Kurobe Gorge (Kurobe Kyōkoku, 黒部峡谷) in Toyama Prefecture is one of Japan’s Top 100 Hidden Scenic Spots and the No.1 V-shaped Gorge in Japan! The gorge located from the middle to the upper stream of the Kurobe River divides the northern part of the Northern Japan Alps into the Ushiro-Tateyama Mountain Range (後立山連峰) and the Tateyama Mountains (立山連峰). With its almost vertical cliffs and virgin forests plus the hot springs in the area, it is one of the most popular places for Japanese seeking relaxation amidst nature.
If the famous Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is also on your itinerary, why not enjoy the two most beautiful hidden places in Japan in one go since they are so close to each other?
Click HERE for Kurobe Gorge’s access information.
The Landmark of Kurobe Gorge:
The main landmark of Kurobe Gorge is the Shin-Yamabiko Bridge (新山彦橋). The red bridge, combined with the surrounding greenery in spring and summer, makes it difficult to resist pressing the camera shutter.
And if the day you visit Kurobe Gorge turns out to be rainy, don’t worry, you are actually in luck! The fog and the rain will add mystery to your experience and transforms your photo into one of those pricy Chinese ink paintings!
In autumn, the bright red bridge surrounded by the vibrant fall color is perfect for photos. To make your visit more memorable, how about staying in the hot spring hotel directly opposite the bridge and taking in this magnificent view for yourself?
The Best Way to Explore the Kurobe Gorge
Make sure to jump onto the Kurobe Gorge Sightseeing Train (黒部峡谷鉄道トロッコ電車) when you visit the Kurobe Gorge area. The 20km railway brings you a breathtaking scenic view of the gorge, known for its length and depth!
The railway was originally created to construct the Kurobe Dam and is now open to tourists after the panoramic views of the gorge and the Kurobe River down.
Around each of the four stations on the train line, hop off the train for exploration and photos!
Important: If you do wish to get off at the stations along the train line, you will need to book your ticket from station to station separately.
To find out more information about the train line, please refer to our article on the Kurobe Gorge Sightseeing Train (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
Tip: During the Golden Week (end of April to 1st week of May), the Obon Festival holiday (mid-August), autumn leaves season (mid-October to mid-November), and of course, the weekends, the area usually has massive crowds, so make sure you book your train ticket online through the official website HERE before you go!
The Secret Panorama Viewing Deck at Keyakidaira
Come and see the secret panorama viewing deck at Keyakidaira Station! It is a spot that not many Japanese know about, even if they have been to Kurobe Gorge (*’▽’).
By booking in advance with a special tour, you will be able to access this special viewing deck that gives you a 360° panoramic view of nearby mountains in the Keyakidaira area!
If you book the tour, when you arrive at Keyakidaira Station, there is a special meeting point. When you get there, don’t head to the ticket gate but to the assembly point opposite the ticket gate. There will be staff waiting there for you who will be holding a board that says “黒部峡谷展望ツアー” (refer to the first photo of the Instagram post on the right-hand side). After you are checked in, you will receive a helmet you need to wear for this tour (since you will be walking through tunnels).
The staff will then guide you to the special train to the vertical shaft elevator.
The train operates at 15-minute intervals, so there is no need to rush. Safety first!
☛ To access the panorama viewing deck, you will have to do some trekking. So choose your footwear carefully!
☛ The tour takes approximately 2 hours in total, so do allow yourself plenty of time at Keyakidaira Station.
To make a reservation for the tour, head to their website HERE and translate it to English using Google Chrome’s translation function at the right of the address bar. But if you require assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us HERE, and we will be more than happy to help you with the booking!
In 2023, the tour is held from Friday to Monday from the 16th of June to the 13th of November. The price is 7,000 yen for adults and 5,000 for year 5 and 6 students (children younger than 10 years old are not allowed to join the tour).
Important: Please note if you can’t understand conversational Japanese, you will need to hire a translator to accompany you to participate in the tour.
When to Visit Kurobe Gorge?
It is probably best to visit Kurobe Gorge during the Sightseeing Train – Kurobe Kyokoku Torroko’s operation period (so you get the most out of the trip!).
The Sightseeing Train starts operation from late April till mid-November each year.
Note that from late April till early May, not all stations on the line are opened yet. Please refer to the breakdown timetable HERE to plan.
Kurobe Gorge throughout the Year
- April to early May: you will be surrounded by the spring greenery with snow that won’t have melted.
☛ The average temperature is 15℃, so make sure you have enough warm clothing; especially if you intend to travel on the normal train carriage
- Late June to mid-July is the rainy season in this area. Whilst you might be thinking of passing on this travel date, you will be surrounded by scenic views (akin to Chinese ink paint) that could not be experienced on a sunny day!
☛ The average temperature is 23℃ at Unazuki Onsen Station, 22℃ at Kanetsuri Station, and 21℃ at Keyakidaira Station
- Mid-October to mid-November: the time of the year to enjoy the vivid colors of the fall foliage!
☛ In October, the average temperature is 15℃ at Unazuki Onsen Station, 13℃ at Kanetsuri Station, and 12℃ at Keyakidaira Station
☛ In November, the average temperature is 13℃ at Unazuki Onsen Station, 12℃ at Kanetsuri Station, and 10℃ at Keyakidaira Station
Autumn at Kurobe Gorge
- From mid-October, the trees around Keyakidaira Station will start to turn yellow. The colors are most vivid around late October.
- From late October, the trees around Kanetsuri Station will start to turn yellow. The season peaks in early November.
- From early November, the trees around Unagi Onsen Station will start to turn yellow. The colors are the most vivid around mid-November.
How to Get to Kurobe Gorge?
From Toyama City
- Without needing to change trains, take the Main Line of Toyama Chihō Railway (富山地方鉄道) from Dentetsu Toyama Station (電鉄富山), which is just next to JR Toyama Station, and get off at the last station of the route – Unazuki-Onsen Station (宇奈月温泉)
- The cost for this trip is 1,880 yen
- The whole trip should take 90 minutes
- Refer to the line map HERE
☛ As a one-way trip will cost 1,880 yen, it will be worthwhile to get the One-day Hop-on Hop-off Railway and Tram Tickets (鉄道線・市内電車1日フリーきっぷ) that will only cost 2,600 yen. For more information, please refer to Toyama Chiho Railway’s website HERE.
☛ If you have the transportation IC card, ecomyca (えこまいか), you will get a discount on the train fare. The ecomaica is the IC card issued by Toyama Chihō Railway.
From Tokyo/Osaka or Other Cities
- Take the JR train to JR Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Station
- Then change for Toyama Chiho Railway at Shin-Kurobe Station and get off at the last station of the train line – Unazuki Onsen Station.
Refer to the line map HERE
- The cost from Toyama Chihō Railway Shin-Kurobe Station to Unazuki Onsen Station is 640 yen
- The whole trip takes approximately:
☆ 2.75 hours from Tokyo
☆ 3.25 hours from Nagoya
☆ 3.75 hours from Osaka
The sightseeing train – Kurobe Kyokoku Torroko, going into the Kurobe Gorge, is just next to the Toyama Chihō Railway Unazuki Onsen Station.
What if I Have Big Luggage?
There are coin lockers located at
→ Unazuki Station
→ Keyakidaira Station
- The cost per use is 500 yen
- The lockers suit luggage that is smaller than the size of 80cm (H) x 35cm (W) x 45cm.
- If your luggage is too big to fit into the locker, talk to the station staff, they might be able to help.
Accommodation at Kurobe Gorge
Hotel Yamanoha is just a 3-minute walk from Unazuki Onsen Station. Here, you may relax in the onsen whilst enjoying a spectacular view of the Kurobe Gorge, the Kurobe River, and the famous New Yamabiko bridge!
A private bath is also available if you aren’t comfortable with public bathing.
And if bathing is just not your thing, head to the special space that Hotel Yamanoha made for its guests to enjoy the awesome view of Kurobe Gorge, Kurobe River, and the New and Old Yamabiko Bridges while relaxing and chatting with your families and friends.
Click HERE for more information about this great hotel!
Combine Your Visit With Other Nearby Popular Destinations and Save on Transportation
More details about the ticket are in our Chūbu region transportation article HERE (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.