Kurobe Gorge Day
Kurobe Gorge Day
Today’s plan reads: Kyoto Station for the 08:10 on the Thunderbird 5 (I knew I would eventually be a Thunderbird) to Kanazawa Station arriving at 10:25
Leave Kanazawa at 10:56 on the Hokuriku Bullet Train, three stops to Kurobe.
Walk the short distance to Shin-Kurobe at 11:31, remembering we do things by the one minute when it comes to Japanese railway timetables.
Climb aboard the Unazuki-Alpine Kurobe 23 at 11:48 arriving in Unazukionsen Station at 12:06. Walk another short distance.
Take the Kurobe Gorge Railway to Keyakidaira Station arriving at 14:30.
Return from Keyakidaira at 16:01 returning to Unazuki at 17:16.
Walk across to Unazukionsen Station for the 18:19 arriving at Shin-Kurobe Station
Bimble across to the Kurobe-Unazukionsen Station for the 19:03 bullet arriving at Kanzawa at 19:38.
Back on the Thunderbird but this time the 46 leaving at 19:47 pulling in to Kyoto Station at 22:02 and slowly bimble the sixteen minutes back to our digs.
Why ??? Because every other tourist will be taking in temples and geisha spotting in Kyoto..........
Out in the country we saw more traditional houses and many paddy fields.
Our country chap. At Unazuki (at the bottom of the gorge) we had lunch. You select your choice, put money in the machine, press the meal you want, get your change, take the ticket to the server, he calls your number moments later, we both had delicious beef curry and rice for a fiver. Our gorge train.
The map of our gorge journey. The Kurobe Gorge Train takes tourists to the top but also workers, equipment, spares and construction materials for the new plant. The railway is privately owned by the power company and they have 27 locomotives, 138 passenger carriages and 322 freight wagons.
Bear didn't fancy an open carriage and opted for a closed one with heated seats. Many flat-bed trucks waiting to take building materials to where a new hydro station is being built.
Just two of the many bridges on our journey.
Climbing off the train at the top station (Keyakidaira) we saw the bridge that led up to as far as you can walk, off we went.
We decided to take ‘step cautions’ and ‘self-responsibility’ to cross the bridge.
Standing on the bridge looking down and looking up the river to the first power plant built in the early 1950's, an incredible feat to build the huge dam at the top of Japan's highest hydroelectric plant (171 workers lost their lives). Built to restore power after WWII. There are now ten plants on the Kurobe River. Over the red bridge Bear posed under Hitokui Iwa (meaning people eating crag).
Over the next bridge.
Finally, the view we had come for, looking up the gorge. This 200 metre rock is called Nezumigaeshi no Ganpeki (Mouseblock Rock Wall) it is said that a "even a rat pursued by a cat could not climb it". Looking down the gorge the way we had bimbled.
We walked as far as we could in the time we had, passing steps put in the river bed, to the point the river looked tiny, before setting off back to the upper station once again passing these ‘totems’ marking the spa where day trippers come for a long, hot soak.
Back through the tunnel, the walkway and another look down at the river.
Watching a train reach the end and the engine swopping ends before taking us down the gorge.
During our one-hour trip back down the gorge we passed the little bridge that was built especially for the monkeys to cross from one side to the other.
Plant Number Two.
Dashidaira Dam and to its left ..........each black line is a layer with an ordinary household ladder fixed between........
Shin-Yanagawara Power Plant - this hydro-electric power station was built to resemble an ancient European castle. It stands on the shores of Lake Unazuki. Then we retraced our way back to Kyoto, bimbling by the Tower at exactly 22:10, incredibly, just as planned.
ALL IN ALL A SMASHING DAY OUT TO A GORGEOUS VALLEY
FABULOUS JOURNEY TO A BEAUTIFUL SETTING