Tokyobling's Blog

The Northern Alps and Tateyama – Part 1

Posted in Nature, Places by tokyobling on August 18, 2009

As mentioned last week, I spent a couple of days hiking up in Japan’s Northern Alps region (or the Hida Mountain Range as it is officially known), on the border between Toyama and Nagano Prefectures. Despite a fair amount of typhoons in the general area and the already unreliable mountain weather I had some great days up there. For a stubborn Tokyo guy like me it’s good to get out of the city and see some of these unbelievably beautiful mountains. I recommend it to anyone who has a day or two off this summer. It is a bit difficult to do as a day trip from Tokyo but with two or three days it is eminently possible. I’d recommend doing the hiking tour as part of a tour group to cut down the costs: going there by car is horribly expensive (I did) and by regular bus and train it will take a long time to get there and back. Once there it should be easy to get away from the group and chose one of the more difficult trails to get away from the others. Camping or staying at one of the many mountain lodges is also possible. As for equipment, don’t sweat it. I was lucky with the weather so for me regular clothes were fine but if the weather turns bad you’ll need a bit heavier stuff. Don’t forget the sun block though! I did and I got a massive sun burn. The UV up there is intense!

One of the mountains I visited was the incredible Tateyama, which together with Mount Fuji and one other colossus is the trio of sacred Japanese mountains. I didn’t climb it all the way up to the top as I was far more interested in the Mars-like “death valley” beneath it, complete with hot springs, sulphur gas and wastelands. Beautiful! For now please enjoy these photos of the area around Tateyama (while remembering that I am neither skilled nor equipped to do nature photography). Aren’t these skies magnificent? I will post more later about the “death valley”, the camping possibilities and the nearby Kurobe dam project. Stay tuned!

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13 Responses

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  1. Steve E said, on August 18, 2009 at 8:22 am

    That’s beautiful (great photos)! Looks remarkably like where I used to live in Ireland. Will mark that down for my next trip to Tokyo next July!


    • tokyobling said, on August 19, 2009 at 12:41 am

      Thank you Steve! Next July? You sir, plan well ahead! Ireland is one of many places I have never been but would love to go. Have to get myself an invitation!


      • Steve E said, on August 19, 2009 at 6:37 am

        Friend getting married out there in July, so good to have another reason to come back again!


        • tokyobling said, on August 19, 2009 at 8:21 am

          Lucky you! And congrats to the happy couple. My suggested route would be: Tokyo – (Nagano City) Obuse City – Kurobe Dam – Tateyama and then back. It sure beats the old Tokyo – Kyoto – Nara route that most people do because that is what is expected, even though Obuse is far more interesting than Kyoto (and a hundred times smaller), Kamakura (so close to Tokyo it isn’t even mentioned) has a great Daibutsu and Tateyama is the best nature within easy reach of Tokyo. Temples, city and nature, all in one long trip!


  2. Lisa said, on August 18, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Beautiful! Very otherworldly.


    • tokyobling said, on August 19, 2009 at 12:43 am

      Thank you Lisa! After several years in Tokyo it felt like landing on an alien planet. Wait until you see the “Hell’s Valley” photos, even more otherworldly!


  3. paul merrill said, on August 18, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Amazingly beautiful place. And your photos do it justice.


    • tokyobling said, on August 19, 2009 at 12:38 am

      Thank you Paul, you are too kind! It is gorgeous, but I might be overreacting after many years in the concrete jungle of Tokyo.


  4. pall said, on August 21, 2009 at 7:31 am



  5. Mazil said, on August 21, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Gorgeous photos! Ongoing thanks for the lovely doses of japaneseness 🙂


    • tokyobling said, on August 24, 2009 at 12:51 am

      Mazil-san, thank you! I rely on your blog for my weekly doses of WoW!


      • Mazil said, on August 24, 2009 at 2:35 pm

        Hehe! /blush

        I’m actually taking a break from WoW at the moment, so it’ll be quiet on the WoW-front for a little while. They’re announcing lots of new and exciting things though, so I might write something soon!


        • tokyobling said, on August 25, 2009 at 12:01 am

          Good for you! Get out there, get a tan, build some biceps and woo some attractive person! (^O^)/


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