Translated by Lester Somera
Ride The Torokko Train Over Toyama's Beautiful Kurobe Gorge
Written by Keisuke Yamada
A great way to witness the natural splendor of Toyama's Kurobe Gorge is by riding the Torokko Train. Let's explore the Torokko route and the scenery along the way.
Facing out onto the Sea of Japan, Toyama Prefecture is famous for being a place where you can catch delicious seafood. The prefecture also has charming natural scenery, and the sight of the Tateyama Mountain Range is something you will never forget. Toyama Prefecture is home to Kurobe Gorge, a great and deep valley.
If you ride the Torokko train, which travels leisurely above Kurobe Gorge, you’ll definitely be able to enjoy the lovely and awe-inspiring view. This article will look at the scenery from inside the Torokko train and the interesting sightseeing spots at the arrival point.
Kurobe Gorge Station
First, let’s head towards Unazuki Station, the departure station for the Kurobe Gorge Railway. You can go there directly by car; alternately, change over from the Hokuriku Shinkansen or a Toyama local train.
If you want to get to the last stop, buy a ticket here for Keyakidaira Station. A regular one-way ticket is 1710 yen (860 yen for children).
There is a group entrance as well as a regular entrance, so be careful to go through the right one.
If You Have Time Before The Train Leaves...
If you have time before departure, walk five minutes to the bridge. From this bridge, you can see the Torokko train crossing a red bridge in the distance.
The floor at the central portion of this bridge is an iron latticework, and you can see all the way down to the river. If you have a little time, we recommend walking to the bridge and taking some memorial photos.
Hop On The Torokko Train And Set Off
The Torokko train has cars with and without glass windows. Passengers who want to take photos from the train, as well as passengers riding during the warmer months, should ride in the cars without windows.
The first photo spot is the aforementioned red bridge. From atop the bridge, try getting a shot of the magnificent scenery sandwiched between the mountains.
Continue a bit further and Unazuki Lake will come into view. People visiting for the first time will be astonished at the emerald green sheen of the lake, which looks almost artificial. Take a long look at its beautiful colors.
Continue further on, and you will be able to see the dam in the photo.
Enjoy The Bends In The Track
Passengers riding in the rear half of the Torokko train can see the lead car when the track bends. If you can get the brilliant green landscape and orange train body into one shot, you can take a gorgeous photo.
Be careful not to stick your head too far out the window, though, or you’ll bump into a lightpole.
As you can see here, there are also gated tunnels, so take a photo when you come across one. Toyama sees plenty of snow in the winter, which is why the tunnels have gates like this.
There Are Plenty Of Other Sights
There are plenty of sights along the way on the Torokko train journey. The first is this hotoke-ishi. A natural boulder that resembles an image of Buddha, the hotoke-ishi is covered by red clothing and a cap. It is said that mountain travelers used to stop here to pray for safe passage.
This is the power plant near Nekomata Station, a station along the way. It’s very conspicuous as a man-made structure suddenly appearing in the midst of the deep mountains.
Keyakidaira, The Last Stop
After about an hour, the train will arrive at the last stop, Keyakidaira Station. The area is gorgeous in the fall, when the foliage is out, but there are places to enjoy even when it isn’t foliage season.
This is Hitokui-Iwa, which means “the man-eating crag.” A rock wall with intense presence, Hitokui-Iwa got its name from its resemblance to a giant, gaping mouth, which looks like it could devour a man whole. It’s just a five-minute walk away from Keyakidaira Station, so by all means, head over and take a look.
You can also go down to the riverside, where there are several places where you can actually take a dip in the river or an onsen. How about visiting Keyakidaira Station and feeling the rumble from the passing Torokko trains as you relax in the water?
Kurobe Gorge Unazuki Station
Address: Toyama, Kurobe City, Kurobe Kyokokuguchi 11
Price range: From Unazuki to Keyakidaira - 1710 yen (adults), 860 yen (children)
Homepage: Kurobe Gorge Torokko Train