Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Prophet Moses created Sea Corridor - Japanese created 20 Meter high Snow Corridor

Whenever Japan is talked about, it is talked about its technology, inventions, innovations, Sumo style of wrestling, martial arts and of course its traditions laced hospitable people. 

But what about tourism and places to visit? Does Japan have snow fall? Do we have snow skiing in Japan? Well I did not really know much about many facets of tourism in Japan, except the hot springs or the Onsens of Kyoto that I talked about awhile ago. While trying to know the meaning of 'prefecture' a new travel site exclusive to Japan unearthed for me. 

But before I talk of the snow corridor, let me tell you meaning of 'prefecture' which is exclusive to Japan. Just like administrative divisions like States in USA, or Provinces in many countries like Pakistan, Canada or China, a Prefecture means exactly the same in Japan. And from here I came across the 'Toyama Prefectue' of Japan that has this unique, awesome and innovative snow corridor with its walls rising as high as 20 metres.

Northern Japan Alps 
Toyama Prefecture is located along the Sea of Japan coast in the the Chubu Region. The area also includes part of the spectacular Northern Japan Alps, which can be experienced along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. And it is in this heavily snow covered Japanes Alps that this corridor is located. The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route connects Toyama City in Toyama Prefecture with Omachi Town in Nagano Prefecture. The section between Tateyama Station and Ogizawa is closed to private vehicles. This is the section that has been carved out of high mountain snow to provide a unique tourist attraction for tourists both from in country and from around the world.

Before watching the photos below, do not forget to see a video at the end on making of the snow-corridor - a ritual repeated every year.

The  snow corridor in Murodo
While it snows heavily in winters, the area is inaccessible and is closed for all types of traffic. But from April to November, the roads are cleared of the snow for normal traffic. As I said before the section between Tateyama Station and Ogizawa is closed to private vehicles and the snow corridor in Murodo is open to pedestrians to walk from April 17 to June 10 only.

Each year wonder of the world - a snow corridor "Yukina-Otani" is carved out by digging out the snow with its sheer vertical walls rising up to height of 20 metres to the tourist. Now when I say cutting through the ice and carving out a corridor with 20 meters high walls - it is not an easy task. 

The Japanese have to work hard to technically find solutions to maintain this tourist attraction. The corridor is so carved that its axis coincide with the axis of the road on the side of the roadway, which has special multimeter with a pylon mounted radio transmitters in them. 

In order to avoid pollution or blackening of the corridor white walls, travel through the corridor in private car is prohibited. Tourists can either walk through to enjoy this gigantic snow wall and feel the snow on both sides exactly the same way the children of Israel felt when the section of the Red Sea was split into two with the graciousness of the God Almighty when Prophet Moses (may peace be upon him) raised his staff and prayed to God for  creation of a safe passage in the sea to allow them a safe passage and save them from the following armies of the Pharaoh.  

Instead of allowing private cars, special buses equipped with electric motors so as not to contaminate the sparkling whiteness of the snow corridor walls, are only allowed through the snow corridor.

Watch the video below and see with how much precision and artfully operating giant machines, the corridor is created every year:

Amazing, isn't it!! If you are planning to visit Japan, do plan it between April and June so that you can plan on vising the snow corridor and feel that eerie feeling which the followers of Prophet Moses may have felt when passing through the sea corridor in our distant history.

Photographs Source: Funzug
Related: Japan Guide
Video Courtesy: Youtube