Vegetarian's Japan Guide

The Best Guide to Kurobe Gorge’s Sightseeing Train

When you visit Kurobe Gorge (Kurobe Kyōkoku – 黒部峡谷), one of Japan’s top 100 Hidden Scenic Spots located in the mountains of the Northern Japan Alps, the Kurobe Kyōkoku Sightseeing Train (黒部峡谷鉄道トロッコ電車) is the experience that you don’t want to miss out on. The 20 km 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 to transport construction material. Traveling on the train that ran through the cliff was dangerous that it had “We can’t guarantee your safety (安全を保証しません)” printed on the ticket.

Nowadays, the trolley train is safe to board and now open to tourists who are after the panoramic views of the gorge and the Kurobe River down. At each of the four stations, hop off the train for exploration and photos!

Ⓒ photo-ac.com

Click HERE for Kurobe Gorge’s access information.

Table of Contents

Exploring Kurobe Gorge With a Tour

If you prefer a guide to introduce you to the charms of Kurobe Gorge, how about joining one of the below tours?

  • Full Day Tour to Kurobe Gorge and Unazuki Onsen from Kanazawa

2 Types of Carriage for You to Choose from

  1. Regular/open-type carriage
    • If it isn’t rainy, we would settle with this, as there are no windows/barriers between you and the fresh air in the scenic gorge.
    • Remember to bring enough clothes from late September as it can be cold.
  2. Relax carriage: regular carriage fare + 600 yen
    • Windows are installed.
    • The seat’s facing can be adjusted to suit the direction of travel, which is a great plus!
    • While there is no air conditioner installed, heater is turned on in colder months.

Check out HERE for more information on train fares, photos of each kind of carriage as well as a timetable.

Tip: If you plan to go during peak season, booking your seats HERE in advance will be a great idea as they limit the number of people that can board the train to ensure everyone has a seat. When you arrive, exchange your ticket at Unazzuki Station’s service window no. 1 at least 10 minutes before your departure time.

Things to Know about Reserving Your Kurobe Torroko Sightseeing Train Ticket

  • Reservation is available 3 months before untill 3 pm from your travel date. Reservation for April to June is open from the 1st of April.
  • Reservation is only available from Unazuki Station.
  • Modification and cancellation are possible, but fees may apply
  • Click HERE for more information about ticket reservation and cancellation fees.
  • As cancellation or modification to your tickets can’t be done on the internet once you have made the payment, if you do need help with modification/cancellation, you can contact us HERE, and we will try to assist you further.

Important:
☛ If you do get off before the destination shown on your ticket, the original ticket you purchased is forfeited. A new ticket will need to be purchased before you can get on the train again.
☛ Other than Unazuki Station, there is no toilet on the train nor at the stations. Make sure you finish your private business before you start your exploration of Kurobe Gorge.
☛ If you choose the regular carriage, it can be cold in the tunnels on the train line, especially before mid-June and from late September, so make sure you bring enough warm clothing.
☛ There may be no reception during your trip on the train line
.

The Four Stations on the Kurobe Kyōkoku Sightseeing Train Line

There are a total of 4 stations on the sightseeing train line that you can get on/off to explore. The Official English Website provides brief highlights around each station. We have also included a couple of them below. They are listed in the order according to their distance from the closest station.

Unazuki Station (宇奈月駅)

2nd Floor of Unazuki Onsen Sightseeing Railway Station

Discover the history of the rail line and the Unazuki Onsen Town while getting some rest!

Ⓒ Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Tourist Board

Ashiyu (Foot Spa)

Ⓒ Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Tourist Board

Rest at this free foot spa and enjoy some quiet time watching the sightseeing trains passing by. This spot is especially recommended when it is cold!

The foot spa is in between the Toyama Chihō Railway Unazuki Onsen Station and Sightseeing Railway’s Unazuki Station. So you will definitely spot it when you get there.

The hot spring is approximately 40 degrees, good for Neuralgia, muscle pain, arthralgia, gastrointestinal disease, and bruise.

Kurobe Hydropower Museum (黒部川電気記念館)

If you enjoy spending time in galleries/museums, visit the serene museum! It is only a 5-minute walk away from Unazuki Onsen Station. It is where can learn about the mechanisms of hydroelectric power generation in an easy-to-understand manner by examining the water turbine models and watching the short films.

For more information, refer to our Kurobe Hydropower Museum article!

Kurobe-Hydropower-Museum-Unazuki-Onsen-Kurobe-Toyama-Japan
Ⓒ photo-ac.com

Yamabiko Bridge (山彦橋) and Yamabiko Promenade (やまびこ遊歩道)

Following the Yamabiko Promenade from Unazuki Station, you will be at Yamabiko Bridge in 10 minutes. It is where you can get some photos of the Shin Yamabiko Bridge with the sightseeing training from below.

Ⓒ Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Tourist Board

The promenade is built on the old sightseeing train’s track. As soon as you get out of the tunnel, the current sightseeing train will be running past you if the timing is right.

It is probably the spot where you can get the best close-up photo of the sightseeing train with the surrounding scenery as the backdrop.

For more information, refer to our article on Yamabiko Promenade.

Yamabiko Observatory (やまびこ展望台)

Kurobe-Gorge-Unazuki-Station-Yamabiko-Lookout
© Kurobe Unazuki-onsen Tourist Board

From Yamabiko Observatory at the far end of Unazuki Station’s car park, you can also see the trolley train passing the Shin-Yamabiko Bridge (新山彦橋) with the Kurobe River flowing underneath. It is a great photo spot often used for guidebooks and posters.

Especially during the fall foliage season, photographers and other tourists might already be there waiting for the moment when the trolley train comes out of the tunnel. If you are unsure when the next train will appear on the vermilion bridge, refer to the timetable at the observatory.

Statue of Peace (平和の像)

After a 40-minute trek from Unazuki Station, you will find a Kanon Bodhisattva statue placed as the Statue of Peace. From here, you can get a panorama view of the surrounding mountain.

On a sunny day, you can even see the pacific ocean in the distance!

Ⓒ Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Tourist Board

Kanetsuri Station (鐘釣駅)

Sightseeing Train “Switching Back”

Ⓒ photo-ac.com

At Kanetsuri station, due to the limited space available for the station’s construction, the sightseeing train has to move backward before it moves forward again.

The scene is so rare that train maniacs around the country travel to Kurobe Gorge just to see the scene in person!

Keyakidaira Station (欅平駅)

Rooftop Observation Deck

As soon as you arrive at the final stop – Keyakidaira Station, head up to the observation deck at the station’s rooftop!

In spring and summer, the contrast between the greenery and the red Okukane Bridge (奥鐘橋) is just awesome. When the color of the foliage turns red, the natural scenery from there is even more stunning!

Ⓒ Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Tourist Board

Okukane Bridge (奥鐘橋)

Not too far away from Keyakidairai Station, you will see this bright red bridge.

The vermilion bridge, 34 meters above the river, can be quite daunting for those afraid of height. But we assure you that you can hardly fall from the bridge. And the view from this bridge will be worth every effort you take to overcome your fear!

Ⓒ Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Tourist Board

Sarutobi Canyon (猿飛峡)

When you come to Kurobe Gorge, Sarutobi Canyon is the spot you just can’t miss out on because It is the spot that represents the Kurobe Gorge!

Ⓒ Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Tourist Board

Here, you will find the deepest and steepest valley in Japan. Sarutobi Canyon is one of the reasons why Kurobe Gorge is so popular amongst tourists (^_-)-☆.

From Keyakidaira Station to Sarutobi Canyon, it is just an easy 20-minute trek. If you want to head to the Okukaneyama (奥鐘山), it will be a good 2-hour hike!

Construction Elevator to the Panorama Viewing Deck

At Keyakidaira Station, there is a secret panorama viewing deck isn’t normally open to the public.

By booking in advance with a special tour, you can access this special viewing deck that gives you a 360° panorama view of nearby mountains in the Keyakidaira area.

Click HERE for more information about the tour!

Find Out More Information About Kurobe Gorge

New Yamabiko Bridge
Click the photo to find out more information about Kurobe Gorge!

Apart from the sightseeing train and the attractions around the train stations, there is a lot more information that you will want to know to plan your visit.

So refer to our Korobe Gorge article, where we have included tons of useful information and tips to assist your trip planning, including accommodation!

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