veronica japonica, Japanese radish, and Japanese linden are in full bloom, and Murodo becomes colorful in the summer. The temperature at this time is 10-20 degrees. The mountain sun is strong, so it is best to avoid exposing your skin as much as possible. During the day, wear breathable long sleeves and long pants. A wide-brimmed hat is recommended. In the afternoon, gas may be released and the temperature may drop, so it's a good idea to bring something to put on, such as a windbreaker.

Ermine

Shinanokinbai

2-3 Murodo is the first place on the Alpine Route where the autumn leaves begin to change.

Tateyama's autumn leaves begin to change color from mid-September. This is the season when the leaves gradually change color from the higher elevations to the foot of the mountain. At Murodo, the highest point on the Alpine Route, the leaves begin to change color earlier than other places. Especially around Raichozawa, the autumn leaves of rowan trees are in full bloom. One of the joys of autumn in Murodo is being able to enjoy the fall foliage while strolling.

Autumn leaves at Tateyama Murodo

In Murodo, it sometimes snows in October. Wear thick wool shirts and fleece jackets when you go out. In November, temperatures often drop below freezing, so take extra precautions against the cold. In addition to scarves, gloves, and hats, it may also be helpful to have hand warmers on hand.

3. 10 walking points around Murodo

3-1 Mikuriga Pond

Mikurigaike, the symbol of Murodo, is approximately 630 meters in circumference and approximately 15 meters deep, and is said to be the most beautiful volcanic lake in the Northern Alps. It is also a popular and easy walking course as it takes 40 minutes to 1 hour to walk around the pond once. On a clear day, the beauty of ``Upside Down Tateyama'' where the three mountains of Tateyama are reflected on the deep blue water surface will take your breath away. Benches are set up here and there along the lakeside, and the mountain hut Mikurigaike Onsen has a restaurant and hot springs that can be used for day trips, so you can take a break while walking.

Mikuriga Pond

3-2 Oyama Shrine/Mine Head Office

Oyama Shrine in Etchuchu Ichinomiya is the main shrine at the top of Mt. Oyama, the Chugu prayer hall of Ashikuraji temple, and the front shrine of Iwakuraji temple. It consists of three shrine halls: the shrine platform (maetateshadan). Among them, Mine Honsha, which is located on the top of Mt. Oyama that can be climbed from Murodo Terminal as a starting point, is a shrine located on the head of a rock at an altitude of 3003 meters. This place is the center of the Tateyama faith, and many climbers visit during the summer mountain season. The panoramic view of Toyama Bay, Mt. Ontake, and Mt. Fuji from here is nothing short of spectacular.

Oyama summit

【basic information】

Name Oyama Shrine/Mine Head Office

Address: Ichiban, Tateyamabo, Ashikaji Temple, Tateyama-machi, Nakashinkawa-gun, Toyama Prefecture

WEB Oyama Shrine official website

3-3 Raichozawa

Raichodaira is surrounded by high mountains. The Raichozawa campsite is crowded with climbers heading for the Tateyama traverse, Mt. Okudainichi, and families enjoying the Murododaira hike, and is filled with tents during the high summer season. Also nearby are Raicho Onsen, Raichoso, and the mountain hut, Raichozawa Hutte, which are used by many mountaineers.

【basic information】

Name: Raichodaira (Time required from nearest station: Approximately 45 minutes walk from Murodo Terminal)

Address: Raichodaira, Ashikaji Temple, Nakayama-machi, Toyama Prefecture

TEL 090-1632-9141 (Raichozawa Camp Management Office)

WEB Raichosawa Campsite

3-4 Enmadai Observation Deck (Jigokudani Observation Deck)

Enmadai Observation Deck is located on the north side of Mikurigaike Pond. From here you can look down on Jigokudani where volcanic gas spews out. It is a spot where you can enjoy the topography of Mt. Tateyama, with the three Tateyama mountains of Mt. Bessatsu, Mt. Oyama, and Mt. Jodo in the east, and the Yamazaki Curl created by glacial erosion, and the Dainichi Mountain Range to the west.

3-5 Tamadono Iwaya

Tamadono Iwaya is also depicted in the ``Tateyama Mandala,'' which summarizes the worldview of ``Tateyama Faith.'' According to the legend of the founding of Tateyama, Ariyori Saeki, the founder of Tateyama, received a message at this rock lodge. Until the Meiji era, these two rocky houses, one large and one small, were revered as sacred places for Shugen training. A stone Jizo and 16 Arhats are enshrined inside. You'll be going down a somewhat steep mountain road, so it's best to avoid wearing light clothing.

Tamadono Iwaya

3-6 Tateyama Tamadono Spring Water

Among the Tateyama mountain range, which is considered one of Japan's three sacred mountains, the spring water from Tateyama Tamadono is said to be a source of energy, and many people take the water home with them. This water comes from filtering snow within the strata over 200 to 300 years. The soft water is cool and easy to drink even in summer, at a temperature of 2 to 5 degrees Celsius. The period when you can collect spring water from Tateyama Tamadono, which has been selected as one of the country's top 100 waters, is from July when the snow melts until November when the snow begins to fall.

3-7 Tateyama Nature Conservation Center

If you want to meet grouse and stoats in Murodo in the summer, go to the Tateyama Nature Conservation Center inside Murodo Terminal. The center posts recent sightings of grouse and ermine, increasing your chances of encountering one. Sighting information is also posted on the official website, ``Grouse Watcher Net.'' We also offer free nature observation tours with Toyama Prefecture-certified naturalists (nature commentators).

Murododaira (Murodo Terminal)

【basic information】

Name Tateyama Nature Conservation Center (Time required from nearest station Immediately from Murodo Terminal)

Address: Ashikaji Temple (Murododaira), Tateyama-cho, Nakashinkawa-gun, Toyama Prefecture

WEB Tateyama Nature Conservation Center official website

3-8 Midorigaike Pond

Midorigaike, which has a similar name to Mikurigaike, is a small pond, but the view of the Tateyama Sanzan from here is spectacular, and it is also a famous photo spot. The sun is backlit in the morning, so the best time to take photos is in the evening. Especially in autumn, when the mountains turn red, the evening light hits them, making for beautiful shots.

Midorigaike

3-9 Blood Pond

Tateyama was once feared as ``hell on Mt. Tateyama,'' but on the other hand, it was also worshiped as a pure land where one could wash away the sins and impurities of this world by climbing the mountain. The pool of blood was especially feared as hell. The red surface of the lake is due to the mud containing iron oxide. Red ponds are a little scary, but some ponds are not red, so we recommend comparing them to see the wonders of nature.

3-10 Tateyama Murodo Sanso

Tateyama Murodo Sanso is the origin of the place name ``Murodo''. This mountain hut, the oldest in Japan, was built in the Kamakura period and has been designated as an important cultural property of the country as an important building that conveys the history of Tateyama mountain climbing.

Currently, the inside is used as a museum, exhibiting items excavated from around the area. It was used until the 1980s, but when it was designated as an important cultural property, Tateyama Murodo Sanso was built right next to it and continues to operate here.

Tateyama Murodo Sanso

【basic information】

Name Tateyama Murodo Sanso

Address: Murodo, Tateyama-cho, Nakashinkawa-gun, Toyama Prefecture

TEL 076-463-1228

WEB Tateyama Murodo Sanso official website

4.A tour is recommended for a trip to Murodo, which is full of highlights.

Among the Tateyama Alpine Route, Murodo is a place where you can be moved by the magnificent nature that can only be found here. Although many people would like to go there, it is also a place that is difficult to go to on your own due to restrictions on movement.

If you use a tour, you will be guided by a tour conductor and you will be able to see all the highlights and attractive spots. Why not take this opportunity to travel to the popular Murodo?

Written by

Yomiuri Travel is a comprehensive travel agency headquartered in Tsukiji, a town with a fish market, close to Ginza, a shopper's paradise. We will continue to disseminate information about the charms of Japan and introduce recommended activities and tours!

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