Translated by Allie
Wonder at Nature’s Power by Hiking a Volcano! Tateyama Caldera, Toyama
Written by LIFE STYLE, Inc.
Mountain hikers and trekking fans are sure to enjoy themselves in Japan - over 70% of the country is covered in natural, mountainous areas with climbs ranging from beginner friendly to exceptionally difficult.
Did you know that about 70% of Japan is mountainous and covered with forest?
As mountains are always around us, there are many hiking lovers in Japan, which means that famous mountains are packed with trekkers during holidays. There are even some people who travel all the way from South Korea to trek on long weekends in Japan.
Tateyama Caldera in Toyama prefecture, is one of the most popular mountains for hikers in Japan. Today let’s take a hike and discover the beautiful natural scenery using Google Street View.
Tateyama Caldera, Toyama
Tateyama Caldera is located in the Nakaniikawa district of Toyama prefecture, and is found on the south side of the Midagahara, a famous lava plateau. It is said that this caldera was formed by a volcanic eruption which occurred 220,000 years ago. This caldera measures 4.5 km (north to south), is 6.5 km wide (east to west) and rises in elevation from 500 to 1700 m.
To travel to the caldera by train, you should take the Tateyama line and get off at Tateyama Station. Trains run to this station every 30 minutes in the summer, and once an hour in the winter. Before planning your trip, it is a good idea to look up the train connections in advance to make certain that there aren’t any delays or closures of the line planned.
If you plan to travel from Tokyo Station to Tateyama, you will need to take the Hokuriku shinkansen and then switch to the Tateyama line; it will take about 4 hours in total to reach Tateyama Station.
What is a Caldera?
A caldera is a large volcanic depression formed by volcanic eruptions. The word ‘caldera’ itself came from either the Portuguese or Spanish for cauldron.
Let's go up to the Tateyama Caldera viewing platform and enjoy its natural landscape from above.
Tateyama Caldera Viewpoint
The natural beauty of the Tateyama Caldera is evident in the vast green space that spreads out in front of you. If we were to say that Midagahara is a moderately green color, then Tateyama Caldera is a vivid, wild green color. This explosion of color seems to suit its volcano origins pretty well.
There is a Tateyama Caldera viewing platform on a mountain, with stairs leading up to this space. Along the way you will find guide boards which will tell you the names of the various mountains and rivers you will pass along your way.
Midagahara Walking Trail
How the scenery looks varies by the season, but let’s explore Midagahara through Google Street View for now. What you can see in the view above is the Midagahara yuhodo course (Midagahara walking trail), which runs between Tateyama Station in Toyama prefecture and Ogizawa Station in Nagano prefecture. This is part of a larger hiking route known as the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.
This is a pretty easy trail even for beginner hikers as it is very well-maintained; not only for the safety of the hikers, but to also preserve and protect the natural swamps around this trail. Each season this trail offers different unique sights for visitors to enjoy: colorful flowers in the spring, lush greenery in summer, bright colors in autumn and fields full of snow in winter.
Tateyama Caldera Sabo Museum
The last attraction we would love to introduce to you is the Tateyama Caldera Sabo Museum. Here you can not only learn about the natural history of the Tateyama Caldera but also learn more about sabo, or soil erosion control, a vital tool that helps in the prevention of mud or landslides across Japan.
When you head inside the museum, you will first see exhibits explaining the history of Tateyama (Mount Tate).
Oba no Daitenseki are also displayed in this museum. In 1858 there was a terrible earthquake that struck this region, causing extreme mudflows, landslides and stone falls to occur. These stones are called oba no daitenseki and, not only can you find them in the museum, but scattered throughout the city as many were left where they landed.
The Tateyama Caldera Sobo Museum is located fairly close to Tateyama Station, so please stop by when you are hiking in order to learn more about this natural wonder.
Do you feel like going for a hike now? It is really worth the trip to hike through this region and experience the impressive natural sights of the Tateyama Caldera.
Tateyama Caldera Sabo Museum
Address: Toyama, Nakaniikawa, Tateyama, Ashikuraji Bunazaka 68
Hours: 09:30 - 17:00 (May open earlier depending on the period)
Closed: Monday (If Monday is a national holiday, the next day is closed) The next day of national holidays, the year-end and new year holidays, periodic maintenance work period (around December)
Nearest Station: Tateyama Station of Toyama Chihō Railway Tateyama Line
Access: 1 minute walk from Tateyama Station
Price Range: Adults - 400 yen, University students - 320 yen, High school students and under - free
Phone number: +81-76-481-1160
Official Website: Tateyama Caldera Sabo Museum