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 breath-taking 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. At each of the four stations, hop off the train for exploration and photos!
Below is a detailed guide on the train line, from reservation to what to do at each of the stations.
2 Types of Carriage for You to Choose from
- Regular/open type carriage
- Relax carriage: regular carriage fare + 530 yen
- Regular/open type carriage: if it isn’t rainy, then we would probably just settle with this as there are no windows/barriers between you and the fresh air in the scenic gorge
- 1st class carriage: with windows installed like the 2nd class carriage, the SEAT FACING CAN BE ADJUSTED to suit the direction of travel which is a great plus!
→The price is the regular carriage fare + 530 yen
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, it will be a great idea to book your seats HERE in advance as they limit the number of people that can board the train to ensure everyone has a seat. When you get there, 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 till 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
☛ If you do get off before the destination shown on your ticket, the original ticket you’ve 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-Jun and from late Sep, 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 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 site 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 – 2nd Floor Of Unazuki Onsen Sightseeing Railway Station
Discover the history of the rail line and the Unazuki Onsen Town while getting some rest!
Unazuki Station – Ashiyu (Foot Spa)
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.
Unazuki Station – Kurobeshi Unazuki Kokusai Kaikan Serene 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.
Check out HERE to see what’s on!
Unazuki Station – 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.
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.
Unazuki Station (宇奈月駅) – Yamabiko Observatory (やまびこ展望台)
Just a 10-minute walk from Unazuki Onsen Station, there is a lookout that gives you the best view of the famous Shin-Yamabiko Bridge Bridge with the Kurobe River flowing underneath. You can see the Unazuki Onsen town from the lookout too!
This lookout is open from early April to mid-December each year.
Unazuki Station – 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!
Kanetsuri Station (鐘釣駅) – Sightseeing Train “Switching Back”
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!
Keyakidaira Station – 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 that you take to overcome your fear!
Keyakidaira Station – Sarutobi Canyon (猿飛峡)
When you come to Kurobe Gorge, Sarutobi Canyon is the spot that you just can’t miss out on because It is the spot that represents the Kurobe Gorge!
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!
Keyakidaira Station – Construction Elevator to the Panorama Viewing Deck
At Keyakidaira Station, there is a secret panorama viewing deck that isn’t normally open to the public.
By booking in advance with a special tour, you will be able to 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
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)!