Tsurugi-sawa – Suihei-hodo
Murodo ~ Bessan-nokkoshi ~ Tsurugi-zawa-koya Mountain Hut ~ Chojiro-valley-deai ~ Masago-zawa Lodge ~ Sennin-ike hut ~ Asohara Onsen-koya Mountain Hut ~ Keyaki-daira
Technical level: E
Physical strength: 5
A hike on the route with view of Ura-Tsurugi, where you would like to visit at least once
The course recommended for hikers who have experience of climbing Tateyama mountains or Mt. Tsurugi-dake. If you look at Mt. Tsurugi-dake from its back, it will give you different experience. As you walk, it changes its features from time to time and that must take your breath away over and over. Suihei-hodo was developed during the construction of Kurobe Dam. That is the route that you can feel passion of those who achieved the dam construction, which nobody had achieved before.
Schedule: Two nights and three days
Walking hours: 20 hours 35 minutes
Walking distance: 29.445 km
Cumulative elevation difference: 796 m
(descending variance in elevation: 1,578 m)
↓ 2 hours 45 minutes
↓ 50 minutes
↓ 1 hour 15 minutes
↓ 35 minutes
↓ 4 hours 5 minutes
↓ 5 hours 50 minutes
↓ 5 hours 15 minutes
Murodo Terminal at Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route is a starting point. Fill you water bottle at Gyokuden spring in front of the terminal. Ead towards Mikuriga-ike pond on the promenade. The ridgeline extending towards north from Mt. Osu-yama can be seen at the back of calm surface of Mikuriga-ike pond. On your left, Mikuriga hot spring locates. Pass Enma-dai and proceed while looking down Rindo-ike pond on the left lower corner of your sight. Pass Raicho hot spring, Raicho-sou Mountain Hut, and Raicho-sawa hut, then enter Raicho-sawa camping site. It is a wide and flat camping site. Pass the site and enter the slope of Raicho-saka. It is a steep slope, however, there is a great view of Mt. Oku-dainishi-dake on the left side and the ridgeline from Mt. Osu-yama to Mt. Bessan on the right side. Also, a view from Mt. Ryuou-dake to Mt. Jyodo-yama spreads at your back.
The slope take a wide turn towards left. Ascend with caution to unstable rocks. The trail becomes ascending in small zigzag pattern. Alpine flowers of Hakusan-kinbai or Shinano-kinbai shine at your feet. Do not step on those flowers. When an object like a stone wall comes into your sight, that is Bessan-nokkoshi. Tsurugi-gozen-koya Mountain hut stands there. It is the hut that hikers use as the front base to attach Mt. Tsurugi-dake. In front of the hut, bio-toilet for hikers is built.
From here, descend the slope to Tsurugi-zawa while looking at Mt. Tsurugi-dake in the front. In about 40 minutes, Tsurugi-sawa camping site is reached. This is the place that many hikers spend their own time while preparing for the attack to Mt. Tsurugi-dake on the next day. Tsurugi-zawa-koya Mountain hut is reached after descending through colorful tents. Of course, there is a great view of Mt. Tsurugi-dake. From here, enter Tsurugi-sawa snowy valley, one of big three Japanese snowy valley. Two others are Hakuba big snowy valley and Harinoki big snowy valley. Wear crampons appropriately for descending. Be careful for crevasse. At Chojiro-deai, cross to the left bank. Watch out for falling rocks. In about 35 minutes, Masago-sawa lodge will be reached. It is recommended to stay at the hut for the night. On the next day, walking hours are scheduled to be 10 hours to Asohara Onsen-koya Mountain Hut. Therefore, you must depart before sunrise.
After a while from Masago-sawa lodge, the junction of the trail towards Sennin-ike and the trail towards Kuranosuke-daira will be reached. Take the left tril towards the main stream to descend. Since small ups and downs, which require uses of chains and ladders, continue, caution must be exercised. The trail comes to the wide riverbank. You need to be careful when the water level is high. Futama hanging bridge will be reached shortly. While watching a big Kondo-iwa, take a short break.
From this point, the ascending route of Sennin-shindo begins. It will be long uphill. Stay focused on your steady pace. When your view becomes wider, a glacier Sanno-mado snowy valley appears in your sight. Make sure that you stop to enjoy the view. From the junction of Sennin pass, follow the boardwalk towards Sennin-ike hut. Sennin-ike, well known for salamanders, stands in front of the hut. The view of secluded region spreads. From here, descend to Sennin valley. The slope is steep so be careful not to slip. Especially on the valley side, dangerous areas for falling continute. Sennin hot spring koya Mountain hut will be reached when you cross the bridge. You must be able to see steam before you reach the hut. After you pass the spot, the trail enters into Kumokiri-shindo. The long dowonhill begins. Areas requiring use of ropes and ladders continue. Stay focused. When you descend to Sennin Dam, go through the facility and pass in front of Kansai Electric Hitomi-daira dormitory.
The uphill towards Asohara Onsen-koya Mountain Hut begins. During dam construction, people had hard time for tunnel construction due to high temperature of bedrocks around this area. “Kounetu-zuido”, featuring this difficult construction, is a famous book. Hot spring is still available to nowadays and it fills open-air both at Asohara Onsen-koya Mountain Hut.
On the third day, it is scheduled to walk five hours from Asohara Onsen-koya Mountain hut to Keyaki daira. The trail called “Suihei-hodo” continues. There are some ups and downs but slopes are fairly gradual. The variance in elevation between Asohara Onsen-koya Mountain hut to Keyaki-daira is about 270 m. Proceed on the trail, built in U-shape space on the cliff of Kurobe valley. The width of the trail is only about 70 cm, therefore, great caution must be exercised to prevent slipping. On the way, there are three tunnels built in bedrocks. Make sure that you turn your headlight on. After the third tunnel, Keyaki-daira will be reached in less than two hours. From there, take Kurobe Gorge Railway to Unazuki Onsen station.