Only a few hours from Tokyo! A fantastical snowy landscape - The Alpine Route, Yuki-no-Otani, Shirakawa-go and Hida Takayama

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You may think that the old capital Kyoto and a great metropolis Tokyo represent Japan.

Don't forget about the vast nature in Japan. For example, Tateyama used to be regarded as a holy place where the gods lived and we were not allowed to access. In 1971, the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route was opened, but still it is closed during winter. In April, after bulldozers and plows clear away snow, you will see snow walls on both sides of the road which reach as high as around 20 meters. The impressive landscape is called "Yuki-no-Otani" which can be seen only during one and a half months until early summer. Attracted by the fantastical scenery, many tourists from various countries visit there. If you take photos with the background of the stunning view with the blue sky and white snow and Instagram them, your friends will envy you.

Since the Alpine Route cannot be visited by private cars, you must make connections with six public transportation systems including cable car and ropeway to go through. It is hard to privately make a reservation. To efficiently tour around the neighboring areas such as Takayama which has remains of old houses along the street and Shirakawa-go which has a lot of traditional Japanese homes, packaged tours are recommended.

☆ Recommended tours:
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Snowy Alpine Route viewed from the sky ©The Asahi Shimbun

Video of the Alpine Route, Yuki-no-Otani

See Also:
YOKOSO Japan Tour -- Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route “Yuki no Otani” --E02 (Youtube)
Top 13 places to see autumn leaves in Japan

Magnificent scenery - The Kurobe Dam

The Kurobe Dam, which is exclusively used for hydro-electric generation and was completed in 1963 to supply electricity to support industrialization in western Japan, is one of the must-see sights in the Alpine Route. The presence of the huge dam that dominates the foreground is very striking. Don't forget to take photos of the dam in the background.

©The Asahi Shimbun

Breathtaking view - Tateyama Ropeway and Daikanbo

The Tateyama Ropeway does not have pillars to support cables. You may become scared if you notice that there are no pillars, but the beautiful mountains which spread in front of you during the 7-minute journey will sweep away your fear.

Daikanbo is another excellent spot to take photos of majestic mountains covered with snow.

©The Asahi Shimbun

A fairy-tale-like world heritage site - Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go is recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site and is known for its village of traditional styled thatched roof farmhouses called "Gassho-zukuri." Video of the village with farmhouses covered with snow is well-known, but houses surrounded by new green leaves are also beautiful. There are farmhouses which are opened for the public as souvenir shops and museums. Be sure to see the inside. In early summer, rice planting in paddy fields around these houses is performed for tourists.

©The Asahi Shimbun

See Also:
・Wintertime in Shirakawa-go
・The village of Shirakawa-go blanketed in snow
・Significant Japanese Historical Sites: 5 World Heritage Sites to visit on your next vacation

Small Kyoto in the mountains - Hida Takayama

Takayama which still has old towns that are several hundred years old is called "Shokyoto (Small Kyoto)." It is located among the mountains and has good quality water, so there are six Japanese sake brewers in the area. Let's drink and compare their tastes. There are also several famous local dishes such as Hobamiso which refers to grilled vegetables and meat served on dried-up leaves of magnolia flavored with miso (bean paste). Hida-gyu (Hida Beef), a local specialty, is tender and melts in your mouth. Takayama ramen is also famous. Walk down the street while eating sushi and kushiyaki (meat grilled on skewers) made of Hida-gyu, salty-sweet dango (rice dumpling) or ice cream and enjoy the atmosphere of the town.

©The Asahi Shimbun


See Also:
・YOKOSO Japan Tour -- Hida Takayama --E16 (Youtube)
・History and Healing in Japan’s Hot Spring Onsen
・Walking through Takayama in the snow
・Walking through Takayama’s historic Sanmachi Suji district

☆Recommended tours

"Visit with a two-day and one-night trip!
The Alpine Route, Yuki-no-Otani, Kanazawa, Shirakawa-go and Hida"

■You can visit many scenic sites! The least-hassle and most comfortable tour by train

Day1: Shinjuku Station (Departure 7:00~8:00)
Day2: Shinjuku Station (Arrival 20:00~22:07)

Reserve A Train Tour by YOKOSO Japan

■ Cheaper than a train! A comfortable bus tour while looking at the landscape from the window

Day1: Shinjuku (Meet 7:50)
Day2: Shinjuku (Disband 19:30~20:00)

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* Concerning the availability of halal foods, etc., please directly contact each tour operator.

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