Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Heaven at the altitude of 2700 meters

Norikura Mountains has 23 peaks with the main “Sword” peak (3026m), 7 clater lakes, and 8 plains.  It is located at the southern part of the Northern Alps on the border of Gifu and Nagano prefectures. 

Japanese Alps with 3000m-class mountains is collectively called so including Northern Alps (Hida mountains), Central Alps (Kiso mountains) and Southern Alps (Akaishi mountains).

“Norikura” means “riding saddle” in Japanese, because the mountains shape looks like a horse saddle.   It is one of the most easily climbed mountains among the 3000-meter class and is popular for summer skiing from May to June.  Skiers climb the mountain with skiing boots on from Tatamidaira and glide down the snowy valley.

spring image via Wikimedia
Norikura Skyline is one of the two highest highways of Japan elevation-wise.  It leads people to Mt. Norikura Tatamidaira (2702m) from Hoonoki-daira (1234m) in Takayama City, Gifu Pref.  Another one is Norikura Ecoline from Sanbon-daki in Matsumoto City, Nagano Pref.

from the bus window
Since it is the specially designated as the protected area of National Park, Mt. Norikura Tatamidaira (2702m) is not accessible by private vehicles.  People must take the shuttle buses with wide windows.

The terminal, Tatamidaira, is beyond the pond.

Alpine flora is rich. 

白山一華/ハクサンイチゲ, or Anemone narcissiflora, blooms from June to August.

駒草/コマクサ,or Dicentra peregrina, is native to Japan and Siberia. They grow on the gravels and bloom large purplish pink flowers.

There is Cosmic Rays Observatory at the mountain top.   It must be fascinating to view the starry night sky or catch the first rays of the sun rising from the mountain.  

When I was there, air was 15 degrees Celsius, while people on the lower ground were gasping for fresh air in the scorching and swealtering heat of  35-38 degrees C.   It was heaven with sunshine, fresh, cool and crisp air, lovely flowers, and breathtaking views.

This post is connected to Our World Tuesday.


  1. Hello Yoko:
    Your Alpine ride does look exactly as if you are climbing a staircase to Heaven. What glorious views one has from the bus windows with totally unspoilt countryside as far as the eye can see.

    The wildflowers are simply marvellous. They must be an impressive sight when viewed at close quarters. The Anemones look just like snow covering the mountainside. Lovely!

  2. Cudowne widoki i piękne miejsce. Kwiaty tam rosnące wyglądają bajecznie. Dobrze, że dbacie o środowisko i nie mogą tam jeździć prywatne samochody. Pozdrawiam.
    Wonderful views and beautiful place. Flowers growing there, they look fabulous. It's good that you care about the environment and can not go there private cars. Yours.

  3. Oh, that alpine flora is just lovely! What a great adventure - and so many gorgeous shots!

  4. These are fabulous photos. I'd rather be in the mountains than anywhere else in the world - in fact our house is at an elevation of 2286m above sea level!

  5. Absolutely stunning!
    Enjoy... :)
    - Irina

  6. I'm always grateful for your education. When I picture Japan, I think crowded space with no room to move. It's nice to see that this isn't the case. Other thoughts that comes to mind while looking at your pics.....the flowers and plants posted in your blog are very different from other parts of the world. Everyone has a variation but Japan has some truly unique things that seem endemic to the area. And that's fascinating. Hope you have a good week. Chris

  7. Hi Yoko!
    Lovely pictures of the mountains and flora. You have such an eye for photography!
    Ah, how lovely the alpine flowers are... small and delicate but strong and stable!
    Thank you for sharing a bit of Japan with us! Im delighted to visit your blog!
    Best wishes
    Brave Marcia :)

  8. I saw your comment on the post David of Tropical Texana wrote about my garden. My daughter is a fan of all things Japanese and has been studying the language since she was 9 or 10 years old. Visiting Japan is her most cherished dream ... after seeing your pictures of the Japanese Alps, I might have to come with her!

  9. I love being in the mountains and would have enjoyed joining you on this journey - wild flowers, wonderful views, what a peaceful location.

  10. The more I see Japan through your blogs, the more I keep falling in love with it... The wild flowers, the gorgeous landscape, the winding roads... everything is so gorgeous and fascinating and the weather also looks perfect for a great trip! Very interesting to know about the shape of the mountain too.

  11. I envy everybody who can escape to the high mountains ... not because I want to cool off, but because I'd love to see all those flowers.

    The water (in the photo with the caption "Alpine flora is rich") is such an incredibly beautiful clear blue!

  12. Thank you so much for your kind message, Yoko, and for visiting me! Sending fresh and cool breezes your way :)
    - Irina

  13. 駒草の駒も馬の意味があるように思いますが、どこからきているんでしょう。花の形かしら。今のところ、わたしは些細な怪我のため家にいる生活なので、高山の空気をあじわうことができて嬉しいです。

  14. Wow, lovely mountain scenery. The flowers are pretty. Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing your world.

  15. haricot - お察しの通り、駒草は花の形が馬の顔に似ているのでそう呼ばれているようです。写真、もっとアップで撮ればよかったですね。ちなみに、常に砂礫が動き、他の植物が生育できないような厳しい環境に生育しています。お怪我はいかがですか?暑いので家でのんびり静養なさるのもいいでしょう。お大事になさってください。

  16. Thank you for showing us the Japanese Alps, beautiful pictures. The alpine flower pictures are stunning.

  17. What beautiful mountains. And I love that Alpine flora. They are so delicate the flowers, the white and the pink. So lovely. Thank you, Yoko.

  18. Thanks for your comment on my blog, hope you stop by again!!
    Can't wait to see your new post<3

    Little K.

  19. こんばんは。私も乗鞍の畳平に行ったばかりです。

  20. Great to see you and your captured impressions "high in the sky", surrounded by such a great nature! It looks very similiar to the alpin nature o the German Alps!
    Great shots...
    ...have a great weekend, Uwe.

  21. How wonderful to escape the heat of summer in such beauty. It is always interesting to learn about your country through your eyes.

  22. The long winding road through the lush green hills is a wonderful capture and stirs my imagination. I so admire the blooms that sprout out through the tough gravely surfaces. These flowers are not nurtured with tender care but they still grow and bring color to the landscape!

  23. 乗鞍の素晴らしさがよくとらえらえていますね。ご来光を拝みに登りませんでしたか?

  24. Cosmos - 乗鞍は移動の時間も含めて1日しかとっていなかったので、夜間登山はしていません。コスモスさんはご来光登山をなさってましたね。3000mクラスでは登りやすい山と言われているようですが、コマクサの写真をとりに登った時も小さな瓦礫が滑り落ちてきたので、そんなに簡単とは思えませんでした。熊の出現のことはすっかり忘れていましたが、そんなことがありましたね。また機会がありましたら、コスモスさんの登山のポスト楽しみにしています。

  25. Hi Yoko
    Your photos are always lovely. :) Hope you are well, Ev

  26. Stunning landscapes and photos, as usual it is a real pleasure to visit your blog.
    Thank you for visiting my blog while i was off posting and leaving your comment, hope you will have less issues logging into it in the future.

  27. Hi,Stardust,
    乗鞍に行ってこられたのですね!本当に天国にとどきそうなほどの透きとおった青い空と花満開、涼しい空気!シャトルバスからの眺めは素晴らしいですね!ポストを開いた時、あまりに雄大な写真が沢山あって一瞬日本とは思えませんでした!Thank you for sharing those fantastic photos!
    Have a good week, Yoko.

  28. かなり前に乗鞍岳にのぼりました。多分長野側から、平湯のほうにぬけたと思います。当時登山が苦手で、ぜーぜー言って上ったのを、思い出します。主人が後ろから押しながら登ってくれました。
    Thank you for sharing wonderful tour!

  29. ¡¡Qué belleza de laderas y praderas!! Bss

  30. 暑い時は、山がやはりいいですね。日本は美しい国だと心から感じられるお写真です。ここまで車で来れるとはおどろきです。


  31. I enjoyed looking at your glorious pictures and reading the post. Thanks for sharing.

  32. Thanks for sharing this beautiful landscape with us.Your photos make me feel on top of the world and it must seem so at this altitude.It's so important to preserve these wild places. The anemones are wonderful,it would be lovely to reach out and pick a bunch.......of course that wouldn't be allowed but it's always possible in this virtual world!

    Enjoy your week Yoko,

  33. Again, magnificent photos of magnificent scenery.

  34. The earth has so many beautiful places that can be described as heaven and the more I travel in real life and virtually the more I realise this fact. A very beautiful place indeed and a good place to go to cool off on on a hot day.

  35. What a wonderful beautiful landscape.

  36. Am thinking of going this summer. How long is the bus ride? Where did you get the bus from, or can you get the bus from either end of the Norikura skyline?

  37. Marc - It took about 45 minutes from ほおの木平Honokidaira (Takayama City, Gifu Pref.) where we parked our car and got on a shuttle bus. (Round ticket 2200 yen) I think it’d be convenient for you to go via Norikura Ecoline in Nagano Pref. Since Norikura Mountains is on the border of Gifu and Nagano prefectures, there are two ways to get to Norikura Tatamidaira: via Norikura Skyline from Takayama (Gifu) or via Norikura Ecoline from Matsumoto (Nagano). Skyline time table is this, As to Ecoline, it will take about an hour according to this site. See PDF file.

  38. Hi Yoko! Yes, the pictures are from my garden which is about 1600 square meters large. Thank you for visiting with me.
    See you soon.

  39. simply fantastic views! thanks for taking us with u!

  40. こんにちわ。







  41. Prof. Lenz points out the obvious:
    " that price hike comes to only 347 yen for a household using the average of 290 kWh per month.

    That’s less than three cans of coffee from a street vending machine. Most people in Japan won’t feel that either way.

    And it is far from the amount of price signal that would be required to have people start saving more electricity"

    As someone who engages with the content of your posts, not just the pretty pictures, I am obviously out of step with your readers! So this will be my last one. Thanks again for the thoughtful post.

  42. Marc – Thank you for your interests in my writing and giving us various perspectives. That price raise would be no problem for the households indeed.

    When TEPCO announced price raise in spring (not now) the rate was 17% up on average for the large institutional customers including small and medium sized factories. It was revealed that TEPCO wrote to them that if those customers didn’t comply the price raise, their contract would be over, which means no electricity. Public (and Tokyo Vice Governor, too, for example) got angry about TEPCO’s abrupt and high-handed attitude toward the weak small factories who don’t have in-house electricity. Truth is unknown but I suppose there could have been the public rage behind government’s meddling. TEPCO officially announced the price raise again on Sept. 1, and the rate to the enterprises is reduced a little.

    I basically disagree with government’s meddling in business. I especially hate subsidizing in special industry or bailout (like to JAL) when most of business are surviving the difficult (economic) times by searching for various ways possible on their own.

    Thank you, again, for enlivening my post. I feel the topic was too heavy for me to handle with. Actually, you made my summer hotter. :-) Have a wonderful September.


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