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Region
Chubu
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Toyama
Population
1,120,843

Kurobe Gorge

Dubbed one of the “Three Great Gorges of Japan” - and rightfully so.

Boasting rugged near-vertical cliffs framing a lush ravine dotted with tiny hot springs, pierced through by brilliant blue water from the Kurobe River, Japan’s deepest V-shaped gorge is also one of its most scenic.

To fully immerse yourself in this magnificent scenery, take the Kurobe Gorge Railway which services the whole 20.1 kilometers of the gorge. Starting at Unazuki Station you can choose to be seated in an open-car or indoor carriage. The trip lasts about 80 minutes from Unazuki Station to Keyakidaira Station right in the heart of the gorge, passing through 40 tunnels and over 20 bridges.

The railway is open April to November as part of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.

The small train meanders next to the forested ravine parallel to the river, with stops along the way for visitors to explore or bathe in the hot springs. Just before the final stop, the train passes through Sarutobikyo Gorge, a wonderfully photogenic portion designated as a “Special Place of Scenic Beauty and Special Natural Monument”, though the entire ride is definitely worthy of that snappy title.

The Kurobe Gorge Railway was initially created to aid the construction of the Kurobe Dam, but since the completion of the dam, it has been used for sightseeing and is open to the public from April to November each year (the same time as the nearby Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route). The most popular time to go is during fall where the whole mountainside turns a kaleidoscopic mix of subtle orange and vivid red.

At the entrance of the Kurobe Gorge stands the Shin-Yamabiko Bridge. The contrast of the crimson-red metal structure from its surroundings make it a popular photo op that is best captured from the Yamabiko Observation Platform, a short walk from Unazuki Station. Around Unazuki Station there are a number of hot spring facilities and a handful of free ashi-yu – open-air foot baths with water touted to be the clearest in all of Japan.

Things To Know

Tickets for the Kurobe Gorge Railway

¥1710 (one way to Keyakidaira).Tickets can be purchased on the phone/online prior to the day, but once bought, cannot be changed. Some tickets are set aside to be sold on the spot at Unazuki Station.

How To Get There

By train

The best way to enjoy the gorge is by taking the Kurobe Gorge Railway, which starts at Unazuki Station. To get to Unazuki Station, take the Toyama Chiho Railway to Unazuki-Onsen Station and walk 10 minutes to Unazuki Station, or park your car at the Unazuki Station parking (¥900 per day) right opposite the station.

Where To Stay

Green Hotel Kisen
  • Unazukionsen 1387 Kurobe-Shi, Toyama 938-0282
  • 8.3/10
  • 0.1 km
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Enraku
  • Unazuki-Onsen 347-1 938-0382
  • 8.9/10
  • 0.2 km
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Entaijiso
  • Unazukionsen 53 Kurobe-Shi, Toyama 938-0282
  • 8.1/10
  • 0.3 km
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Unazuki Kokusai Hotel
  • Unazukionsen 7‐26 Kurobe-Shi, Toyama 938-0282
  • 7.8/10
  • 0.3 km
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