The ultimate guide to the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, the roof of Japan

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route stands as one of the world's most spectacular drives. Nestled on the boundary between Toyama and Nagano prefectures in Japan, this breathtaking route promises an unparalleled experience for travelers.

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

How long is the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route?

Traversing the Tateyama Mountain Range in the Northern Japan Alps, the route is well-paved. Stretching across 37 kilometres (23 mi), it peaks at 2,450m (8,038ft) above sea level. This mesmerizing journey takes you from Toyama City and the Sea of Japan in Toyama Prefecture to Omachi Town in Nagano Prefecture.

Is Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route open?

Situated in the heart of the country, the route is off-limits from December to mid-April due to immense snowfall. Come mid-May, travelers are greeted by towering snow walls, reaching up to 15 meters in height. This corridor, famously known as the "roof of Japan," witnesses one of the world's heaviest snowfalls at Murodo-daira of Tateyama, averaging around seven meters. The nearby Otani snow mantle can amass a staggering 20 m (65 ft) of snow, sculpting the renowned snow walls.

When was Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route opened?

Though the majestic beauty of the route can feel timeless, it officially opened on June 1, 1971. The stretch between Tateyama Station and Ogizawa prohibits private vehicles, attracting about a million visitors annually. Murodo station, the highest point, sits at an altitude of 2,450 m (8,038 ft).

Is Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route in Japan worth it?

Absolutely. Affectionately termed the “Roof of Japan”, this route captivates not just mountaineers but also tourists with its grandeur. The route's ever-changing beauty across seasons ensures a fresh experience with every visit. On a clear day, the summit offers a view of the iconic Mt. Fuji. However, the primary allure remains the Tateyama Mountain Range, a gem within the Chubu Sangaku National Park. The snow walls, sometimes soaring up to 19 meters, are a sight to behold. But the allure isn't just in colder months. The warm embrace of summer and the golden hues of autumn paint a vibrant picture, dotted with alpine flowers and cascading autumn leaves.