Photo: The New Toyama Unazuki Kurobe Dam Route website

Kurobe Dam to open to public in 2024

By Katie Pask, SoraNews24

Kurobe Dam in Toyama Prefecture is consistently ranked as one of Japan’s best sightseeing spots to check out if you’re on a budget, and it’s not hard to see why. Not only is it surrounded by beautiful mountain views, it’s a pretty impressive sight to behold, with dam fans regularly flocking to see the reservoir release the floodgates, which happen between June and October. It’s also Japan’s tallest dam, standing at 186 meters tall.

Used in tandem with a hydropower plant, the Kurobe Dam helps provide electricity all over the Kansai region and is widely accredited with helping power Japan’s economic boom back in the 1960’s. Construction began on the dam as far back as 1936 and the hydropower plant was built underground to protect the natural beauty of the area.

Up until now, the dam could only be seen from a distance via the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, as access to the Kurobe Dam has been limited to those working for the Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO). Anyone wishing to see the hydropower plant from inside could enter the Kurobe Route Tour lottery, but now, thanks to an arrangement with KEPCO, the Kurobe Route will be opening its doors to the general public in 2024.

▼ Previously, you could only view Kurobe Dam from afar, via the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.


▼ The Kurobe Route is made up of a lot of underground tunnels.


The Kurobe Route connects Keyakidaira Station to Kurobe Dam station, and visitors will travel through a series of tunnels via a construction trolley, shaft elevator, storage battery train, cable car, and a special bus. Some of the transportation has been in use since the 1930s, giving visitors a fascinating insight into the history of the dam.

▼ View the route in full here.

As well as going through the historic tunnels, visitors to the Kurobe Route will also be able to see a panoramic view of Okukane Mountain, which is not visible from any other view point.

▼ Take the shaft elevator 200 meters up.


▼ … to reach this gorgeous view.


Dam fans took to the Internet to express their joy at finally being able to visit one of the best dam spots in Japan whenever they want.

“I went on the Kurobe Route two years ago. I was so happy. Even now, I remember so clearly that the dam was in amazing condition.”

“I’ve been on the Tateyama Alpine Route, but I can’t wait to go inside!”

“I was lucky enough to go on this route, and it’s amazing. I’m happy that it’s opening to the public.”

Currently, the route is named the New Toyama Unazuki Kurobe Dam Route, but the public have been asked to submit suggestions for a catchier (hopefully shorter) name for the route when it opens. Applicants are free to come up with a name by themselves, or choose from two already proposed name ideas — “Unazuki Kurobe Canyon Route” or “Kurobe Unazuki Historical Route”. Applications are open until the end of October and can be submitted through the route’s official website, fax, or postcard.

So when the Kurobe Route finally opens to the public in three years time, be sure to head to Toyama and have a look around for yourself. Its scenic beauty and fascinating history lends itself well to all kinds of outing, including romantic ones.

Source: The New Toyama Unazuki Kurobe Dam Route website via IT Media

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japan travel bucket list: top places to visit in each prefecture before you die【Part I】

-- Google Street View sighting in Yamaguchi Prefecture amuses Japanese Twitter users

-- How to have the best dam date ever

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

This story has some fundamentally incorrect information.

Up until now, the dam could only be seen from a distance via the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, 

Err, the public are already allowed walk across the dam itself, which actually forms part of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. You cannot get to Tateyama from Nagano without walking over the dam. There is also an elevated viewing platform right next to the dam on the Nagano side.

What is new is an extension to the Kurobe gorge railway from Unazuki (much further north) on the Toyama side, which now continues on to reach the dam. It is the little red line on the map. Previously to reach the dam from the Toyama side, you had to use the Alpine Route and go over Tateyama. For folks coming from the Toyama side, the existing route probably has more to see, because it takes you up into the alpine at 2400m (or whatever it is) at Murodo. The Unazuki route is very beautiful at autumn leaves time though.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

My wife would probably yawn but I would really love to see all of this some day. Dams in general fascinate me but the underground tunnels, railroads and the big elevator have a magnetic appeal to the inner gearhead.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I walked across Kurobe Dam like 20 years ago. Got pictures and all. Need more correct data, Ms. Reporter.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An interesting topic - the brief article leaves a major question unanswered, namely, how will this route affect the hiking route along the Kurobe river from the dam to Keyakidaira Station? I hiked the 32 kilometer Shimonorouka trail seven years ago and it was a gorgeous route. It is known as one of the most remote routes in Japan and in several places is a narrow path carved into the cliffside above the Kurobe river. Will the hiking route, only open for about two months in late summer before the first snowfalls in the area, continue to be maintained? This is worth a good article about this route and travel ideas for those who would like to take the trip.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites