During the walk from the train station in Matsumoto to my nearby hotel I enjoyed the amazing scenery created by the impressive Japanese Alpes. It reminded me a bit of Munich but the mountains felt a bit closer here.
The full day I had I spent eating an amazing crepe (finally got it!) for breakfast and did visit the beautiful castle. I really liked the surrounding area more than the castle itself. Mainly because I walked in one big line line of people from the entry point, up and down the narrow stairs or rather ladders to the different levels until the exit. I was kind of happy to be out again. Nevertheless it was interesting to get some actual history of the life inside a castle and what happens during a siege.
On the way back I gave traditional ramen another shot. And this time the local cuisine delivered! I basically found the Spaghetti Bolognese (one of my favorite meals back home) of Japan. Delicious minced meat with a red sauce and some noodles. Also I could choose the spiciness on a scale from 1 to 5. I dared to choose 3 and that was right on the edge of what I could tolerate. I also learned about the phrase “Kaedama”. When you shout (or optionally just say) this you get another ball of noodles in your soup. For science I tried it of course.
On the next day I woke up really early and took a train north to Ōmachi where the famous Alpine Route starts. I gave my big bag to a transfer service and went with a bus to the actual starting point. From here we took a tunnel trolley bus to the Kurobe Dam (1450 m elevation). The views here… missing adjectives again.
To continue the journey I had to walk over the dam to another cable car through a long tunnel. From there a gondola (ropeway?) and another tunnel trolley bus took me to the Marudo (2450 m). Here the snow was everywhere and I climbed up to Mount Tateyama (3015 m). This was the first time I climbed in snow and I really enjoyed it. It took me around 3 hours to climb up and it was only cold once I reached the top and stopped moving. Also my magic boots hold up nice again!
The walk back down was a bit scary because it had fogged up hard and I only saw the little sticks to guide me back.
Once back at the station again I took a bus down to another stop that was not very exciting. But there was a nice hotel where I could chill for a while and still had a nice view.
Here I also met a nice Japanese lady who actually lived for a while in Germany (what a coincidence) and we had a nice chat while I gave my feet time to relax.
Another bus, a cable car and lastly a train took me to the end of the Alpine Route in Toyama (0 m). Here I collected my big bag and took yet another train to Kanazawa.
Looking back the crossing was a really amazing experience and definitely a huge highlight of my trip so far. And it also made up for the fact I could not climb Mount Fuji.
My hotel in Kanazawa was really good which is always good after a long day of hiking. They had a nice spa with onsens and the breakfast on the next day was the best I had on my travels so far. Especially the tiramisu will always have a special place in my heart. 😉
Since I stayed a bit longer in Matsumoto and Hakone I had to cut my stay here a bit short. So I only had half a day to explore the city which basically meant I checked out the local garden. Nothing too special but when I chilled under a tree and read a bird relieved itself on me!
Later that day I took a train south to Kyoto.