Mt. Tateyama (立山）
Mt. Tateyama is the highest peak in Toyama Prefecture, and one of the 3 sacred mountains of Japan (after Mt. Fuji and Hakusan). Its easy access via the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route ensures a healthy swath of tourists for most of the year.
The hike: From the bus terminal at Murodo, follow the paved path and signposts (and crowds) to Ichi-no-koshi Hut (一ノ越山荘), which sits on a saddle between the summit of Tateyama and Mt. Ryuou （龍王岳). It’s only a 200m vertical climb to the saddle, and it should take an hour or so. From here, turn left and start the real climb to the summit. The path is well-marked and there are lots of rocks to scramble over. It should take an hour or so to reach the rest house just below the summit of Oyama (雄山). There’s a spur trail leading to the shrine on the summit, but you’ve got to pay 500 yen to enter. After offering some coinage to the mountain deities, continue on the trail to the left of the shrine torii, following the rocky ridge line. You’ll reach the high point, Onanji (大汝山), in about 20 minutes. The views over the cliff edges down to Kurobe lake are unbelievable. If the weather is good then you’ll have a clear view over to Mt. Tsurugi, as well as the peaks of Hakuba across the valley. Either retrace your steps back to Murodo, or continue on the same trail, turning left at the next junction for an alternative loop trail back to the bus terminal via Raicho-daira (雷鳥平). Don’t forget to have a soak at Mikuri-ga-ike Hot Spring (みくりが池温泉). Click here for the website in Japanese.
When to go: This hike can be done from mid April to late November, when the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route is open. Expect lots of snow if hiking before April and after mid-October. Click here to see the beautiful scenery during Golden Week. A winter hike is also possible if you’re prepared for meters of snow and a long, tough climb.
Access: From Dentetsu Toyama station (電鉄富山駅) take a local train bound for Tateyama (立山) and get off at the last stop. From there, change to the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, taking a cable car and then bus to Murodo (室堂). Click here for English information, including a detailed timetable.
Live web cam: Click here
Level of difficulty: 2 out of 5 (elevation change 615m).