Kurobe Gorge 黒部峡谷
Take a train or hike this spectacular gorge
Traveling by a repurposed, vintage railway, you can take in sweeping vistas, hike along forest paths, and enjoy hot spring bathing at Kurobe Gorge.
- 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 Station.
Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Station. Then take the Toyama Chiho Railway from neighboring Shin-Kurobe Station to Unazuki Onsen Station. This sector is not covered by the JR Rail Pass.
You can alternatively take the JR Thunderbird Limited Express from Kyoto or Osaka to Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Station, changing at Kanazawa.
You can also 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 traveling by 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. There is 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, where hikers can enjoy 360-degree panoramas of the ravine and surrounding peaks.
Brilliant throughout the seasons
While the tourist season peaks in autumn, the gorge is worth visiting any time between April and November when it is open to visitors. Enjoy snowy scenes in early spring and the vivid green foliage of May and June. 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.
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.