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Snow-banked alpine route in central Japan being cleared ahead of April opening

As work continues to clear snow, the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route cuts a beautiful curve into the mountainside, seen from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter in the town of Tateyama, Toyama Prefecture, on March 19, 2023. (Mainichi/Tadashi Kako)=Click/tap photo for more images.

TATEYAMA, Toyama -- Snowplows and bulldozers continue to clear a mountain road in this central Japan town, carving a beautiful curve that emerges from the silvery-white mountainside.

    The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route cuts through the Tateyama mountain range in Japan's Northern Alps, connecting Toyama and Nagano prefectures.

    Tateyama Kurobe Kanko Co., the route's operator, aims to fully open the road on April 15. According to the city of Toyama-based company, snowfall this past winter was around the average amount. Roughly 2.5 meters accumulated at the 977-meter-altitude Bijodaira, a connecting spot for the Tateyama Highland Bus, while at the route's highest point, the 2,450-meter-altitude Murodo, snow depth measured about 5.6 meters.

    Snow removal work began at the mountain's base in February and reached the 1,840-meter-altitude point of Oiwake on March 13.

    (Japanese original by Kenichi Kayahara, Toyama Bureau)

    In Photos: Snow-banked alpine route getting cleared ahead of opening in central Japan

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