It was my first time to see anything like it – a beautiful blend of landscape and adventure, like a scene lifted from my childhood dream. I was in Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route in the Northern Alps, dubbed as the Roof of Japan. The soaring gleaming snow walls (Yuki-no-otani) near Murodo that surrounded me dwarfed me. According to anecdotes, Murodo-daira of Tateyama has one of the heaviest snowfalls in the world and the Otani snow mantle area can have as much as 20 meter-high snow wall.
The scenic 90 kilometer Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route that runs through picturesque scenery of Mt. Tateyama in Japan Alps, connecting Toyama City in Toyama Prefecture with Omachi Town in Nagano Prefecture. The Dentetsu Toyama – Shinano Omachi, which is the full route, was opened April 15th this year until November 30th.
PLACES TO SEE
The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is sprinkled with beautiful attractions to see. I tell you, you won’t run out of things to do here. Everywhere there is just something so stunning that you wish to preserve through pixels. Some of the most Instagrammable sights here include the following:
- Murodo – The snow-covered Tateyama Mountain Range, part of the Chubu Sangaku National Park is a stunning sight during winter and spring, but autumn is also a perfect season to travel here because of the fall leaf color. Murodo transforms into a different scene, flaunting different shades of yellow, purple, red, pink, orange, brown and blue autumn leaves. The shades are so vibrant like they came out of a Crayola box!
- Snow Wall of Otani – Visitors can walk along a long winding highway designated for pedestrians that is surrounded by thick, towering snow walls that can reach up to 20 meters, as high as a 7-storey building! The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is my personal favorite.
- Mikurigaike – The Mikurigaike beckons tourists because the mighty Tateyama volcano is mirrored in the cobalt blue water of Mikurigaike. The Instagram-worthy crater lake of Tateyama Volcano is best visited from July to October when the pond is cleared of snow.
- Kurobe Dam – The arch-shaped dam is a tourist destination in itself as it is surrounded by picturesque forest-clad mountains. This immense Kurobe Dam is believed to be the largest and the tallest in Japan. If you are visiting around June to October you’ll see water being released to the dam.
HOW TO GET THERE
Getting here maybe more than an adventure than you bargained for since traversing the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route means using a variety of vehicles including cable car, trolley bus and a ropeway from Toyama Prefecture to Nagano Prefecture.
5 Day JR Alpine-Takayama-Matsumoto Area Pass
- Access Alpine, Takayama and Matsumoto with a single area pass that offers 5 consecutive days of unlimited travel within the designated area
- Take JR trains between Nagoya and Toyama, JR trains between Nagoya and Shinano-Omachi and transportation along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
- Enjoy convenient delivery by post to your accommodation in Taiwan or pick up from Hong Kong Airport/Central or central Singapore or mail to West Malaysia, the Philippines or South Korea (note that you will receive an ‘Exchange Order’ voucher which you must redeem for your Rail Pass in Japan)
WHAT TO PACK
Preparing what to wear to keep you warm while on tour in Tateyama Kurobe Alpine is important. This place is pretty cold, imagine it has an altitude of about 3,000 meters and temperatures can go as low as -5 degree Celsius. I was only sporting a coat with a shirt underneath, a skinny jeans, socks and shoes when we traveled to Tateyama Snow Wall. The cold wind was cutting through my jeans and coat. If I remember it correctly, the temperature when we were there was around -3 degree Celsius. But surprisingly, other girls out there doesn’t seem to mind the cold weather. Their outfit were so stylish and ridiculously thin, that they don’t look warm enough. I got curious how they keep themselves warm.
I found the answer when I recently heard about UNIQLO’S HEATTECH products – it’s the secret to keeping yourself warm during your winter or autumn trips or even trips to highlands while wearing surprisingly thin clothes. So if you are visiting Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route this coming autumn, winter or spring, here’s my recommended list of clothes to pack to stay cozy and trendy.
SUPER WARM INNERWEAR
Like I said, I’ve always been curious how other tourists stay warm even while wearing astoundingly thin outfits during winter and fall trips. Thankfully, I learned about the famous light, thin but super warm inner wear – UNIQLO HEATTECH that features innerwear that has heat-retaining properties to keep you warm. That is because the fibers of the HEATTECH trap the moisture produced from our body and converts it to heat.
I like Uniqlo’s HEATTECH crew neck long sleeve T-shirt. I prefer to wear this as an innerwear as it stays hidden under an outerwear because of its deep-scoop neck design. It is thin, light, and durable and maintains it shapes. I feel at ease too because of its ultra-fine fibers that is so soft to the skin and it is pretty stretchable that sometimes I forget I am actually wearing it.
And because I like to stay stylish for my OOTD, I picked the Extra Warm HEATTECH turtleneck as it is a good base layer for jackets and coats. I find it stretchy, light and so soft so I feel comfortable all day long. If you are like me who wants to travel light, this is perfect!
A STATEMENT JACKET
The modish Uniqlo Women Ultra Light Down Jacket makes me feel cozy because of its superb insulation. I can wear it as a statement jacket or top it with a trendy coat, perfect for my fall or winter trip. Either way, it still makes me look fit because the back is designed with a seam to create a slim, fitted cut. I like that it’s designed to have a short collar because it doesn’t rub against my face unlike some winter jackets, which makes me feel uneasy. The Uniqlo Women Ultra Light Down jacket is surprisingly thin and light despite looking bulky at first glance. In fact, this lightweight jacket can be packed easily into a pouch (included with the product) so in case the sun suddenly emerges and I feel like I don’t need to wear a jacket anymore, I can easily pack it and carry it conveniently.
A timeless piece, the Uniqlo flannel shirt is easy to wear and super easy to style. I can wear it under a jacket or coat or I can wear it over other tops because it has a slightly roomy fit. It is also pretty soft, so I feel relaxed wearing it. Uniqlo has a wide collection of flannel shirts in different colors and check prints to suit my style.
A leggings is a staple for me when I travel to highlands or cold places because it is light and easy to wash unlike jeans. If you decide to bring some leggings when you travel, try the Uniqlo HEATTECH Leggings because aside from its stretchability, it is pretty soft and cozy, so easy to wear. Though it doesn’t come in pastel color, its simple solid color works well with layered styles so I can wear it is an innerwear or outerwear with my coat, dress or jacket.
Aside from wearing comfortable and durable shoes during my trips, it is also important for me to wear the right socks that will keep my feet warm without ever making them sweat or stink. The Uniqlo socks is a good choice because they are pretty soft and comfy and helps in avoiding swells and smell.
A shoes can make or break your trip. If you are not wearing the right one, you’ll most likely feel uncomfortable during your trips and end up with a sore feet. Don’t worry because you don’t really need to be super daring to enjoy a trip in Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, there are certain routes that you can visit without going through difficult hikes. This place is ideal for both the adventurous and leisure travelers. I highly recommend wearing winter boots that is water-proof and has a good grip since most of the pavements and trails are quite slippery since they are covered in snow.
DISCLOSURE: This post is brought to you by UNIQLO Philippines.
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