A lot of people visit the Tatayama Kurobe Alpine Route (立山黒部アルペンルート) in early spring. In the middle of the route and also the highest point (2450m) of the route, the Murodo (室堂) station, is the famous “snow corridor”, a road carved out of over 20 metre of snow, accumulated over winter. I however had wanted to go there in warmer months, which would allow climbing the nearby Mount Tateyama (立山), easily accessible from the same Murodo station.
There are many options to extend this – you could follow the Alpine Route in full going from the Toyama (富山) prefecture side to Nagano (長野) prefecture (or vice versa), or doing half of route, turning back at Murodo. As I already had plans for a trip to Toyama (for Kanazawa) later, I decided to focus on the Nagano side. One of the places on the top of my list to visit was Kamikochi, and I had also wanted to try out an outdoor onsen. My other half added a request for Karuizawa, and that just filled up the itinerary for a 4-day trip.