A Trip to Mount Norikura
Mount Norikura, located at the border of Nagano and Gifu prefectures, is a snowy mountain area with the famous beautiful snow walls. Mount Norikura is the third tallest volcano of Japan and one of the tallest mountains of the Northern Alps ranges. It is one of the potentially active volcanoes of Japan. This mountain and the surroundings will be covered with thick snow during the winter which makes travel to this area very difficult during the season. But, by the end of winter and beginning of the spring season, the snow begins to melt. Because of the high altitude, snow in this mountain area will remain until summer. During this time, a lot of tourists reach here to see the snow walls on both sides of the road. These snow walls on the ‘Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route' extending to Mount Norikura is one of the greatest attractions of Japan. A lot of tourists are coming to this region every year to watch the snow walls only. We could see small sub-roads with similar walls made of snow on its both sides. Mount Norikura is a famous hiking location in Japan. There are many bus tours starting from the month of May to this area. A travel to Mount Norikura is really a great experience for those who love snow and snowy regions.
Accessible from Takayama and Matsumoto, a trip to the Mount Norikura through the steep snow-covered mountain areas is interesting as well as terrifying. The deep steep valleys covered with snow on one side of the road and the huge White Mountains on the other side is a great sight. We could see green tree tops peeping through these snow covered mountains. As we reach near the Norikura Mountain, there will be snow walls on both sides of the road. Vehicles passing through this road between these walls are a nice view. Once we reach the foot of the mountain, the huge mountain touching the clouds fill our eyes with light reflected from the snow. We could see a lot of hikers and skiers moving through the top parts of the mountain like ants. The huge trees on the top of this mountain with some of its green tops projecting out through the white snow create nice scenery. Since the entire mount is covered with snow, protection barriers and warning banners are tied across the hiking path considering the safety of visitors. Small crater lakes could be seen between the snow-covered areas of mountain and the valleys which is the only part of the mountain area with bluish water in it.
The highest among he snow walls in this area is situated along the Echo line road which is 10 meter high. During June, two famous events are conducted here. The ‘Heavenly Marathon’ conducted during the summer welcomes many runners all around Japan. It is an event in which the participants run up to 2700 meters up the Mount Norikura. "All Japan Norikura Cycling Race" is another event of this season. Various categories of visitors including Hikers, Bikers, Cyclists, runners, skiers and tourists are coming to this mountain area during every summer season.
There are many small hot springs located in Mount Norikura which is another attraction that brings visitors to this area. Norikura Kogen or the highlands of Norikura is a beautiful area located at the base of this mountain with many small hot-springs. These Onsens has warm water from the mountain that gift us with a memorable bath experience. The famous Shirahone Onsen with its milky white warm water is one among the famous hot springs of this region. Not only is this area famous for its snow walls of winter, but also the mountain area is a well known sight seeing location of Japan during the autumn season. Autumn adorns the mountain and the valleys with various colours making the area look entirely different from that seen in the spring and summer. The lush greenery and the forsets, waterfalls, mountains, hot springs etc. increases the beauty of the area and makes this mountain region attractive in every seasons for nature lovers.