Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Unazuki Onsen: The Best Hot Spring Town at Kurobe Gorge

Unazuki Onsen (宇奈月温泉) in Kurobe City is a popular hot spring resort where you can enjoy the natural scenery of Kurobe Gorge. The hot spring town is the best place to base yourself in to take in what the picturesque gorge has to offer. Once you get there, it won’t be hard to understand why Kurobe Gorge was chosen as one of Japan’s Top Three Gorges. It is a great destination for a day trip or an overnight stay!

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Tip: Get an Unazuki Kurobe Tabearuki Coupon (宇奈月・くろべ食べ歩きクーポン) from Unazuki Onsen Information Center (宇奈月温泉観光案内所) for 600 yen. With the coupon, you can get a package of snacks/desserts from three participating facilities out of the popular shops/cafes in Unazuki Onsen and Kurobe City. The coupon will also give you a 200 yen discount on Selene Art Museum’s admission fee. At Kurobe City Museum, there is a 100 yen discount.

Note that in 2024, the Kurobe Unazuki Canyon Route (黒部宇奈月キャニオンルート) will connect the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route with Unazuki Onsen. We will update this article once this route is open.

Exploring Unazuki Onsen With a Tour

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

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

How to Get to Unazuki Onsen

To get to Unazuki Onsen from other parts of Japan, take the bullet train to JR Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Station (黒部宇奈月温泉駅).

From there, change for Toyama Chihō Railway (富山地方鉄道) and get off at Unazuki Onsen Station (宇奈月温泉駅). A hot spring fountain will be there to welcome you once you exit out of the station!

© Kurobe Unazuki-onsen Tourist Board

Tip: On weekends and public holidays from late April to late November, you can take the free low speed electric bus EMU (低速電気バスEMU) from Unajio (うなジオ) close to the train station to various attractions in the hot spring town. Although in Japanese, refer to HERE for the service’s operating schedule.

Unazuki Onsen’s Profile

Unazuki Onsen is a hot spring town at Kurobe Gorge‘s entrance in Toyama Prefecture‘s Kurobe City. Unlike the onsen in other hot spring towns like Kusatsu Onsen, Unazuki Onsen’s hot spring is one of the most transparent onsen in Japan. The weak alkaline spring is known as the Onsen for Beautiful Skin (美肌の湯). In addition to its benefits to the skin, it is also good for muscle pain and rheumatism.

The history of Unazuki Onsen dates back to the early 20th century when the Kurobe River power source development began. Originally surrounded by primeval forests, the unexplored area was developed into a major hot spring resort after the infrastructure of drawing hot springs from Kuronagi Onsen (黒薙温泉) at Kurobe River upstream was completed in 1923. Toyama Chihō Railway also extended its network to Unazuki in the same year. The hot water pipe transporting Kuronagi Onsen’s 90-degree spring to Unazuki is as long as 7 km. So by the time it reaches Unazuki, the water temperature is just around 55 degrees, saving the town’s effort to cool down the onsen.

If you are wondering why Kuronagi Onsen can share the hot spring with Unazuki Onsen, it is because the onsen flowing out of the hot spring source is as much as 3,000 litters per day!

Unazuki Onsen’s Four Seasons

  • April to the beginning of May: Residual snow and fresh green colors
  • May to mid-June: Snowfield that remains frozen or frosty even in summer
  • Late June to mid-July: Fantastic misty scenery that can only be seen during the rainy season
  • Late July to August: Summer resort to escape the heat
  • Mid-October to mid-November: Autumn foliage
© Kurobe Unazuki-onsen Tourist Board

The Must-Visit Confectionery Shops in Unazuki Onsen

Eating Japanese sweets is a must to fully appreciate a Japanese hot spring town, and Unazuki Onsen has a couple of nice traditional sweets makers that we recommend! Each of them has a few signatory sweets that are worthwhile to try.

For more information, refer to our article on The Must-Visit Confectionery Shops in Unazuki Onsen!

© Kurobe Unazuki-onsen Tourist Board

Hot Spring Fountain (温泉噴水)

© Kurobe Unazuki-onsen Tourist Board

The first attraction of Unazuki Onsen is a fountain at Unazuki Onsen Station’s exit. Although you might think, what is a big deal about a water fountain? This one isn’t your everyday fountain back home.

The water jets from the fountain are a 60-degree hot spring sourced from Kuronagi Onsen. So, from autumn to early spring, steam rises from this hot spring fountain!

The hot spring fountain was built in 1973 to commemorate the hot spring town’s 50th anniversary. Because the fountain is right outside of the station, it is a popular spot for a commemorative photo with the station building in the background. Since most tourists take photos of or with it, the hot spring fountain is practically Unazuki Onsen’s landmark.

While the fountain isn’t illuminated at night, the water show is on 24/7 – so visit it any time you want!

Kuronagi Foot Spa (宇奈月温泉 駅の足湯くろなぎ)


Between Toyama Chihō Railway’s Unazuki Onsen Station and Kurobe Gorge Railway’s Unazuki Station, there is a small hut. The free foot spa is called Kuronagi, taken from the onsen town where the hot spring is sourced.

With a temperature of about 40 degrees, this will be a perfect place to warm you up during the chillier days. The best thing about this foot spa is that you can soak your feet in the hot spring while watching the trolley trains pass by closely.

While we said in between, Kuronagi Foot Spa is actually located at the end of Unazuki Onsen Station’s platform. But don’t worry, you can utilize it without paying the train fare. There is an entrance at the side of the road. Because there is a table at the center, you can even enjoy a bento box or a rice ball there!

In addition to the foot spa, there is also a hand spa close to Kuronagi!

Tip: Remember to bring a towel to dry your feet!

Kuronagi Foot Spa’s Opening Hours

  • Kuronagi Foot Spa is open from:
    • 8 am to 6 pm from April to November
    • 8 am to 4 pm from December to March

Kurobe Gorge Railway (黒部峡谷鉄道トロッコ電車)


Kurobe Gorge Railway is Unazuki Onsen’s landmark. Natural attractions are scattered along the railway’s four stations, making it Toyama Prefecture‘s top attraction. The trolley train that weaves through the gorge has a total length of 20.1km!

Once you are on the trolley train that runs through the scenic gorge, you will pass through 41 tunnels and 22 bridges. No matter where you are, you will be amazed by the natural scenery in front of you. This unexplored region, which can only be accessed by a trolley train, is impressive.

For more information, refer to our Kurobe Gorge Railway Guide!

Important: Kurobe Gorge Railway operates from mid-April to November.

Kurobe Gorge (黒部峡谷)

Kurobe Gorge is one of Japan’s Three Top Gorges. At the same time, it is also one of Japan’s Top 100 Hidden Scenic Spots. The V-shaped gorge is located from the middle to the upper stream of the Kurobe River and can be explored by taking the Kurobe Gorge Railway. The scenery throughout the gorge is so amazing that it was designated one of Japan’s Places of Scenery Beauty.

For more information about how to explore this hidden gem, refer to our Kurobe Gorge article!

Kurobe River 黒部川

Yamabiko Observatory (やまびこ展望台)

© 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.

The original Yamabiko Bridge, where the trolley train used to run, can also be seen from the observatory. If you enjoy trekking, follow the Yamabiko Promenade and cross the Old Yamabiko Bridge (Kyū-Yamabiko Bridge) to explore other nearby areas!

Yamabiko Promenade (やまびこ遊歩道)

For those eager to explore the stunning Kurobe Gorge on foot, trek the Yamabiko Promenade. The 1.1km promenade allows you to walk along railway bridges, tunnels, and old railway tracks. You might even see a couple of wild monkeys there!

© Kurobe Unazuki-onsen Tourist Board

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

Ⓒ Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Tourist Board

Kurobe Hydropower Museum (黒部川電気記念館)

Before boarding Kurobe Railway’s trolley train, a perfect spot to visit is Kurobe Hydropower Museum. It is where you can get a good understanding of the history of the railway. Traveling on the train that could potentially run off a cliff was so dangerous that it used to have “We can’t guarantee your safety (安全を保証しません)” printed on the ticket!

For more information, refer to our article on Kurobe Hydropower Museum.


Unazuki Onsen Information Center (宇奈月温泉 観光案内所)

© Kurobe Unazuki-onsen Tourist Board

Passing the hot spring fountain at the station, the Unazuki Onsen Information Center should be your first stop for the town’s map and pamphlets. The staff there speaks English, so if you have anything you are unsure about, they can assist you.

Unazuki Onsen Information Center is located on the ground floor of a stylish 4-story building. It is also one of the couple of spots in Kurobe City where you can purchase the Unazuki Kurobe Tabearuki Coupon.

Unazuki Onsen Information Center’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • Unazuki Onsen Information Center is open from 9 am to 7 pm.
  • It is a 1-minute walk from Toyama Chihō Railway’s Unazuki Onsen Station (宇奈月温泉駅).

Yumedokoro Unazuki (湯めどころ宇奈月総湯)

On the 2nd and 3rd floor of the same building as Unazuki Onsen Information Center, Yumedokoro Unazuki is a public bathhouse closest to Unazuki Onsen Station. The bathhouse, which opened in 2016, is one of the newest hot spring facilities in the hot spring town. It is the most convenient spot to enjoy the hot spring if you don’t plan on spending a night at Unazuki Onsen. Besides the hot spring pools, Yumedokoro Unazuki also has free foot baths at each entrance and a hot spring drinking fountain!

© Kurobe Unazuki-onsen Tourist Board

For more information, refer to our Yumedokoro Unazuki article!

Café Mozart (カフェモーツァルト)

You must have heard of Mozart, the most popular composer of the classical period. The interior of Café Mozart in Unazuki was inspired by Mozart’s birthplace. Of course, the music played in the café was all composed by this genius. While it is of Western style, the traditional vibe nicely fits into the town’s ambiance. With the amount of Mozart and European-related items in the café, you can clearly tell how passionate the owner is about Mozart and his hometown. Because the owner previously lived in Europe, he can communicate with you in English. English menu is also available.

Your dining experience at Café Mozart will be delightful. Stepping into the café is like stepping into the one in Salzburg. The coffee is excellently made and served in beautiful china.

If you eat eggs, the Mont Blanc there is phenomenal! Their no-bake cheesecake (特製レアチーズケーキ) is another top-rated cake of the café. It is rich without being too sweet and has the right amount of sourness. The texture is also smooth and exquisite!

☛ Café Mozart is a popular café in Unazuki Onsen. It is usually packed from around lunchtime to around 3 pm.
☛ If you are also a Mozart fan, visit Unazuki Onsen during the annual Unazuki Mozart Music Festival (宇奈月モーツァルト音楽祭). In 2023, it was held on the 16th and 17th of September.

The Success Chair at Cafe Mozart

At Café Mozart, there is a “Success Chair (出世椅子)”. It is said that if you sit on this chair, there is hope for some sort of career advancement in the near future! According to the cafe’s owner, a couple of customers who sat on the chair later became famous!

Cafe Mozart’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Café Mozart is open from 8:30 am to 6 pm.
  • It is a 1-minute walk from Unazuki Onsen Station.

Selene Art Museum (セレネ美術館)

On a rainy day or if you have some time to kill, Selene in Kurobe City Unazuki International Hall is a nice spot to stop by for the paintings with Kurobe Gorge as the main theme. The paintings at the museums are derived from seven famous Japanese contemporary artists. From their paintings, you might discover the gorge’s beauty that you weren’t made aware of. When you explore the scenic gorge, you can look for the exact scenery in their artwork, or you may find something even more picturesque!

When the museum first opened in 1993, there were no artworks related to Kurobe Gorge. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the artists, the museum now has more than 27 paintings for rotation in its permanent exhibition. To make the place the perfect spot to adore those paintings, the background music played was inspired by the gorge.

Amongst the many paintings, the most eye-catching one is a painting named Kurobe River. The 9-meter-long painting is the work of Toide Yoshinobu (戸出喜信), a Western-style painter from Unazuki. From developing the painting’s concept to its completion, it took him three years! Because so much effort was put into creating this masterpiece, from the realistic depiction, you can almost hear the roaring river!

If you need to take a break, enjoy a cup of coffee brewed using Kurobe’s mountain stream at the museum’s observation gallery cafe on the 4th floor.

Selene Art Museum’s Opening Hours, Admission Fee, and Access Information

  • Selene is open from 9 am to 5:30 pm.
    • From November to March, it closes on Tuesdays and from the 29th to the 31st of December.
  • The admission fee is:
    • 620 for adults
    • 510 for senior high school and university students
  • Selene Art Museum is a 5-minute walk away.

Unazuki Onsen Snow Park (宇奈月スノーパーク)

In winter, the Unazuki Onsen Snow Park at the back of Selene is where you can enjoy snow. While it only has three courses (one beginner, one intermediate, and one forest slope), it is conveniently located at the back of Unazuki Onsen Station. So instead of the Kurobe Gorge trolley train, enjoy some snow activities if you visit Unazuki Onsen in winter!

The snow park has a Kids Zone for younger children too. Ski lessons can also be taken, but the staff might not be able to speak English. Note that the ski course from the upper lift is intermediate, which then connects to the beginner course.

This might surprise you, but Unazuki Onsen Snow Park, opened in 1956, is the first ski resort in Toyama Prefecture. But because bigger snow resorts were opened in the region, Unazuki Onsen Snow Park became a resort only known by the locals. So while there are several lodges, only one of them is open.

The best thing about Unazuki Onsen Snow Park is the lift to the cafe and rental area can be utilized for free. It is where the Kids Zone is located. So even if you are not going there to ski or snowboard, you can still adore the amazing snow scenery of the onsen town from above. Taking the lift to the top of the park, the panoramic view of Toyama Bay, the Sea of Japan, and even the Noto Peninsula close to Kanazawa is just breathtaking!

Unazuki Onsen Snow Park’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • You can refer to Unazuki Snow Park’s website HERE for the lift’s operating hours. As it is in Japanese, translate it to English by Google Chrome’s translation function at the right of the address bar.
  • The station of the first lift is just a 5-minute walk from Unazuki Onsen Station.

Unazuki Water Park (宇奈月谷親水公園)

In summer, a nice spot to visit is Unazuki Water Park at the back of the hot spring town, next to Unazuki Onsen Snow Park. Following the 900-meter promenade along a river, you will eventually reach a check dam. While the river is quite artificial looking, the waterfalls created by several tiered structures built along the waterway are refreshing.

The biggest waterfall at Unazuki Water Park was named Fudō Falls (不動の滝), created by the water falling from the check dam. The middle of the suspension bridge in front of Fudō Falls is the coolest spot in summer, with water splashing from the waterfall!

Unazuki Yamanoha (黒部・宇奈月温泉 やまのは)

Yamanoha is the best hotel in Unazuki Onsen. Not only does it have a private hot spring tub that you can rent, but the hotel offers the best scenery from its guestrooms, onsen pools, and lounge. In addition, its buffet-style dinner and breakfast have a couple of vegetarian options!

For more information, refer to our article on Hotel Yamanoha!

Ⓒ Hotel Yamanoha

Warabiya (わらびや)

If you don’t mind the non-vegetarian broth, a restaurant where you can enjoy soba noodles in Unazuki Onsen is Warabiya. It has a homey and relaxing atmosphere. The staff there are friendly, and you will feel like you are at a friend’s house.

The soba noodles there are handmade using flour ground from a stone mill, and only the amount of flour needed for the day is freshly ground. The noodle’s firm texture and rich flavor are what attract repeat customers.

While there is a language barrier, you should be fine using one of the Translation Apps. Warabiya is big on taste and is accommodating – they can replace meat and fish with vegetables, tofu, or mushrooms!

Warabiya’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Warabiya is open from 11:30 am to 1:45 pm.
  • The restaurant is around a 5-minute walk from Unazuki Onsen Station.

Unazuki Onsen Foot Bath Omokage (宇奈月温泉 足湯「おもかげ」)

© Kurobe Unazuki-onsen Tourist Board

If the free foot spa in front of Unazuki Station is packed, there is another one on the other end of the hot spring town in Unazuki Park (宇奈月公園内).

Omokage is Unazuki Onsen’s second free foot spa, completed in 2003 to commemorate the hot spring town’s 80th anniversary. As it is at the side of the town center, utilize it when the exploration has worn you out!

Unlike the foot spa close to the station, the Foot Bath Omokage allows you to enjoy the view of the surrounding beautiful mountains and the onsen at the same time. The breeze from the gorge also makes the whole experience refreshing.

The water temperature is around 40 degrees, which is great if you visit Unazuki Onsen on a cold day. The stones used to pave the shallow bath were taken from the riverbed of the Kurobe River.

Unazuki Onsen Foot Bath Omokage’s Operating Hours and Access Information

  • Unazuki Onsen Foot Bath Omokage can be utilized from 6 am to 10 pm.
  • The foot bath is around a 5-minute walk from Unazuki Onsen Station.

Oyukake Yakushi (お湯掛け薬師)


 Close to the foot bath, there is an Oyukake Yakushi statue under a small hut in front of a building. The Healing Buddha has looked after Unazuki Onsen since the hot spring town was formally established. So how about pouring the spring over the Healing Buddha and making a wish before leaving the park?

While it doesn’t look like one, the building behind the Healing Buddha is a temple. It is said that by pouring the hot water flowing underneath the statue on the Buddha’s body part, that part of your body will become healthy again.

To perform this ritual properly, scoop the hot spring water with the ladle available and pour it over the Buddha. Then, use the second scoop to rinse your mouth. Pray and you will be protected from any illness.

The stone monument, with “供養塔” written, is to pray for the workers that died during the construction works at Kurobe Gorge.

Omokage Observatory (想影展望台)

© Kurobe Unazuki-onsen Tourist Board

Omokage Observatory, completed in 1993, is at the edge of Unazuki Onsen Town. It is a spot you would want to visit if you are interested in contemporary design. It juts out from the cliffs by the Kurobe River.

The observatory was designed by a Spanish architect, Enric Miralles. The huge decoration was designed with the image of a bird flying into the sky. But to us who don’t have an artistic spirit, it looks more like a twisted metal ladder (´▽`*).

  • Omokage Observatory is a 10-minute walk from Unazuki Onsen Station.

Kisen (お酒のお宿 喜泉)

Whether you are a vegetarian or not, Kisen is a ryokan where deliciously made dishes are served. It also boasts a large number of locally brewed sake available at the restaurant! The great news is that if you are strict with your vegetarian diet, Kisen can accommodate it! While extra charges are required to replace the non-vegetarian menu, all dishes served can exclude fish and meat.

While Kisen has an outdated appearance, the interior is nicely decorated. The services and hospitality you can expect there are also top-class. Moreover, the guestrooms face the Kurobe River, allowing you to adore the fabulous scenery.

Regarding the hot spring pools, the view from the indoor pool is superb. If the weather is good, the open-air onsen pool offers the best bathing experience.

Tip: Check with the staff on how to sign up for the Morning Experience Tour (朝の自然体感ツアー). It is held by the owner!

  • You can utilize the hot spring facility at Kisen as a day-visitor from 1 pm to 4 pm.
    • The cost is 800 yen for adults and 400 yen for preschool children.
  • Kisen is a 10-minute walk from Unazuki Onsen Station.

Tip: Pick-up and drop-off services to Unazuki Onsen Station is available. Either let the ryokan know what time you expect to arrive beforehand or give them a call when you get to the station.

Other Hotels and Ryokans in Unazuki Onsen

Note that the below cannot exclude fish from their meals as fish broth is the main ingredient for their cooking.

The Hotels/Ryokans that Accommodate Day Visitors

  • Hotel Kurobe (ホテル黒部): An old-fashioned ryokan to enjoy the tatami mats-covered guestrooms and hospitality.
    • Pro:
      • The closest accommodation to Kurobe Gorge. You can see the trolley train from the outdoor onsen pool and from all guestrooms.
      • Pick-up and drop-off services are available from Unazuki Onsen Station.
      • There is a good range of amenities at the public bath.
    • Con:
      • While the ryokan is well-maintained, there are visible signs of aging.
      • The open-air onsen pool is small.

The Hotels/Ryokans that Don’t Accommodate Day Visitors

  • Enraku (宇奈月温泉 延楽): A ryokan that has guestrooms with outdoor onsen tub attached.
    • Pro:
      • All guestrooms face the Kurobe River.
      • There is an outdoor hot spring pool made from 400-year-old Japanese cypress.
      • There is also a gallery with paintings, samurai swords and other samurai-related items on display.
      • The service and hospitality are top-notch.
      • Pick-up and drop-off services are available from Unazuki Onsen Station.
    • Con:
      • While the ryokan is well-maintained, there are visible signs of aging.
      • Depending on the guestrooms, the cigarette’s smell can be strong.
  • Entaijiso (宇奈月温泉 延対寺荘): A reasonably priced ryokan.
    • Pick-up and drop-off services are available from Unazuki Onsen Station.
    • The guestrooms either have a river view or the onsen town view.
    • There is a private onsen tub that you can reserve.
  • Hotel Tōgen (黒部・宇奈月温泉 桃源): A ryokan with multiple private onsen tubs for its guests to utilize.
    • The hotel has a variety of onsen tubs, making the bathing experience a lot more interesting.
    • The services and hospitality are top-notch.

Explore Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

Click the photo for more information about the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route!

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is a scenic route that goes through the Japanese North Alps, connecting to both Toyama prefecture and Nagano prefecture. This spectacular route is known for its magnificent 20-meter snow corridor, which can only be experienced in limited spots worldwide. 

But early spring isn’t the only season that the route is worth a visit. Refer to our article on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route for more information!

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