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
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