Autumn in the Mountains

If you saw my “Hello, Autumn” post, you might recognise this place as one of my top picks for autumn this year. I’m happy to say I have checked the Torokko Train off the list. I got to experience the amazing Unazuki Onsen and Kurobe Valley in Toyama prefecture a couple of weekends ago!

It’s always hard to predict when the best time to visit a koyo (autumn leaves) spot will be. The forecasters usually say something like mid-October to late-November, in the hopes that the peak happens sometime in that time frame. For our trip, we got extremely lucky! The leaves were more or less at their peak. These photos don’t do it justice at all! The mountains were covered in splashes of vibrant yellows, oranges, reds and greens. And together with the emerald-coloured river, there were stunning views in every direction. On top of that, the forecasted rain miraculously mostly held off, leaving us with a beautiful light fog throughout the valley.

The Torokko Train left from Unazuki Onsen station, and travelled for over an hour through the valley following the Kurobe River to the final stop, Keyakidaira. At the end, we got off and checked out some walking trails. I was in heaven! If it wasn’t for my friends prodding me to keep going, I may have stayed there forever! When we eventually got back to Unazuki at the end of the day, we relaxed in the Unazuki Onsen rotemburo (outdoor hot springs), from which we could look out and see the train snake around the mountainside on the other side of the river! I think it will go down as one of the most memorable trips I’ve had in Japan!