The Norikura Skyline is a great driving road where travelers can enjoy a great panoramic view of the Northern Alps Mountain Range, and you can travel up the mountain to a height of 2.700m (8,858ft) above the sea level without stopping. It’s the highest public road in Japan.
This road is usually closed for more than half the year due to extremely heavy snowfall in the higher parts of the mountains, but it can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. There are walls of snow over 10 meters high on Norikura Skyline road. The road is open from May, 15th to October, 31st, and available for 7:00 ~18:00 during May, June, October and for 3:30~18:00 during July, August, September.
The drive is definitely worth it. Its view of the Yarigatake and Hodaka Mountain Range is marvelous. When travelers arrive at the last stop of Tatamihira, they should take a walk around. They can enjoy the scenery of alpine plants and Pinus pumilatrees, and can also see groups of birds. The end of the road is closed to personal vehicles. The only way to get to the end of the road, is to either take a taxi or a bus to Norikura Tatami-daira. From Norikura Tatami-daira, hikers then start off on their treks to the nearby mountain peaks.
The surface of the road is asphalted, and chains or snow tyres can be required anytime. Even in the summer, some snow remains on the northeastern face of the mountain. The experience of using this road, built in 1973, is very impressive. It is a toll road that was built at the highest point above the sea level in Japan and it runs from Hirayutouge to Norikuradake Tatamihira. The road measures 6.5 m in width and covers a total distance of 14.4 km from the Hirayutoge Pass (elevation: 1,684 m) to Mt. Norikuradake Tatamidaira (elevation: 2,702 m).