Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Yamabiko Promenade: Unazuki’s Adventurous Trekking Trail

For those who are eager to explore the stunning Kurobe Gorge on foot, follow the sign at Kurobe Gorge Railway‘s Unazuki Station and walk the Yamabiko Promenade (やまびこ遊歩道). The 1.1km promenade goes past the Kyū-Yamabiko Bridge to Unazuki Dam Observatory, which allows you to walk along railway bridges, tunnels, and old railway tracks. You might even see a couple of wild monkeys!

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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

Trekking on the Yamabiko Promenade

From Unazuki Station, you will be at Yamabiko Bridge in 10 minutes. On the Kyū-Yamabiko Bridge (旧山彦橋), you can get a photo of the Shin-Yamabiko Bridge from another angle.

Tip: Check the trolley train’s timetable before embarking on the journey.

© Kurobe Unazuki-onsen Tourist Board

Soon after crossing the bridge beyond Kyū-Yamabiko Bridge, there is another suspension bridge. While it looks like a bridge for human usage, it is actually for the wild monkeys! The bridge was constructed to prevent disruption in the ecosystem.

The Dark Tunnel on Yamabiko Promenade

After that, you will get to the entrance of a long, dark tunnel. But don’t worry, the lights in the tunnel should be on when you get there. Unless you have severe nyctophobia, walking in the tunnel is the most adventurous part of this trekking course!

Before the Shin-Yamabiko Bridge was completed, the trolley train used to run through this tunnel to carry building materials to Unazuki Dam’s construction site.

Important: Ensure that your phone isn’t running low on battery. You might want to use its flashlight function in case the lights in the tunnel isn’t on.

Ⓒ Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Tourist Board
Ⓒ Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Tourist Board

Close to the pier of Shin-Yamabiko Bridge, there are openings on the tunnel’s wall to allow natural light to brighten up the tunnel. From these openings, you can get a close-up photo of the bridge and even the sightseeing train with the surrounding scenery as a backdrop!


After the tunnel, the Unazuki Dam Observatory (宇奈月ダム展望台) offers a nice view of the dam sandwiched by the gorge’s cliff.

If you have more time, head further to Unazuki Dam. The Unazuki Dam Information Museum is one of the best dam museums in Japan. At the end of the promenade, you will find Unazuki Onsen‘s best public bathhouse, Tochi no Yu!

From Unazuki Dam Observatory to Tochi no Yu, it is around a 30-minute walk.

This promenade is open from mid-April to late November each year.

Unazuki Dam (宇奈月ダム) and Unazaki Dam Information Museum Damukonkan (宇奈月ダム情報資料館 大夢来館)

The 97-meter-tall Unazuki Dam was completed in 2001. In addition to preventing flooding in the surrounding areas, it also plays an important role in supporting the locals’ livelihood. By utilizing the abundant water sources in the mountains of Kurobe, tap water and electricity can be provided at a lower cost.

Many Japanese dams have a small museum attached to them, and the one at Unazuki Dam is one of the best. At Unazuki Dam Information Museum, you can learn about the nature of the Kurobe River and Unazuki Dam’s structure and how it prevents Kurobe River from flooding through exhibits and videos. There is even a window where you can see the dam’s operation room as the staff control the dam’s gate!

If you are interested in understanding the geography of the region, including the famous Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, check out the gigantic 4-meter-long terrain model and visit the mini theater.

With a large topographical model that recreates the entire basin area and mini theater, you can learn more about the nature of Kurobe and the structure of the dam. The dam also supports the local’s daily life, such as power generation.

Unazuki Dam has its dam card, so if you are a collector, remember to get it from the museum.

Just note that the Unazuki Dam Information Museum doesn’t have English notation.

Tip: If you speak Japanese, you can apply to visit Unazuki Dam’s Inspection Road (監査路). It is a road where staff usually inspect the condition of the dam, including the sand removal function. Please call the dam office at +81-765-62-9071 to book your visit.

Unazaki Dam Information Museum Damukonkan’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • Unazaki Dam Information Museum is open from 9 am to 4:30 pm.
    • The museum is closed from the end of December to the beginning of January.
  • The dam is around a 20-minute walk from Unazuki Onsen Station.

Tochi no Yu (とちの湯)

Tochi no Yu is a public bathhouse located at the end of the Yamabuko Footpath. Located on the shores of Lake Unazuki (宇奈月湖), although it isn’t close to a train station, its outdoor onsen pool faces Kurobe River and offers superb mountain scenery. Not only can you see the view of the gorge, but if the time is right, you can also see and hear the trolley train running through Japan’s No. 1 V-shape gorge!

Coin lockers are available next to the reception and in the changing rooms. Your 100 coin will be returned to you after the key is returned. Shampoo, hair conditioner, and soap are provided (free of charge). Please bring any amenities you need, including a bath towel. A face towel can be purchased.

Unlike the hot spring at Yumedokoro Unazuki, which is circulated and chlorine used for disinfection, the onsen at Tochi no Yu flows freely from the spring source.

Note that there is a high chance that you will encounter wild monkeys around Tochi no Yu. There might even be one staring at you as you enter the outdoor onsen pool!

Tochi no Yu’s Business Hours, Admission Fee, and Access Information

  • Tochi no Yu is open from 9:50 am to 5:30 pm.
    • The last admission is at 5 pm.
    • Note that the bathhouse is closed in winter as it becomes inaccessible due to heavy snow.
  • The admission fee is:
    • 510 yen for adults
    • 250 yen for elementary and junior high school students
  • Tochi no Yu is around a 5-minute drive or a 60-minute walk from Unazuki Onsen Station.
    • Note that its car park is 100m away from the facility.

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 Tochi no Yu. Although in Japanese, refer to HERE for the service’s operating schedule.

Explore Unazuki Onsen

Click the photo for more information about the attractions in Unazuki Onsen!

Besides Yamabiko Promenade, Unazuki Onsen has other attractions waiting for you to explore. The town at the entrance of Kurobe Gorge is one of the most picturesque destinations in Toyama Prefecture. In addition to the natural spots, it also has a couple of museums that might interest you.

So refer to our Unazuki Onsen article for more information!

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