I strongly recommend spending a night at a local inn when you visit the famous Tateyama-Kurobe Alpen Route in Toyama prefecture. This will make your trip a lot more exciting! One great place to stay overnight is Japan’s highest natural hot spring inn Mikurigaike Onsen, which is a member of Japan’s association of secluded hot springs and is located just 15 minutes away on foot from Murodo. Enjoy the spectacular mountain views and the blessings of the hot spring!
Member of Japan's association of secluded hot springs
This hot spring inn is located 2410 meters above sea level. You’ll see a lantern with the name of Japan’s association of secluded hot springs which is a proof of quality. The hot spring water is rich in sulfur and therefore white and turbid. No additional water is added as this is a 100% freely flowing hot spring.
This hot spring is a blessing of the mountains
The exhaustion from your hiking disappears the moment when you enter the hot water bath. You’ll feel so relaxed that you’ll close your eyes and enjoy the experience. When I was there I noticed that all the other ladies in the bath had their eyes closed and were meditating. That’s how great and relaxing this hot spring is.
The water embraces your skin and moisturizes it. You can expect a beautification effect for sure. The temperature is about 40 degrees and the water flows freely. As I expected the effect was visible the next morning! I could apply my make-up easily and that made me happy throughout the entire day. Women will understand me well. Be sure to try this hot spring.
A tranquil walk around Murodo
The main reason I recommend staying overnight along the Alpen Route is because you can fully enjoy the view of the mountains changing their colors and appearances as the night falls. Moreover, you’ll be surrounded by a quiet and pristine nature.
During high-season Murodo is quite busy at daytime. You can hear many voices and people walking around like at a typical sightseeing spot. However, right after the last bus at 4:30 pm departs everything suddenly becomes quiet. All you can hear are the small bells of the climbers hurrying to return to their mountain lodges. A world of tranquility and silence. If you take a short walk before dinner you’ll hear an evening bird. Maybe that’s a ptarmigan bird? There’s no way to be sure as you can’t see it. And as they say “if you hear a ptarmigan, it will rain” – indeed, it drizzled that night and I couldn’t enjoy the starry sky… Yes, it must have been a ptarmigan.
Fresh seafood in a mountain inn
Dinner comes and while I expected typical mountain food like vegetables and mushrooms, I was served fresh sashimi, scallops and other types of seafood! They were all fresh and delicious!
The road to Murodo from Toyama’s side is closed for private cars, but is used for supplying the local inns with fresh seafood from Toyama Bay. Not the dinner you’d expect at such a place and that made me quite happy. I even asked for more rice. Breakfast is served in a buffest style – you can choose between vegetables, seafood and others. Eat a lot so that you can hike well.
More information about Mikurigaike Onsen
As its name suggests, this inn is located next to Lake Mikurigaike. You can see the “hell valley” with steaming sulfur from the rocks and enjoy the distant night view of Toyama. One of the highlights is the clear starry sky. On good-weather days the inn organizes star watching parties so ask to join at the front desk.
You can stay in a dormitory-type room or in a private room. However, you need to book the private room for at least 3 people during the high-season. The prices are better than the other hotels around and the hot spring makes this inn quite popular. Actually, you can even try the bath without staying overnight, if you come here between 9 am and 4 pm.
“Mikurigaike Onsen” Telephone: 076-463-1441 Room charge: Private room – from 9920 JPY, dormitory-type room – from 8820 JPY Please check the official website for the most accurate information. Day-trip hot spring: Adult 600 JPY, child 400 JPY