JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.87

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Kurobe Dam

Kurobe Dam

There are a large number of hydroelectric power plants in Japan, as the country is rich in water resources, where streams of water flowing through the mountains are cleverly utilized. Most of these hydroelectric power plants make use of the natural topography, while many are located in mountainous areas.

Dam power generation (water reservoirs) is a form of hydroelectric power generation which utilizes water kept inside a dam collected from river flows to generate electric power. One of the most notable dams is Kurobe Dam (located in Tateyama, Toyama Prefecture), which is surrounded by the magnificent Tateyama mountain range at an elevation of 3,000 meters. The dam is the tallest in all of Japan at 186 meters, and generates 1 billion kWh of electricity per year.

Kurobe Dam is one of the highlights for travelers visiting the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, which traverses the prefectures of Toyama and Nagano, and is recognized as a popular tourist destination in Japan. Trolley bus, ropeway, and cable cars along the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route are some of the modes of transportation that directly connect Toyama with Nagano. Held every April through June, the Yuki-no-Otani (Snow Wall) allows tourists to enjoy walking alongside walls of snow carved along the road. Also, the travelers can see many different flowers blossoming, including Japanese alpine cherry, surrounding the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. The area is closed during the winter months due to heavy snowfall, and as such, the tour season is typically between April and November.

Toyama Prefecture is home to JGSDF Camp Toyama. Located in the northern part of Toyama, the main unit stationed here is the 382nd Engineering Company, trained as the only JGSDF camp in Toyama Prefecture. The Company is also involved in external cooperation and civil support in case of disasters including wind, flood, and snow. In nearby Nagano Prefecture, the 13th Infantry Regiment is stationed at JGSDF Camp Matsumoto, where personnel train day and night as local unit.

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