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One of the best things we did in Japan was hiking to the top of Mount Tate.

Located in the Toyama Prefecture, Mount Tate is completely off the classic tourist trail in Japan. In fact, the only fellow hikers we met on the mountain were Japanese. So, if you’re looking for a unique nature experience in Japan, then we can 100% recommend this day hike.

Getting to the trailhead might seem a little bit tricky since you have to take 3 different means of transportation. But we’ll show you that it’s actually pretty straightforward.

In this travel guide, we’ll share all you need to know about hiking Mount Tate in one day. We’ll go through the steps of how to get there, how much the transportation costs, and we’ll share our own story from Mount Tate in Japan.

Hopefully, when you’re done reading this, you’ll know all about how to hike this magnificent mountain yourself!

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About Mount Tateyama

Mount “Tate” is actually short of Mount “Tateyama”.

The kanji for Tateyama is “立山”. whereas “立” refers to “standing” and “山” refers to “mountain”.

So Tateyama means “Standing Mountain”, but most people just refer to it as Mount Tate.

Tateyama actually has three peaks: Ōnanjiyama, Oyama, and Fuji-no-Oritateyama, which all puts you somewhere between 2999-3015 meters above sea level.

Tateyama is one of Japan’s three holy mountains with Mount Fuji and Mount Haku as the other two.

Mount Tate is standing tall above the coastal city of Toyama, and it’s part of Japan’s Hida mountain range and Sangaku National Park. You can see the Hida mountain range from the Toyama City itself, but if it’s a clear day you’ll get the best views from Iwasehama Beach.

How to get to Mount Tate

We followed the easiest and fastest way to get to the mountain.

If you just want to go for a day hike, then you have to take the following route to Murodō Alpine Station and the Mount Tate trailhead. This is what we did:

  1. Dentetsu-Toyama station to Tateyama Station (train)
  2. Tateyama Station to Bijodaira (cable car)
  3. Bijodaira to Murodō (bus)
  4. Murodō to Mount Tateyama (hike)

We took the train in Toyama around 7 AM and arrived at Murodō Alpine Station around 9:50 AM. So getting to the alpine station took us almost 3 hours for just one way. The hike to Mount Tate itself takes about 3-4 hours return.

It might seem like a lot of hassle to go on a hike that’s less than 6 kilometers long. But it’s honestly so worth it!

How much it costs to hike Mount Tate

The hike itself is free, but the transportation price to get to Mount Tate is a bit expensive.

Adult return tickets cost 9100 Yen/person in 2023.

Buying the return ticket at once, rather than just buying 2 single tickets, gets you a discount. So if you’re just doing the day hike like us, and you know that you are returning the same day, then we would recommend you to get the return ticket and save a bit of money.

We showed up at Dentetsu-Toyama Station at 6:50 AM in the morning and bought two return tickets to Murodō Alpine Station. So just show up 10-15 minutes before the train leaves and that should leave you with plenty of time to buy the tickets.

Where to stay on Mount Tateyama

If you want to stay a night or two on Mount Tate, and thus not be dependent on public transportation to get back to Toyama in time, then you can book a spot in a mountain lodge.

Check out Tengudaira Mountain Lodge if you’re thinking about staying on the mountain. It looks like a basic lodge, but it has great reviews from other travelers, and it provides you with both breakfast, dinner, and a free use of an onsen.

It honestly sounds pretty good to us, and we’ll definitely consider it for our next trip.

If you want something a bit more upscale and comfortable, then you can stay at Hotel Tateyama, which is located right by the Murodō Alpine Station. This one is a bit pricier, but it has an excellent location, the rooms are big, breakfast and dinner is included, and you’ll also find an onsen here.

Toyama City Japan
Toyama City and the Hida mountain range

Our Mountain Story: Hiking to Mount Tate

Now that we’ve shared all the practical information about how to get to Mount Tate, how much it costs, and where you can stay on the mountain, we’ll share our own hiking story. We hope you’ll enjoy it!

Preparing for the hike

The alarm went off at 5:30 AM an early September morning – today was the day!

We had postponed it for two days because the mountain range had been immersed in thick clouds.

But today was our last day in Toyama, before leaving for Tokyo, so we just had to do the hike now – no matter what! Luckily for us, the sun was up and there was a clear sight to the mountain range from our small apartment in Toyama.

I had not been sleeping very well because I was anxiously lying awake overthinking what I should do in case I meet a bear on the mountain. It turned out that this was empty worries that kept me awake because I didn’t meet a bear and everything actually went pretty smooth.

Glenn, on the other hand, had slept like a rock.

Anyways, it was time to wake up. A quick shower, a cup of coffee, a bite of bread, and we were officially declared awake. We then packed our backpacks with extra layers of clothing, water, snacks, and the cup noodles we were going to eat at the peak of Japan’s majestic Mount Tate.

Shoelaces tightened, backpacks on, and off we were to the Dentetsu-Toyama Station and the Northern Alps of Japan.

Me on the Mount Tate trail
A backpack, hiking trainers, and comfortable sports wear is all you need for this hike!

Going to Mount Tate

Getting to Murodō Alpine Station went smooth, but it took a long time. We bought our tickets at the train station at 7 AM in the morning. We were the second people in line and made the train with extra time to spare.

The train ride from Toyama to Tateyama Station was just beautiful! It brought us out of the city of Toyama, through the Japanese countryside, and ended in a dense forest.

From Tateyama station we took a small cable car. The cable car reminded me of rush hour in a city metro. This Danish expression sums it up pretty good, “Som sild i en tønde”, translated into ” Like herring in a barrel”.

My point is that we all stood very close to one another, so we were happy the cable car only took 10 minutes.

From the cable car, we jumped into a bus that would take us to Murodō. This feels like a long bus ride if you suffer from motion sickness like me – my face literally turned pale white while driving through those curvy mountain roads.

But the nice thing about the bus ride is that it’s also a mini tour guide.

You certainly get a lot of information about the mountain range and the plants and animals living in the area. You even get to see the tallest waterfall in Japan as the bus slowly goes by it. But the best thing about the bus ride is the amazing views of all the mountains that you see on the way!

We eventually arrived at Murodō and we were pleased to have clear views of Mount Tate. Watching the peak from afar gave us the confidence we needed for the hike ahead of us. So there was nothing else to do than start hiking up Mount Tate.

The hike begins

The first part of the hike was fairly easy. We basically followed a nice path for 40 minutes until we reached an alpine hut. It was up here that we began to understand the beauty of this amazing place.

We eventually hiked to higher ground and could now look down at the valley we had just come from.

And if we turned around, we could see the valley on the other side of the trail. There was nothing but green mountains all around us. Some of them even had leftover snow peaks that had survived the Japanese summer.

It was so beautiful.

This hike seemed very promising and we couldn’t wait to continue. However, the next part seemed a bit challenging.

Glenn on the Mount Tate hiking trail
Glenn with the first part of the hiking trail behind us. The clouds are starting to roll in!

The hard part

The next part of the hike is the toughest part.

The clear and easy walking path was exchanged with what looked like a marked climb full of big rocks. This was certainly going to be the hard part of the hike to Mount Tate. We quickly gained elevation because the path was so steep, but it also meant that our legs were getting heavy and tired.

We took several breaks and talked with some nice Japanese people on the way. They were curious about where we came from since we were the only foreigners on the trail. It was at this point that we realized that many of these fellow mountaineers were old – I’m sure some were well into their 70s.

So here we’re sitting, two young people in their mid-20s, trying to catch our breath, while being overtaken by people in their 70s. It was at this moment that we learned how strong the Japanese people actually are! I hope I can still climb mountains when I get to this age. What an inspiration!

Anyways, as we continued our ascent, the views only got better. We could even see all the way to Toyama and the ocean. What a beautiful clear day!

The hard part of Mount Tateyama trail
The trail on the steep part of the hike is marked with X’s.

Mount Tate peak

The steep climb took a little over an hour, and we were rewarded with some gorgeous views at the top.

We learned that the peak has a shrine of some sort. But honestly, we didn’t visit it as we were more interested in having a rest and eating our celebratory cup noodles. I don’t think we’ll ever eat a cup noodle with a better view than the one we had at the top of Mount Tate. Slurp’s up!

While we were at the peak, the clouds started to roll in, which only gave Mount Tate a more magical feel to it.

The peak of Mount Tateyama
The peak of Mount Tateyama

We started our descent because the weather was acting up. We almost made it back down to Murodō in time. But not completely. The white clouds were exchanged with grey clouds, and we now found ourselves back at Murodō completely soaked from the rain!

But somehow we couldn’t stop laughing at the timing of the rain and our lack of rain jackets. We had finished this incredible day hike at Mount Tateyama, so nothing could bring our moods down – especially not something as natural as rain.

All there was left to do now, was to head back to Toyama and eat a massive Spicy Miso Ramen to celebrate our successful day in the mountains. What a great day!

Why you should hike Mount Tateyama

Even though the Kurobe Alpine Route seems a bit long, the time you will spend on the train, cable car and bus is nothing compared to how amazing this day hike is.

We really hope to return some day for another adventure in the Hida mountains.

Apart from the amazing hike, there are also hot springs in the area, which you can go explore. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see any of these beautiful lakes because the rain and clouds on the way back didn’t make it worthwhile. But next time we hope to explore the hot springs!

You can even visit Murodō Alpine Station in the winter/spring and see the biggest snow wall in Japan (at least we think it’s the biggest).

So there is always something to do in this incredible place all year round!

We can 100% recommend the hike to Mount Tate for those of you who are looking for amazing day hikes, or for those who want to get off the tourist trail in Japan. What a great place on earth!

Mount Tate hike - a landscape picture
Isn’t the Mount Tate hike in Japan just incredibly beautiful?

We hope you enjoyed this blog post about hiking Mount Tate in Japan. If you’re looking to do the hike yourself and have any questions about the mountain, then please leave a comment below.

Japan is one of our favorite countries, and we cannot wait to go back in the future! Have you never been to Japan before? Then read my full travel guide about Tips on traveling to Japan for the first time

If you want to read about a more touristic, yet really amazing hike – then read our blog post about the Fushimi Inari hike. Thanks for reading and happy travels!

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    1. Thanks! Maybe you should some day, there is another feel to the earth up high. The air is fresher and the sun is sharper 🙂

    1. It’s actually less than 6 km from the trailhead in Murodo, so the hike itself is doable, even with the steep elevation. It’s getting to the trailhead from Toyama that takes forever! At least you see the most beautiful scenery on the way 🙂

  1. Although I am not a fan of hiking to mountains due to my experience when I stumbled upon my biggest fear – snake, lol. But this blog post is giving me second thoughts. Great post and beautiful photos! 💛

    1. Uuuuh I wouldn’t like meeting a snake either. If you ever want to go hiking somewhere with nothing that can kill you, then go to New Zealand, all they have are birds 😂 Thanks!

  2. It looks like it was worth that wait. A difficult climb but the views are stunning. This is my problem with mountain climbing. Watching older people just breeze past me while I’m gasping for air and they’re treating it like a stroll in the park lol. Just makes me realise I need to do more of it for practice

    1. Haha I know! We felt so intimidated by the old people walking by us. I have so much respect for them! 🙂 It’s an amazing hike.

  3. Love this post on hiking Tateyama. Was the explanation in the bus in Japanese or English? My husband and I took a tour in Okinawa and it was only in Japanese!

    1. It was surprisingly in both languages! We learned a lot on the way to the mountain top 🙂 Thanks Lorenza!

    1. It was amazing 🙂 There was red x’s on the left side of the trail and yellow x’s on the right side of the trail. They show you the way to go, so you don’t walk up and down the same way. Maybe I wasn’t clear. Classic Japan to mark the way, so people don’t walk into each other on the way up and down. Love Japan!

  4. Yes please include Mount Tate, it’s so undiscovered by foreigners compared to Mount Fuji. But it’s amazing! 🙂

      1. Hi Michele,
        That is a very good question, but I don’t really remember anything about signs. The thing is, you don’t need to rely on signs for this hike as the trail is pretty straightforward. So I wouldn’t worry to much about that 😊 Best, Cecilie

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