Not too many people are aware that some of the snowiest places on earth happen to be in Japan, with Aomori city on the northern tip of Honshu taking the record of having the heaviest annual snowfall in the world. Of course, there are plenty of people who will disagree, but the numbers don’t lie, with Aomori city receiving an average of 315 inches each year.
But it’s not just in the north that the snow falls heavy, and you needn’t look much further than the famous ‘Snow Corridor’ of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route in Toyama prefecture to get a real feel for what Japan’s dramatic winter snowfall really looks like. At more than 8,000 feet above sea level the area here is buried in a deep wall of snow each winter, essentially closing off the area until spring. Come April, and the Alpine route is literally ‘carved’ out of the snow, creating two towering walls that often reach up to 20 meters on either side of the road.

The route has officially opened for 2021 on April 15th, with the walls extending to 14 meters – not the highest that it has been, but still comparable to a 5 storey building.
This year actually marks the 50th anniversary since the opening of the entire Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, and to celebrate, a special walk – ‘2021 Complete Reproduction! Snow Otani Memorial Walk’ – is being held until June 22nd. Additionally a limited edition Alpine Route Tateyama craft beer named ‘Hoshi no Sora’ will be released from 1 June 2021.

50 years ago when the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route first opened, limitations in machinery meant that only one lane of snow could be removed from the road. This resulted in the ‘Snow Corridor’ being just wide enough for buses to pass through, with the towering walls standing tightly on either side of the road. Nowadays, both lanes can be extracted, with one lane being used for transporting visitors and the other lane used by pedestrians exploring the corridor on foot.
This year the ‘2021 Complete Reproduction! Snow Otani Memorial Walk’ will feature part of the route with just one lane removed of snow, and will give tourists a feel of what the snow corridor looked like all those years ago.

*The part of the corridor that will feature the ‘2021 Complete Reproduction! Snow Otani Memorial Walk’ will be accessible to buses only.

As part of the celebrations, a new flavour will be added to the local speciality craft beer ‘Hoshi no Sora’ from Tateyama. There are already two flavours; the mellow fruity ‘original’ and the fragrant bitter ‘black’. The flavour of the third release is currently a secret, and if you guess correctly what that flavour will be (via the inquiries page on theofficial website) you will be in with a chance of winning a set of 3 cans with a mix of the flavours.

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, WEB tickets are now available at a discounted price for June 2021. *Tickets on sale from 15 April 2021 for use from 1 June 2021.

One Way Ogisawa to Tateyama Station or vice versa
Adult discounted price: 8,070 yen (original price: 9,300 yen)
Child discounted price: 4,050 yen (original price: 4,660 yen)

Return ticket Ogisawa to Murodo
Adult discounted price: 6,610 yen (original price: 9,470 yen)
Child discounted price: 3,320 yen (original price: 4,740 yen)

Return ticket Ogisawa to Kurobe Dam
Adult discounted price: 1,800 yen (original price: 2,610 yen)
Child discounted price: 900 yen (original price: 1,310 yen)

Return ticket Tateyama Station to Kurobeko
Adult discounted price: 11,000 yen (original price: 13,180 yen)
Child discounted price: 5,500 yen (original price: 6,590 yen)

Return ticket Tateyama Station to Daikanbo
Adult discounted price: 8,600 yen (original price: 9,620 yen)
Child discounted price: 4,300 yen (original price: 4,810 yen)

By - Connie Sceaphierde.