Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings


Kurobe Gorge 黒部峡谷

Take a train or hike this specatcular gorge

For high times at a relaxed pace, head to Kurobe Gorge. Traveling by a repurposed, vintage railway, you can take in sweeping vistas, hike along forest paths, and enjoy hot spring bathing.


  • The stark cliffsides surrounding Atobiki Bridge
  • Open-air hot springs and glimpses of snow year round at Kanetsuri
  • Hiking to the observation platform at Sarutobikyo Gorge
  • A leisurely stroll along the Okukane Pedestrian Bridge with great views of the Kurobe River below

How to Get There

Your journey on the Kurobe Gorge Railway begins at Unazuki Onsen Station, a short ride from the Kurobe Unazuki Onsen bullet train station.

Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo--2.5 Hours, 11,50 yen (covered by the JR Rail Pass) to Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Station. Then take the Toyama Chiho Railway from neighboring Shin-Kurobe Station to Unazuki Onsen Sation--25 minutes, 630 yen (not covered by JR Rail Pass).

You can take the JR Thunderbird Limited Express from Kyoto or Osaka to Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Station, changing at Kanazawa--approx. 3 hours, 11,000 yen.

You can get to Unazuki Onsen via the Hokuriku Shinkansen and Toyama Chiho Line from Toyama City.

Take in the sights at a relaxed pace

Charting a course through 20 kilometers of lushly wooded mountain terrain, the Kurobe Gorge Railway combines spectacular vistas and a sense of dynamism unique to rail travel. During the peak period in October, bold swathes of yellow and red turn the hillsides into a giant tapestry of autumn colors. There’s plenty to see and do along the way with hot spring baths, hiking routes, and observation points providing fun diversions.

From the colorful resort town of Unazuki, board the railway en route to Keyakidaira Station at the other end of the line. Photo opportunities abound along the way whether you are on foot or on the train. The gorge itself is a geological wonder and, with the Kurobe River surging below and the mountain peaks towering above, presents majestic panoramas from April to November.

For nature lovers and trainspotters

Railway aficionados will delight at the train’s unique observation cars as well as the towering rail bridges that span the Kurobe Gorge, themselves colorful monuments to human endeavor in a rich natural setting. But there is also a neat balance between the feats of engineering and the still largely untouched forests all around.

Literal "high points"

Highlights of the route include the Atobiki prospect that marks the highest point of elevation and commands great views and Sarutobi Gorge near the meeting point of the Kurobe and Babadani rivers. Near Keyakidaira is the Okukane Pedestrian Bridge, which you can traverse at your leisure while enjoying 360 degree panoramas of the ravine and surrounding peaks.

Brilliant throughout the season

While the tourist season peaks in Autumn, the gorge is worth visiting any time between April and November when it is open to visitors. The still snowy scenes of early spring and the vivid green foliage of May and June both offer splendid variations on the familiar autumn season.

With hiking, sightseeing, and hot springs on offer, you won't run out of things to do. Unazuki has a beer hall serving local craft beers. So take some time out of your busy Japan itinerary to relax and reconnect with nature.

You can cover most of the gorge in a few hours, but you should really plan for a leisurely time taking photos, hiking, stopping for a dip in the hot springs, and tasting the local cuisine and craft beer.