There were 3 special timings where the bus would stop in front of the hotel lobby – 810, 850 & 930. We were told that the Snow Corridor only opened at 10 so we took the 930 bus and had a leisurely breakfast. It was pretty good offering a wide variety.
Their version of soft boiled eggs
We kept our bags in a coin locker (400yen for a super large locker) and walked down the famed snow corridor which was actually one lane on the road. It was May 10th so the highest point of the snow wall was 13m and it had been 19m in March.
It was very cold and windy along the snow corridor. X cried when Mr H forgot to put gloves on for him. Z constantly complained of being cold when he was all bundled up. With the Phototaking and walking about in the snow maze, we took 1hr 45min. We caught the 1200h trolley bus to the other horizontal end of the mountain.
The trolley bus and tunnel
We reached the station at 1210h and checked out the viewing point. At every station, there was a viewing point at the roof top. This station overlooked the dam so it was a very nice viewing point but it was also a 5 storey climb in a narrow staircase with a lot of tour groups. X was napping in the stroller so Mr H & X stayed below. We missed the 1220h boarding and took the 1240h.
The view from the viewing point
After 7min on the cable car, it was a long windy 10min walk across the dam. The dam only operated in Jun so we did not get to see how majestic the water dam could be but the sheer depth of the valley was sufficient to prove its point.
We arrived at Ogizawa station at 1351 and there were options to take bus to Shinano-Omachi JR station at 1300yen (30min ride) or to Nagano JR station at 2600yen (100min ride). We had planned for the latter because I did not fancy the train transfers and preferred the quick and direct way back via Shinakansen. That was also why we chose to forward our luggage to Tokyo else according to the brochure, the luggage had to be forwarded up the Alpine before 830am the day before and could only be forwarded down to the Shinano-Omachi station by 430pm.
We got the bus tickets for 1410-1550h and rested on the bus after such a hectic, sunny, cold morning. We caught the 1559h Kagayaki train and arrived at Tokyo’s Ueno station at 1730h. We transferred to Yamonote line to Ikebukuro’s Metropolitan Hotel which was very near to the JR station and checked in at 1800h.
We were happy to have our luggage delivered to us in our rooms.
We headed out to Ten Ryu at the nearby Tobu shopping centre on 11F for dinner. It boasted of super large gyozas.
Part of our dinner
Tobu closed at 8pm so we shopped at Bic Camera till 9pm. We were surprised to see the new E7 Shinakansen in Takara Tommy’s die cast series. It was only 630yen as opposed to the 1296yen for the die cast train model bought at Kanazawa!
This was an additional bed to make up part of our triple room for the next two nights and it cost us $345 per night.