People walk through a pathway with snow walls as tall as 17 metres each side of the road in Toyama prefecture on Monday. (Kyodo photo)
TOYAMA, Japan: A sightseeing route running through the Tateyama mountain range in central Japan’s Northern Alps opened on Monday, offering views at one point of snow walls as tall as 17 metres each side of the road.
The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route, which connects the town of Tateyama in Toyama prefecture and the city of Omachi in Nagano, is popular with its spectacles of mountains, valleys and waterfalls.
Until June 22, visitors can walk through a pathway next to the high snow walls, called Huge valley of snow, created by snow removal work. It is forged through the Tateyama Murodo plateau at an altitude of 2,450 metres.
“I was so surprised at the size. I guess we cannot see such a high snow wall anywhere else,” said Yusuke Ogura, 32, who came from the western Japan prefecture of Wakayama.
The opening of the 37.2-kilometre-long sightseeing route for this season was pushed back one day because of heavy snowstorms.
Given a growing number of foreign tourists, the route operator expects 1 million visitors, up some 70,000 from a year ago, during the season through the end of November.