Mt. Tateyama (立山)

This blog post was written back in 2008. For the latest information about this hike (including color photos and maps), please consider purchasing my guidebook to the Japan Alps. 

Mt. Tateyama is the highest peak in Toyama Prefecture, and one of the 3 sacred mountains of Japan (after Mt. Fuji and Hakusan). Its easy access via the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route ensures a healthy swath of tourists for most of the year.

The hike: From the bus terminal at Murodo, follow the paved path and signposts (and crowds) to Ichi-no-koshi Hut (一ノ越山荘), which sits on a saddle between the summit of Tateyama and Mt. Ryuou (龍王岳). It’s only a 200m vertical climb to the saddle, and it should take an hour or so. From here, turn left and start the real climb to the summit. The path is well-marked and there are lots of rocks to scramble over. It should take an hour or so to reach the rest house just below the summit of Oyama (雄山). There’s a spur trail leading to the shrine on the summit, but you’ve got to pay 500 yen to enter. After offering some coinage to the mountain deities, continue on the trail to the left of the shrine torii, following the rocky ridge line. You’ll reach the high point, Onanji (大汝山), in about 20 minutes. The views over the cliff edges down to Kurobe lake are unbelievable. If the weather is good then you’ll have a clear view over to Mt. Tsurugi, as well as the peaks of Hakuba across the valley. Either retrace your steps back to Murodo, or continue on the same trail, turning left at the next junction for an alternative loop trail back to the bus terminal via Raicho-daira (雷鳥平). Don’t forget to have a soak at Mikuri-ga-ike Hot Spring (みくりが池温泉). Click here for the website in Japanese.

When to go: This hike can be done from mid April to late November, when the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route is open. Expect lots of snow if hiking before April and after mid-October. Click here to see the beautiful scenery during Golden Week. A winter hike is also possible if you’re prepared for meters of snow and a long, tough climb.

Access: From Dentetsu Toyama station (電鉄富山駅) take a local train bound for Tateyama (立山) and get off at the last stop. From there, change to the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, taking a cable car and then bus to Murodo (室堂). Click here for English information, including a detailed timetable.

Live web cam: Click here

Level of difficulty: 2 out of 5 (elevation change 615m).

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37 Comments on “Mt. Tateyama (立山)”

  1. Eran Mick Says:


    From your experience, do you think the time around Oct. 17-18 would already have too much snow on the mountain for non-professional climbers to safely climb?

    • wesu Says:


      I checked the web cam, comparing the previous 5 years worth of images taken on October 17th. Based on that data, you’ve got a 60% chance of encountering snow on the peak. (no snow in 2005 or 2008, but a dusting in 2007 and last year). However, please keep in mind that this is a “La Nina” year, which means we’re probably in for a long, cold, snow-filled winter.

      If there’s a dusting of snow, then you can do the peak with a light pair of crampons, but if the peak is snowed under, then you’ll need full crampons, an ice axe, and ropes.

      I guess the best advice would be to keep an eye on the weather in the weeks and days building up to the 17th, and make a final decision on the 15th or 16th. You should have a back-up plan as well (another smaller peak that you could climb in case conditions are not good)

      I hope this helps


      • Eran Mick Says:

        Helps a lot.

      • Eran Mick Says:

        Hi again Wes,

        any suggestions about those smaller peaks as alternatives to Tateyama? Something in the vicinity. I have a car so accessibility is less of a problem, and preferably something with a hut along the way.
        Any recommendations off the top of your mind?

        Thanks again.

  2. kc Says:

    Hi, I’m planning to hike the Murodododaura hiking route on the 16th October. Will there be a lot of snow on this route? I have never hike on snow before?

    • wes Says:


      Snow depth varies year by year. As of now (October 6, 2010) there is no snow on Tateyama, though that could change soon. My best advice to you is to continually check both the live web cam and the weather forecast frequently in the days prior to your trip.

  3. wes Says:


    I would suggest Hakusan but the summit hut is already closed for the season. Mountain huts usually keep their upper floors open as emergency huts in the winter season though.

    Amakazari is an awesome hike in the autumn, though there aren’t any huts on the summit itself (it’s usually done as a day hike) but there’s plenty of places to stay at both trailheads.

    If you want to go further into Niigata, then I recommend the Myoko/Hiuchi loop.

    Where are you based exactly? In Toyama? You could also consider doing some hiking around Keyaki-daira in Kurobe gorge.

    When are you thinking of going? There’s still no snow on the higher peaks yet, as the temperatures have been pretty mild for October. That could change in the coming weeks.


  4. Dennis Says:


    From your experience, would it be advisable to bring my kids (3 & 1.5 years old) along for this hike in mid June?

    • wes Says:


      Thanks for checking out the site and for the question. I think that mid-June will be too early to bring along the kids. There will still be A LOT of snow around Tateyama. The ridges will very likely be clear, but getting up to the ridge from Murodo will be a long slog in the rotting snow. It should be fine for you, but I worry about the smaller children (if you carry them it would be ok, but two kids to carry may be too much).

      I hope it helps. Check the web cam to get an idea of how much snow there still remains. I went to Tateyama in mid-July and most of it was still buried under snow

  5. Ofir Says:

    hey, I wanted to go on the hike to the tateyama summeit while doing the tateyama kurobe alpine route… therefore stoping along the way for all the sightseeing is a lot of time. is there any cheap place to stay at (campsite, hut) instead of he super expencive hotels?

    • wes Says:


      When are you planning to go? The Alpine Route opens on April 16th but be advised that there is still A LOT of snow until mid-June at the earliest. This season there are tons of skiers who mostly stay in the hotels, as the campsites are still buried in snow.

      The closest campground to Murodo station (at Tateyama) is Raicho-sawa, a 45-minute trek from the bus terminal. It costs 500 yen a night and you need to bring your own gear.

      I hope this helps


      • Ofir Says:

        Oh wow… I wanted to hike there to the top of Tateyama the begining of may :/ will I be able to do that? And what is my best option to stay there along the way if not a campsite? Are there any huts?

      • wes Says:

        If you have crampons and winter hiking experience, then it’s possible, but remember that the beginning of May is Golden Week and it will be very crowded!

        Here is a blog so you can get an idea of conditions

        There are a number of mountain huts at Tateyama, but none are cheap. You will need to book in advance if going during Golden Week

  6. Helmut Pelzmann Says:

    Hi I would like to ask if I would need snow boots if I do want to hike Tateyma Mountain around this or next week?
    Thanks for every hint!

    P.S.: by the way, great descriptions, thank you!


    • wes Says:


      Yes you need snow boots and also an ice axe and 12-point crampons if hiking Tateyama now. There’s still A LOT of snow and tomorrow’s rain will likely bring fresh snow to the higher peaks

      • Gilbert Says:

        Wow, there’s need for an ice axe? I’m planning to go mid-June. I’m not new to hiking but it would be my first time hiking in snow. Would crampons and a pair of trekking poles suffice to reach the summit?

  7. Milos Says:

    Hi Wes,

    Thanks for the great information about the hike. At what point would you say that you don’t need crampons or ice axes? I’m planning to go around May 25th of this year. Thanks.

    • wes Says:

      No worries Milos. Right now the ridge is free of snow but I’d use 6-pointers from Murodo up until the ridge (trekking poles would be ok instead of an axe). Snow stay around Tateyama until early August usually. I wouldn’t attempt Tsurugi-dake before August, however.

      • Milos Says:

        Thanks for the quick response. Do you know if they have crampons/trekking poles for rent at Murodo station or anywhere else along the route? I’m trying to pack as light as possible, thanks.

      • wes Says:

        Crampons/trekking poles for rent? Probably not. The only place I’ve seen them for rent is on Mt. Shirouma (Daisekkei route)

  8. Ugun Guntur Says:

    Hi wes, i have a plan to hike Tateyama summit on last the weekend September or the first weekend October. Is it needed form registration to hike Tateyama Mountain from Murodo? And is it safely if hiking alone? Thanks.

    • wes Says:


      You don’t need to register. Lots of people hike from Murodo in the autumn. Hiking alone is fine if you are only hiking up to the shrine on the top. If you traverse the ridge, however, it’s better to go with someone, as there are some dangerous areas

  9. Paul Says:

    Hi there, thank you for the helpful information on Mt. Tateyama. Would hiking the summit of Mt. Tateyama in Mid November be feasible without encountering snow / needing snow boots etc.? My partner and I are after Autumn colours but I feel at such an elevation we may be too late. Thanks.

  10. Paul Says:

    Hi Wes,

    In your opinion would a hike up Mt Tateyama in Mid November involve considerable amounts of snow? My partner and I are looking to finish off our late autumn trip here but cannot figure out if it will be covered in snow, or potentially still have some autumn colour. Thanks.

    • wes Says:


      There will likely already be snow on Tateyama by mid-November. However, the mountain lodge at Murodo will still be open and the Kurobe-Tateyama Alpine Route will still be operating. If there is snow on Tateyama, then you could certainly still go to enjoy the snow scenery and a hot spring bath. Late September is usually the peak for autumn colors in the alpine regions, with the lower elevations of the mountains in Nagano coming into color in mid-October.

      I hope that helps.

  11. Michael Says:

    Hi Wes,

    First thing I want to say is that you’ve done absolutely fantastic job on the site. As you are aware – good, informative sources on hiking in Japan in Englieh are quite tough to find, so I just wanted to let you know that I’m just another person who greatly appreciates what you have created. Thank you.

    Now, I wanted to ask you a question. I’ll be travelling across Japan in September and while I wanted to do both, time constraints require me to choose between Tateyama and Hakusan. Which would you recommend for mid-September? I can fairly easily switch my plans between those two, but sadly I won’t be able to climb both.


    • wes Says:


      Thanks for the kind words about the website.

      It’s a tough call between Hakusan and Tateyama. While Tateyama has easier access, Hakusan will have less crowds and it less developed. However, Tateyama is much higher (3000 meters vs. Hakusan’s 2700 meters). Also, Tateyama has a hot spring bath on the mountain with steaming fumaroles.

      SO I guess it depends on what you’re looking for. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of Tateyama due to the large number of tourists and the Disneyland atmosphere of the Tateyama-Kurobe alpine route.

      Will you have access to a car? I can’t remember if the bus to the Hakusan trailhead still runs in September or not.

      I hope that helps.



      • Michael Says:


        The plan is to go from Kyoto to Takayama (3 days at a ryokan), then climb Yarigatake from Kamikochi and off to Nagoya (basically to get to the aitport). Tateyama would be just after Yari so it’s not ideal. Haku would be a better fit, having a few days to relax between treks.
        I do prefer a bit less crowdy places, too, so for me that’s another plus. I don’t really mind if it’s 2700 or 3000 as long the views are gorgeous, and I assume neither will dissapoint in that regard.
        I wasn’t planning on renting a car but it’s certainly a possibility. Bus availability is very limited AFAIK, so probably it’s a good idea.

        Thanks you very much for the tips :).

        Best regards,

  12. Nazrin Says:

    Hi wes.
    Do I need to register or fill up the form before hiking mount Tate and mount Tsurugi? I’ve plan to climb both peak together and camping at the camp site for one night. Is there any equipment that must have for a hiker as a requirement to climb the peak? such as helmet, glove, and ect.

  13. rowena Says:

    hi. is it ok to go to mt. tateyama during mid week of march? is it safe?

    • wes Says:

      Tateyama is closed to hikers during the winter. There’s just too much snow and avalanche risk. The road to Tateyama doesn’t open until mid-to-late April

  14. Yeevaa Says:

    Hi, do I need full gear ( crampons ice axe etc) to hike tateyama on 27-28 June 2019?

  15. Num E. Says:

    Hi Wes,

    Thank a lot for your information and description, really appreciated.

    I have some questions to ask about Tateyama mountain I need to prepare for snow gear (helmet, axe, crampons) during 21/22 October?
    2. is it possible to do an one day summit to Tateyama by starting from Toyama in the morning and end in Matsumoto? I’m not sure I need to stay overnight in the hut/campsite?
    3.Is it ok to go there alone to summit? I am a very beginner hiker, but experience to summit Mt. Fuji.

    Thank you

    • wes Says:


      I’d definitely be prepared for snow, as it usually starts falling by late October. Here’s a report from October 21st of last year:

      A one-day trip in October will be difficult to do because of the short daylight hours. I recommend staying overnight in Murodo in order to break up the trip. On weekends there is a usually a long line for the cable car and bus.

      You could climb as far as the main shrine on the summit alone, but I would NOT traverse over to Masago-dake by yourself, especially if there is snow on the ridge.

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