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A Beautiful Journey to a Mystical World
The Tateyama Mountain Range is well known for its beauty and magical atmosphere. In Murodo, visitors can enjoy Mikurigaike Pond and magnificent views of the mountains. Many visitors come to Murodo to experience the beauty of nature firsthand, and the road to Murodo is also full of attractions. Here, the destination is just half of what you can enjoy – the journey there is an adventure in itself. Follow us as we guide you through the transportation options and locations that will enhance your trip to the Tateyama Mountain Range.
Tateyama Station: A Quaint Spot at the Start of Your Journey
There is only one way to access Murodo, the highest point on the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. First, board the Tateyama Cable Car departing from Tateyama Station. Tickets can be reserved in advance or purchased at the station counter on the day of the ride.
The station is surrounded by the mountains, and simply standing outside in the crisp mountain air starts to put your heart and mind at ease.
Board a Unique Form of Transport
The Tateyama Cable Car is one of the transportation systems that make up the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. It is a special form of transportation that originally existed to help transport materials for the construction of the Kurobe Dam, so it has a cargo bed, which is unusual for a cable car. Luckily enough, however, it’s now used to help transport the many visitors who wish to gaze out upon the mountain range with their own eyes.
Board the cable car and head for your next destination, Bijodaira. It takes 7 minutes to cover the 1.3km distance and elevation difference of 500m between Tateyama Station and Bijodaira.
From the windows, you’ll be granted a phenomenal view, but it is worth thinking about what you’d like to see before you hop on board. If you’re a fan of gazing up at the sky through the lens of trees, then we recommend heading directly to the top of the cable car as you board (this spot is quite popular though, so be sure to line up early). If you’re a transportation buff, you might want to choose the seats closest to the bottom of the car where you can look at the freight cart winding through tunnels as you go. From the windows of the car, you can see the columnar jointed timber stones formed when lava from the Tateyama volcano broke off and formed hexagonal stone pillars.
Although the ends of the car make for the best spots if you’d like to take pictures, the view of the trees flowing alongside the car, along with the station and town fading off in the distance, are sights that will forever remain in your memories regardless of your seat.
A Road Trip Full of Sights to See
Next, transfer to the Tateyama Kogen Bus, which connects Bijodaira and Murodo. You’re warmly greeted by the bus driver as you walk from the station and hop aboard, and that friendly atmosphere lets you know you’ll be in safe hands as you traverse the long, winding mountain roads.
You may be wondering, “Where should I sit for the best views?” If so, that’s a great, yet difficult, question! There’s no wrong answer, as you’ll be driven through the middle of the mountain range with mountains on each side, but, when you’re heading towards Murodo Terminal, the left side holds a small advantage. The left side is where you can see the giant Tateyama cedar, "Sendo Sugi," one of the oldest, thickest trees around, along with the 350-meter Shomyo Falls, the highest in Japan. The bus will stop so you can take pictures of the waterfall. (On the way back, it’s on the right).
It’s a 50-minute bus ride from Bijodaira to Murodo Terminal, so although we think staying up to view the sights is the best, we’d understand if you want to gather some energy for the hike ahead.
Murodo Terminal: The Entrance to Another World
As soon as you step off the bus, it’s apparent you’ve found yourself in an environment almost otherworldly.
The crisp, cool air flows across your face, the rich greens of grass and mountain shrubbery brightens your vision, and if you walk along the path for 10 minutes, you’re brought to Mikurigaike Pond. Feel a sense of oneness with nature as you gaze upon the clear blue beauty of Mikurigaike Pond and the vast nature of the Tateyama Mountain Range.
And right next to Mikurigaike Pond appears to be...”hell”? That’s right! It is Jigokudani (“hell valley”). It is the center of Tateyama worship, a local religion that has spread in Toyama Prefecture since ancient times. Underground volcanic activity has caused volcanic gases to erupt in the area. The hazy scene accompanied by the smell of sulfur is a completely different scenery from that of Murodo, with its lush greenery.
Tucked Away Waterfalls, Caves, and Bridges
For those who are looking for a more remote natural haven, Sengankei offers a more secluded spot where you can enjoy the sounds and smells of nature.
Sengankei Gorge is located right next to Oiwasan Nisseki-ji Temple, making it an easy stop on your way there. The minute you start to climb the small hill leading into the woods, you can feel the calming, lush greenery surrounding you. The further in you go, the greener it gets, but you’ll also notice the sound of running water nearby. As you go deeper into the forest, you’ll find a small waterfall and a beautiful view of the Oiwa River from the top, making it a place where you can spend a relaxing time in nature.
Continue heading deeper into the area until you reach the picturesque red bridge, which is a famous photo spot! Combined with the surrounding landscape, it offers a magnificent and mysterious sight.
The view from the bridge is exhilarating! Please climb up to the top and from there, enjoy the view overlooking the waterfall, the river, the bridge, and the moss-covered stones. The view is breathtaking and will surely leave you awestruck.
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