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. Located in Unazuki-machi, Kurobe-shi, Toyama-ken, this stunning gorge offers a unique and unforgettable experience for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.
The Kurobe Gorge Railway is the perfect way to explore this breathtaking natural wonder. The journey begins at Unazuki Onsen Station, a short ride from the Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Station. To reach the starting point, you can take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Station. Then, transfer to the Toyama Chiho Railway from neighboring Shin-Kurobe Station to Unazuki Onsen Station. Alternatively, you can take the JR Thunderbird Limited Express from Kyoto or Osaka to Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Station, changing at Kanazawa. Another option is to reach Unazuki Onsen via the Hokuriku Shinkansen and Toyama Chiho Line from Toyama City.
The Kurobe Gorge Railway offers a leisurely and scenic journey through 20 kilometers of lushly wooded mountain terrain. The train ride itself is an experience to remember, as you traverse towering rail bridges and witness the untouched beauty of the surrounding forests. Railway aficionados will appreciate the unique observation cars and the engineering marvels that make this railway possible.
Throughout the journey, there are several highlights to discover. One of them is the Atobiki prospect, which marks the highest point of elevation along the route. From this vantage point, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the gorge and its surroundings. Another highlight is the Sarutobi Gorge, located near the meeting point of the Kurobe and Babadani rivers. This picturesque spot offers stunning views and is a favorite among photographers and nature enthusiasts.
For those who enjoy hiking, there are plenty of trails and paths to explore along the way. The observation platform at Sarutobikyo Gorge is a popular destination for hikers, offering panoramic views of the gorge and its lush vegetation. The Okukane Pedestrian Bridge is another must-visit spot, where you can take a leisurely stroll and admire the 360-degree panoramas of the ravine and surrounding peaks.
One of the best times to visit Kurobe Gorge is during the autumn season. From October to November, the hillsides come alive with vibrant hues of yellow and red, creating a mesmerizing tapestry of autumn colors. This is truly a sight to behold and a photographer’s dream. However, the gorge is worth visiting any time between April and November when it is open to visitors. In early spring, you can enjoy snowy scenes, while May and June offer lush green foliage.
Along the way, there are also opportunities to relax and rejuvenate in natural hot springs. The open-air hot springs at Kanetsuri are a popular spot, where you can soak in the warm waters and enjoy the surrounding scenery. Unazuki Onsen, the starting point of the railway, is also known for its hot spring baths. After a day of exploring the gorge, there’s nothing better than indulging in a hot spring bath to soothe your tired muscles.
In addition to the natural beauty of Kurobe Gorge, the surrounding area offers other attractions and activities. Unazuki-machi is a colorful resort town with a lively atmosphere. Here, you can find a variety of shops, restaurants, and accommodations to suit every budget. The town also has a beer hall that serves local craft beers, allowing visitors to sample the flavors of the region.
To make the most of your visit to Kurobe Gorge, it’s recommended to plan for a leisurely exploration. Although it is possible to cover most of the gorge in a few hours, taking the time to savor the scenery, go hiking, and enjoy the hot springs is highly recommended. There are also opportunities to taste the local cuisine, including fresh seafood and traditional Japanese dishes.
It’s important to note that the information provided may be subject to change due to COVID-19. Therefore, it’s advisable to check for any updates or restrictions before planning your trip.
In conclusion, Kurobe Gorge is a hidden gem in Toyama-ken, offering a unique and unforgettable experience for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. Whether you choose to take the train or hike through the gorge, you will be rewarded with breathtaking vistas, lush forests, and the opportunity to relax in natural hot springs. From the observation platforms to the stunning bridges and the vibrant autumn colors, Kurobe Gorge is a feast for the senses. Plan your visit and embark on a journey of discovery in this spectacular gorge.
Address And Maps Location:
Unazuki-machi, Kurobe-shi, Toyama-ken