The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route Opens today, April 17th. This route is a system of trams, funiculars, buses, and trolleys that traverse some huge mountains between Toyama to Nagano prefectures. With peaks above 3,000m and an absurdly deep snow pack, Tateyama is the center of spring ski touring in Japan. The route is closed all winter long due to the enormous and unmanageable amounts of snow that fall there.
Side note: This is a photo of the snow banks on the side of the road on the Tateyama Kurobe route in late April. This photo, and variations of it, are famously misused to show areas have lots of snow. Lots of people were claiming it was Innsbruck this year, and Shames or Niseko in the past. So, to set the record straight, its Tateyama.
The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is 37 kilometers long, and covers nearly 2,000m of vertical. As well as employing a number of different modes of transportation, it uses three large tunnels to minimize damage to the mountain environment. Depending on which modes you choose and how much you walk, traversing the route will cost about 8,000 yen ($100 USD). There are a few mountain huts where you can stay in Tateyama, including Tsurugi Gozen and Murodo Sanso. Use the Alpine Route to get into Tateyama, camp or stay in one of the huts, and tour some of the huge (and still very snowy) peaks in the area. The route is open from April 17th until November 30th.
For more fares and time tables, visit the Alpine Route’s english website.