Norikura Skyline Road

Norikura Skyline Road is the highest public road in Japan

Located in Nagano Prefecture, in the central Chūbu region of Japan, the Norikura Skyline is a great road where travelers can climb up to 2.700m (8,858ft) above the sea level without stopping. It’s the highest public road in Japan.

Is the Norikura Skyline Road open?

Set high on the southern edge of the Northern Japan Alps, this toll road is usually closed for more than half the year due to extremely heavy snowfalls in the higher parts of the mountains, but can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. There are walls of snow over 10 meters high on the road. Even in the summer, some snow remains on the northeastern face of the mountain. 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.

Is the Norikura Skyline Road worth it?

The drive is definitely worth it and the views of the Yarigatake and Hodaka Mountain Range are marvelous. Along the way drivers can enjoy a great panoramic view of the Northern Alps Mountain Range. 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.

How long is the Norikura Skyline Road?

The road is totally paved. 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 runs from Hirayutouge to Norikuradake Tatamihira. The road is 6.5 m in width and covers a total distance of 14.4km (8.94 miles) from the Hirayutoge Pass (elevation: 1,684 m) to Mount Norikura (elevation: 2,702 m). The road is closed to private cars: only buses, taxis and bicycles. It’s a pretty steep drive, hitting a 12% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps.

 

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