Friday, 30 August 2013

Gigantic Snow Wall - The Alpine Route.

Hi all,

The rosebullet OL is back with another travel adventure update. Forgive me, it seems that most of my travel updates are on Japan. Well, if you've been to Japan, you would agree with me that once is NOT enough...not even twice, or thrice...or..eleven times. -_-

I am determined to explore & enjoy every part of Japan; there's just so much goodness & beauty in this country. So, I was wondering to myself where to find snow during non winter period (apr- jul) & I found an awesome place called the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route.

Matsumoto is a good launching pad for this snow alps journey; it's about 3 hours away from Tokyo by train. You can also go via Tateyama or Nagano.
To get to Matsumoto, you have to board the "Super Azusa" train from Shinjuku station.

 Fret not if you're concerned about that rumbling stomach. You can get a Bento set at the station just before you board the train. Yes, eating is allowed on trains.

For the next 3 hours, sit back & enjoy the views of rural Japan or... let the Zzz monster take over.

Make time for some Matsumoto sightseeing before you hit the alps. I recommend that you stay for the night at Matsumoto.

                                                      Matsumoto Castle

                         Matsumoto Castle-reflections on water

Me on the first day - wearing our sister brand Dip Drops denim romper.

 Be careful to check on the closing time of Matsumoto castle if you plan on visiting, it's usually closed around late afternoon.

I think the Japanese "cartoonise" everything! Saw this signage that says "Keep the river clean"..I think it's a clever trick to appeal to people's hearts - who can resist a kawaii poor thing looking crying fish??

There's always a special "dish" at every province in Japan. At Matsumoto, Soba will be on your "must-eat-list".

   Cold Soba with Tenpura (includes Prawns & Local vegetables)

I found the Local vegetables Tenpura very yummy! So far, I haven't found anywhere else where I can eat these kind of vege. You have to try them, there're many varieties at the Izakayas.

Rise early on your second day to catch an early train (1hr) to Shinano Omachi, followed by a short bus ride(15m) to Omachi Onsenkyo.

The sight is breath taking, I guarantee you.
You can watch the release of water from one side of the dam to the other only in July!

I had to get into the picture just to prove that I was there...or else it would appear like I "google Image-d" it or something..Btw, that's one of my fav. angora knits from rosebullet that's been featured on ViVi mag.

                       Paranoma view taken with my iPhone

If you are coming from the Omachi Senkyo side like I did, this will be your first stop.
It happens to be a good place to have lunch at.
I find it very interesting, it seems like we always find Japanese Katsu curry at these kind of sightseeing areas. The last time I ate a similar dish at Hakone as well!

      Ok, the difference is that this view totally wins hands down.

You have the option of the usual "red" curry or the "green" curry. I chose the green curry but on hindsight, I would have preferred the usual spicy sweet "red" curry. This version tasted no different from Thai green curry.  

The restaurant at Kurobe Dam

After lunch, it's time to move on. WARNING: please plan your time properly. I did not intend to complete the entire route up till Tateyama; only a round trip from Omachi Onsenkyo to the summit at Murudo. The last bus from Murudo back down is at 16:00 Japan time. That's quite early so if you start your journey late, you might not be able to make it to & fro back on time.. then you'll just have to keep making snow angels the whole night until you fall asleep in the cold.

You can expect to travel on different modes of transport (cablecar, ropeway etc)  with interesting sights along the way until you arrive at the summit.

                                   On the way UP to the top!
 At this point of time, I was already "ooh-ing" & "ah-ing" but what's going to come next is even more magical.

Arriving at my final destination, I was pleased to see that the snow wall is piled up reaallyyy high!

 My blue rosebullet angora sweater & velvet skirt kept me really warm <3

                     picture of the snow wall without me in it.

By the way, if you researched this place on the internet, you'll find that you can ride a bus along the road surrounded by the tall snow walls. I did not manage to ride that bus because they closed off the road.
I was just feeling disappointed about that when one of the Japanese road workers told me to go up this
2 (or 3?)storey building & I'll be able to see more. If I am not wrong, it's the same area where the Tateyama resort is at.

And what greeted me was....

                  Heaps of snow that I take forever to walk on.

 This is one of the resorts up there. Looks like those storybook lodge you stay at during Christmas <3

                                     A photo in the alps!

And here comes the #natgeolevel photos, taken with iPhone.

I can say that it was one of the most magical days on my life. The serenity & peace right on the top was so soothing. If not for the silly 16:00 last bus, I can just sit there & take in the beauty of nature.

But the reality was that if I did not catch the last bus at 16:00, I would definitely end up doing snow angels for the rest of the night until I fall asleep in the cold.......

I highly recommend it if you're looking for a different experience in Japan.
No, not the snow angels bit.. you know what I mean ;)

the rosebullet OL <3

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