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This is a collection of my blog entries about hiking
You can find all the pictures I've taken here, and read below for the more recent trips that I have recorded in blog entries

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2016/07/19 Japan Day 08: Travelling and Hiking the Japan Alpen Route
π 2016-07-19 00:00 in Hiking, Japan, Japan2016, Trips
After arriving in Shinano Omachi the previous evening, the start of the west side of the Alpen Route, and a great night at the excellent Kurobe View Ryokan we stayed at, we gave them our luggage just before 08:00 to transfer it to our next hotel on the other side of the route (a long bus ride around the mountains) while we were going to take the fun away across the mountain. At 08:00 they dropped us off at the first bus that took us to Ogaziwa, the first leg up the mountain:

nice view from our Ryokan room
nice view from our Ryokan room


it gets expensive when you add the fees
it gets expensive when you add the fees

The weather is finicky, and we got super lucky that day, but they had nice displays showing the weather along the route and on the other side of the mountains (where it can be very different):





Now is a good time to mention that we got super lucky with the weather as in mid July, we could have been greeted by thunderstorms, and low cloud obscuring the view everywhere. During the busy season (in April/May just after the route opens and you can see the crazy high snow wall), people can wait 1h+ between each mode of transport, making the whole thing a lot less fun:

but we missed out on this :)
but we missed out on this :)

Then came the time to take an electric bus through a long tunnel to Kurobe Dam:

we got a funny ticket guy :)
we got a funny ticket guy :)



Kurobe Dam was worth almost an hour to walk around and take pictures from different angles:







time to walk to our first cable car
time to walk to our first cable car

no line, yeah! :)
no line, yeah! :)




then we connected to the ropeway after a very quick 10mn stop to take a few pictures
then we connected to the ropeway after a very quick 10mn stop to take a few pictures




We finally got to Murodo, the top, by a respectable 11:30, giving us time to hike up to the top (Mt Tateyama). The hike up is about 800m of climbing, initially on ok trails, but then it turns into sheer boulder hoping and rocks and gravel that slide down as you try to walk up. Let's just say it was more difficult and took longer, but we made it up:




we got lucky and saw a local grouse with 2 little chicks :)
we got lucky and saw a local grouse with 2 little chicks :)



evntually we got to the rest house at 2700m before the trail turned into rock hopping for the last 300m
evntually we got to the rest house at 2700m before the trail turned into rock hopping for the last 300m



almost there
almost there

yeah, got to the top
yeah, got to the top

the peak had a small shrine at 3003m
the peak had a small shrine at 3003m


damn, should have brought my snowboard :)
damn, should have brought my snowboard :)





now we only need to walk back down to the building where our next bus was going to be
now we only need to walk back down to the building where our next bus was going to be

sadly we didn't have a lot of time to go check out other parts of the top plateau, like the volcanic section
sadly we didn't have a lot of time to go check out other parts of the top plateau, like the volcanic section

back down
back down

to the next bus
to the next bus

In hindsight, it was a mistake, but we got a recommendation to stop at Midagahra and Bijo-daira on thw way down. They are likely both worth visiting, but I'm guessing they are mor impressive during a different season. When we went they were just ok. We shoud have spent more time at Murodo and done more tails up there. We managed to rush both the boardwalk (40mn in 25mn or so, and the caldera climb (25mn instead of 50mn), and caught the very next bus out, putting us a bit ahead of schedule. The caldera climb itself was pretty underwhelming, sadly:



this was supposed to be the caldera view, mmmh, ok
this was supposed to be the caldera view, mmmh, ok


Next, we took the bus to Bijo-daira for a forest walk:

big waterfall visible from the bus on the way down
big waterfall visible from the bus on the way down


we did the short loop, pretty muddy and hilly, but sadly we didn't see any of those birds
we did the short loop, pretty muddy and hilly, but sadly we didn't see any of those birds



at least we saw some cool trees :)
at least we saw some cool trees :)

multiple trees merged, and some trees seemed to split off into multiple ones
multiple trees merged, and some trees seemed to split off into multiple ones

After a 1h hike for the loop, we took the last transport back down, a cable car to Tateyama:




bits from a former lava flow
bits from a former lava flow

almost there
almost there

And we finally made it to our hotel: Morinokaze Tateyama, where we enjoyed another nice onsen and an ok buffer dinner and breakfast:

ready for onsen
ready for onsen



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