The alpine route

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After the Kiso valley we travelled north to the Japanese alps to complete the Kurobe alpine route. This is a well defined route through the Japanese alps consisting of a mixture of modes of transports (bus, trolley bus, train, cable car and rope way- essentially a cable car). My friend had sorted a pass for this route- which is a must as otherwise it would be blooming expensive!

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After the scorching heat of Bali I wasn’t prepared for this. I was used to temperatures in the 30s (celsius) this was going to be below 0. In Hong Kong I had to be ruthless and chuck clothes and other bits from my rucksack and buy some more appropriate clothes for Japan.

We had been warned by our Israeli friends we’d met the previous night that it might be too cloudy to see anything, hiking routes might be closed and it will certainly be snowing up top. We mentally prepared ourselves and layered up.

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That morning we got a train from Mastumoto to Shinano-Omachi. Here we dropped our bags and got on a bus to Ogizawa. Once here we got a bus to Kurobe dam. Our journey then consisted of numerous cable cars, trolley buses and buses up Mount Tateyama.

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Progressively it became colder and colder as the altitude increased. Until eventually we were surrounded by snow. It was a stunning scene and felt very surreal having been in the blistering heat only a week previously.

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(Of course we made a little snowman)

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(Mt Tateyama)

Later we got some more cable cars, trolley buses and buses back down to civilisation. We were staying that night in Tateyama. In the middle of nowhere at the bottom of a mountain. That night we had freeze dried noodles for dinner because there was nothing open after 5pm!

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(Some interesting freeze dried meat in my noodle pot)

However… the hotel we were staying in had an onsen. We were extremely excited to finally have one… as well as to get into our bathing kimonos provided by the hotel.

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