|Location:||From coastal motorway ner kurobe use 54 an 14 to the dam. Then use train.|
Train: 29-APR to NOV 8-15.
Train: Adults JPY 1,980, Children JPY 1,320. (one way Unazuki-Keyakidaira)
Second Class: JPY 370. First Class: JPY 530.
|Guided tours:||Train: D=80min.|
Kurobe Gorge, Tel: +81-, Fax: +81-,
Kurobe Kyōkoku Tetsudō, Kurobe Gorge Railway Co., 11 kurobekyoukokuguchi, Kurobe-shi, Toyama-ken. E-mail:
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1926||Unazuki - Nekomata section of the railway opened opened.|
|1937||extended to Keyakidaira and electrified.|
|1953||begin of passenger service.|
|1963||Kurobe dam for the Kansai Electric Power Company completed.|
Kurobe Gorge is a deep V shaped gorge with green slopes, covered by forest. The gorge has numerous hydroeclectric dams, which were built since the 1920s. To provide machinery and material a railroad was built into the gorge. Now that the dams are mostly completed the railway was transformed into a tourist train. To visit the gorge you just need a ticket for the train and you are carried 20km into the gorge. The train ride across more than 20 bridges and through over 40 tunnels takes 80 minutes and offers visitors panoramic views of the gorge below. The tourist train ends at Keyakidaira.
There are numerous sections in the gorge which are quite narrow and have rather demanding parts where you must walk on a narrow ledges, partly across primitive bridges made of a fea bamboo sticks. The trails around the stations are very well maintained and safe. But the main "sights" are always the onzen, the typical Japanese hot spas. There are half a dozen along the gorge, some are open air spas at the river. Other sites are art museums and tourist shops. It seems the average Japanese tourist is not interested in too much geology.
Nevertheless there is a trail along the full length of the gorge and deeper into the gorge from the end of the train. So you have various possibilities, for example use the train to ride to the end and walk back. Or you go to the end and walk into the gorge as far as you dare and then back and take the train back.
There are two very interesting ravine parts of the gorge, on is Sarutobi canyon right below Keyakidaira stations. The other one is Hakuryukyo (White Dragon Canyon), which is part of the 日電歩道 (Nichiden sidewalk). This is the 16.2km long trail wupstream which starts at the Keyakidaira station and ends at the Senninya Dam. Other interesting points are the Hitokui Iwa (People-eating rock) where the single lane road runs through an overhanging cliff on an artificial ledge, only a few meters from Keyakidaira. And there is eternal snow, a patch of snow and ice in a biche which is protected from sunlight. The snow stays normally until autumn, in some years it does not melt completely before the first snow of the next winter.
And there is the 高熱隧道 (High Temperature Tunnel) between Asohara and Sennindani. The railway line does not end at Keyakidaira, there are two lines of industrial railways which are used for transporting material to several dams upstream 黒部専用鉄道 (Kurobe Senyō Railway) has two tracks, 上部軌道 (Jōbu Track) and 黒薙支線 (Kuronagi Branch Line) which are not open to the public. One of the tunnels was actually built through a part of rock which was heated to over 160°C by the volcanic activities below. The temperature was too hot for the use of dynamite, it would have exploded without trigger. The tunnel walls contain a cooling system and so the tunnel has now only 40°C.