Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, or just Tateyama, is a famous attraction in Chubu region.
Except for hiking, the Asian tourists are crazy for its snow wall in the end of April and May.
However, the tourists are still numerous in the snowless summer.
For going to Tateyama, you could take the Toyama regional railway from Toyama city or Unazuki.
If you come from Matsumoto, you could take the bus to Ōgisawa (扇沢) Station which is another entrace of Tateyama in the east side.
Someone said that extering from Ōgisawa in the morning is good for photgrapging while arriving at the west side in the afternoon is good as well.
Because my mon doesn't like the ropeway, we have only one choice to enter from west side.
The types of transportation along the Alpine route are different in each section, inluding cable car, highland bus, tunnel trolley bus and ropeway.
Tickets could be bought at Tateyama station or Ogizawa station.
During the peak seaon, booking online is recommended, and you could reserve the cable car in advance.
The cable car from Tateyama station to Bijodaira station only runs three times per hour.
If you have booked the ticket, the ticket could be recieved at the Web-ticket counter.
The cable car only takes about 7 minutes to arrive at Bijodaira station, and then you have to wait for the highland bus.
The buses are numerous for all the tourists and thus you don't have to woory about your seats.
If you want to have a stopover at Midagahara (弥陀ヶ原) or Tengudaira (天狗平), the waiting stop is no.2.
While you get off at Midagahara or Tengudaira, you have to reserve the next bus you want so that they could arrange the bus for you.
Because we have lots of time in Tateyama, our first stop is Midagahara.
Midagahara is at the altitude of 1930 meters and is one of the largest alpine wetlands in Japan.
The summer temperature is about 22 ℃ (the maximum).
Trekking here is easy and it takes about 1 to 2 hours depending on the route you choose.
There are also two hotels here that are suitable for the long hiking.
The red route is the boardwalk. In the summer, the only thing you could do is to observe the plants.
Actually, this area is one of the most valuable westlands in the world.
If you don't like to do so, you might feel bored while walking along the boardwalk.
The altitude here is different from Murodō and thus the alpine plant is also a little different.
It's cloudy today, so the view of mountains are not so good.
According to the information inside the bus ternimal, autumn would be the best season for the colorful scene.
I'm not a botanist and not familiar with all the plants I see.
However, the beauty could touch your heart without any language.
William Blake said: To see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower...
Try to observe these plants with your camera, and try different lens as well.
You would find it's more interesting than you think.
I would recommend the macro lens that is good for photographing the tiny object.
After the short walking in Midagahara, the next is Murodo which is the center of Tateyama Kurobe Apline Route and is the popular base for hiking.
Just as Norikura, Tateyama is also the name for a group of mountains.
The altotude in Murodo is about 2500 meters. From here, you could do hiking to Mount Oyama (雄山, 3003m) or the highest peak, Mount Ōnanjiyama (大汝山, 3015m).
Besides, it's possible to hiking from Tateyama to Kurobe Gorge. However, this kind of long hiking is quite difficult and dangerous, and is only suitable for the professional climber.
Outside of Murodo bus ternimal, you will find a stone pillar carved with the words "立山玉殿の湧水 (Tateyama Tamadono Spring Water)" where you could fill your bottle with the cold spring water of Tateyama.
This water is also sold in the shop but you could drink for free here instead of buying expensive drinks.
Our accommodation tonight is Mikurigaike Onsen which is also one of the secluded hot spring in Japan and is just beside the Mikurigaike pond.
The path to Mikurigaike pond is quite scenic.
Mikurigaike pond is a crater lake of Tateyama Volcano.
If the weather is good, you may see the reflection of Mount Tateyama on the cobalt blue surface.
With the telescopics, you could also find the Oyama Shrine on the top of Mount Oyama.
Since Mikurigaike pond is a crater lake, there is for sure a geothermal area with fumaroles, called Jigokudani (Hell Valley).
At the outdoor area of Mikurigaike Onsen, I could even feel the smell of sulfur in the air and see the steaming clouds erupting from holes.
Alothough there is a walking path around Jigokudani, it is closed due to the heavy sulfur gas in the area.
Because the altitude is already 2500m and the temperature is cool, it's pretty nice to sink in the hot spring.
After the not bath, I enjoy the scenery around the building and drink the cola.
The sun is still big but I don't feel hot.
By chance, a Japanese mother chats with me.
I could only speak a little Japnese and she also could speak a little English.
However, we still could undertand each other though the communication is not smooth.
She is a retired teacher in Japan and goes hiking with her husband and sister.
I'm quite surpriced that she had a surgical operation on her lower leg due to the sickness.
Even so, she still likes hiking. It's quite admirable.
By the way, I also ask her about the Raicho (Rock Ptarmigan) which is a medium-sized gamebird and could be found at Tateyama.
It's said that they are not shy around people.
Unfortunately, she says that she didn't see anyone this year but saw once before.
I think I'm not so lucky to meet this lovely bird, and the only thing I could do is to buy the Raicho postcards.
Another important event after your meal is watching the sunset.
Remeber to check the time of sunset. The sun moves downward in a very quick speed.
Sometimes you could follow other guests staying in the same accommodation, but not the ones who are enjoying their meal in the restaurant.
In the night, it should be nice to watch stars in such a high mountain.
However, the main door is closed for the reasons I don't know.
The temperature may be quite cold in the night, but the room is surprisingly warmer than you think.