Saturday, September 6, 2014

Brompton to go to Babatani Onsen

It is Babatani Onsen where you can experience an extreme natural bathing excitement in Kurobe Gorge. You need to get off Kurobe Gorge Railway at the last stop "Keyakidaira" and start a ride to the destination.

Hokuriku Shinkansen: Tokyo station → Kurobe Unazuki Onsen station
Kurobe Dentetsu Railway: Kurobe Unaduki Onsen station → Unaduki Onsen station
(5 min. by Brompton)
Kurobe Gorge Railway : Unaduki Onsen station → Keyakidaira station

[Brompton ride]
Route: Keyakidaira Station → Babatani Onsen
Distance: 3.0km
Difference of an elevation: 218m
Average % of inclination: total 5.9% ascent 8.9% descent 6.2%
Gained elevation: ascent 218m descent 28m

You start your ride from Keyakidaira Station, the last stop of Kurobe Gorge Railway . You need to go for a ride with distance of 3 kilo meters and total ascent of 200 meters.

Just after crossing this bridge, you will see dozens of helmets for use.

It is because the path is somewhat dangerous for falling rocks and land slides. You can go foward at your risk.

When you go over about 800 meters, an unpaved road starts. However, the middle of the road is cemented and almost no grade and your ride is not so difficult.

When you pass the third tunnel, a view suddenly comes to open widely and you can see Babatani Onsen Lodge over there.

Crossing an iron bridge, you reach Babatani Onsen.  

First, let's go to fountainheads area in the riverside. It is not a bath tub but a natural fountainhead with very hot water, about 75 degree centigrade of temprature. You will be injured if you dive in!
When you go further, you'll find other fountainheads to make your original bath tubs. Let's build a tub by yourself!

You need to mix hot water and cold river water for ideal temprature of amazing bathing experience.

You can also try the outside bath of Babatani Onsen Lodge. You may be relaxed here because you instantly bathe and don't need to dig ground and mix hot water with river.

The area is quite secluded and nature is wild. You can reach here only with combination of Kurobe Gorge railway and Brompton or walk. The area is closed during winter.

Related article:
Kurobe Gorge Railway

Kurobe Gorge Railway

Let's go to the secret hot spring located in the deepest part of Kurobe Gorge. Today I took a ride on a Kurobe Gorge Railway narrow gage train to reach BABATANI Onsen.

Kurobe Gorge Railway is a narrow gage train which runs along the deepest V-shaped valley in Japan. The original purpose of the rail was to transport materials and equipment for the electric power development project of Kurobe River in the 1920's. The railway facilities were completed in 1923. The rail starts at Unazuki onsen and reaches Kurobe dam site. Only first 20.1km, so called "Lower Track" between Unazuki and Keyakidaira, is open to public for sight seeing. "Upper Track" of 6.5km is for Power Plant and Dam Site use only.

Starting from this terminal.

Extra narrow gage train!

I get on this small coach. If you are a big person, you might not fit into it.

The small train brings us beyond those mountains.

Unazuki Dam and Unazuki Lake.

First station comes by but only workers and employees of Kansai Electric use it. There are a dozen of such stations on the line.

It is a monkey bridge. Because there are groups of monkeys who go to and fro between both sides, the power company built it for them when they made dams and the width of the river was extended.

Arriving Kuronagi, a first passenger station. By walk you can reach one of the secret hot springs, Kuronagi Onsen, from the station. Today I try another one and continue a trip.

Pass Atobiki Bridge to cross Kuronagi River.

A view from Atobiki Bridge. Kuronagi Onsen is located at the end of the gorge.

The train is running this hight all the time. Not good for a person with acrophobia.

The world most thrilling railway.

This is the Kurobe River Second Power Plant, constructed in 1936.

The narrow gage train goes foward deep into the valley. Though it is September, greens are very fresh like those in spring.

The railway is single-tracked. Need to pass each other at some places.

Because of its shape, Temple Bell Mountain .

Arriving Tsurigane (temple bell) Station. You can go to one of the hot springs where you need to dig and make your own bath at the river side. I pass this wild hot spring and go beyond.

Finally arrived at Keyakidaira Station, the terminus for travelers.

My adventure continues to the extremely secluded hot spring in another Canyon, Babatani Onsen.

(To be continued to Babatani Onsen.)