Located outside of Matsumoto near Kamikochi, Norikura Kogen is a highland paradise that sprawls along the mountainside of Mt. Kengamie (3,026m). Norikura itself ranges from around 1,200 to 2,600 meters in altitude, hosting a range of alpine flora and fauna. During spring, the remaining snow along the Echo line road forms large snow walls that can reach heights of over 10 meters.
Norikura Kogen’s Haruyama bus began running yesterday, Thursday, May 31st, taking visitors from Norikura’s tourism center up to the top of the snow walls at the Daisekkei bus stop. It will continue to run through June 30th. This year, the walls stand about 7 meters high.
To reach Norikura Kogen, take the Kamikochi line train from Matsumoto to Shinshimashima Station. Then, take the Norikura line bus to the Norikura tourism center. The Haruyama bus leaves from there.
Alpico Kotsu offers a two- or three-day pass around that Japanese Alps that covers travel to between Matsumoto, Kamikochi, Norikura, and Shirahone Onsen for 6,000 yen (plus 1,000 yen for three days). Without the pass, roundtrip travel between Matsumoto and the Norikura snow walls costs 5,800 yen.