Kurobe Dam

Posted on Saturday, May 08, 2010 | 0 comments

   Stop #2 on our Nagano trip: Kurobe Dam. Ok, so Kurobe Dam is actually in Toyama Prefecture...but it was close enough to Matsumoto, where we were staying, that we decided to visit it the afternoon of our first day there. Kurobe Dam is Japan's largest dam, and I'm not sure if more money is made from the electricity it generates or from the hordes of tourists who visit it daily. Tickets for the trolley-bus from the parking lot to the dam will run you about 30 USD per person round trip, and buses run every 15-20 minutes. The buses are the only method of reaching the dam, so they are usually jam-packed, even on an off-season day like the one we visited on.
 Now, maybe some of you are thinking: 'A dam?? Who would pay good money just to go stand at the top of a dam!?' All I can say is, it's worth it for the view from the top alone, plus the bus ride up the mountain, entirely through numerous long tunnels, is pretty impressive in and of itself. Here in Japan, the thinking seems to be: why build a road up a mountain when you can simply tunnel through it?? 
  I'd been to Kurobe Dam once before, in June of 2002 (thanks again, Otousan!) but Yuki had never visited it. Seeing as we had no idea when we'd be getting back up that way again, we opted to squeeze it in. Luckily we had gloves and earmuffs in the car, since it was lightly snowing at the top, brr!
                                The top

         The view: admittedly prettier in summer, but still impressive on an overcast day

            One of the numerous tunnels; this one led from the bus stop out to the dam

  Overlooking the dam from the observation deck

            Snow Monkeys!! Japanese macaques hanging out on the road up to the dam