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Japan Regional Information

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Toyama

Kurobe Canyon is the deepest ravine in Japan - A great recreation spot for mountaineers, skiers and campers
Situated roughly in the middle of Honshu on the Sea of Japan side, Toyama is embraced by mighty nature, with the Tateyama mountain range on the east and the Japan Sea on the north. A number of rivers that issue from the rugged mountain range run through grand ravines they created carrying an abundance of clear water. Kurobe-gawa River, Jintsu-gawa River and many other rivers flow into the gently arcing Toyama Bay through the expanse of fields open to the bay.

Mt. Tateyama is a time-honored recreation spot for mountaineers, skiers and campers. It is well known for Jigoku-dani Valley always wrapped with the reek of sulfur and bare of vegetation, Mikuriga-ike pond the largest crater lake in the Tateyama mountain range and snowy valleys in which snow remains all the year round. With the 1971 opening of the Tateyama-Kurobe alpine route as a turning point, the number of tourists visiting these areas has rapidly increased. The Kurobe Canyon, which is part of the Chubusangaku National Park, is Japan's deepest ravine walled with steep cliffs as high as hundreds of meters. It contains the Sarutobi-kyo Gorge designated as a special beauty spot in Japan. Upstream of the Kurobe-gawa River sits the Kurobe dam, the highest arch type dam in Japan with an altitude of 186 meters. The discharge of water you view from the observation platform of the dam is so dynamic and overwhelming that you could never get tired of watching it.

Getting there
Toyama Airport is approximately 1 hour and 5 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport. It is about 1 hour and 20 minutes from Tokyo Station to Echigo-Yuzawa Station by JR Jyoetsu Shinkansen Line. About 2 hours from Echigo-Yuzawa Station to Toyama Station by Hokuetsu Express Train on JR Hokuriku Main Line.
 

  • Gokayama
    Unique houses, that use no nails, are registered with the world heritage - The world drama festival is held every summer
    Gokayama is the general term for the three villages, Taira-mura, Kamitaira-mura and Toga-mura, located on the upper Sho-gawa River in the southeastern part of Toyama. Taira-mura and Kamitaira-mura are in the basin along Sho-gawa River, and Toga-mura is in the basin of Toga-gawa River, the tributary of Sho-gawa River. The houses in the area are built in the style called Gassho zukuri that have three or four floors. The steep roofs are at 60 degrees as to prevent snow building up on them, and no nails are used in the construction of these houses. The style is so unique that those houses are registered as the World Heritage. The Gassho zukuri houses can be seen at Ainokura in Taira-mura or at Suganuma in Kamitaira-mura. In Ainokura, there are also guesthouses open for visitors. In Taira, you will find the Ensyo Kinen Kan, which was established commemorating the place that was the home for gunpowder between 17th century and 19th century. In Toga, the World Drama Festival is held every summer where plays by theatrical companies from various countries are performed.

    Getting there
    By JR Jyoetsu Shinkansen Line from Tokyo Station to Echigo-yuzawa Station, change line and to Takaoka Station for 3 hours and 40 minutes in total. From Osaka, by JR Hokuriku Main Line for 3 hours and 10 minutes from Osaka Station to Takaoka Station. From Takaoka to the villages takes 1 hour by bus.

     

  • Himi
    The point where fish from both warm and cold currents meet - Tateyama Renpo mountain range looks as if floating behind Toyama Bay
    Himi is located in the northwestern part of Toyama and faces Toyama Bay to the east with the north and west sides bordering on Ishikawa, having Mt. Isurugi and other mountains in between. Himi is close to the point of where both warm and cold currents run against each other. For that reason the fishery has always been a large part of Himi's Industry, and their catch ranks the largest in the Hokuriku region. Around Himi Port, the fish markets and the fish wholesalers stand side by side and you can always have fresh seafood there. In neighboring Unami Port, there are sightseeing boats where you can experience net fishing with a net that is 300 m long and 90 m wide. You can also enjoy the grand scenery looking at the magnificent view of Toyama Bay and Tateyama Mountains from aboard.

    In the front of Matsudae Beach facing Toyama Bay, there is the Himi Kaihin Syokubutsu (Seaside Botanical) Aroma Garden where you can see many types of seaside plants. In particular, the reproduction of a mangrove wood, which is the biggest in Japan, recreates the atmosphere of the tropics perfectly. There is also an area called Junicho-gata that stretches the length of 2 km and width of 200 m and has a pond with water lilies.

    Getting there
    By JR Jyoetsu Shinkansen Line from Tokyo Station to Echigo-yuzawa Station then to Toyama Station for total of 4 hours and 30 minutes. By JR Hokuriku Main Line for 20 minutes from Toyama Station to Takaoka Station and then by JR Himi Line for 30 minutes to Himi.

     

  • Kurobe Valley
    View the breathtaking view of Japan's deepest valley - An exciting trolley ride that goes through 41 tunnels and over 25 bridges
    Kurobe Valley is located in the eastern part of Toyama and lies between Tateyama Mountains and Ushiro-Tateyama Mountains. It is the deepest valley in the whole country. If you take the trolley ride you can view the beauty of the canyon between Unazuki-Onsen Station and Keyaki-daira Station. The trolley ride takes 1 hour and 20 minutes for the distance of 20.1 km and includes going through 41 tunnels and over 25 bridges. One of the bridges is called Atobiki-kyo, which lies over the deepest part of the valley, and is 55 m long and 56 m high. The view from this bridge is one of the best in this area. There are many hot springs along the trolley route such as the Kuronagi-onsen, Kanetsuri-onsen and Meiken-onsen Hot Springs and these supply water to Unazuki-onsen Hot Spring. You can get off the trolley at any one of those springs and enjoy the spa. Kanetsuri-onsen Hot Spring is known for distinctive characteristic that you can dig anywhere along the Kurobe-gawa River and have hot spring water so that you can indulge yourself in your own private spa, anytime and anywhere. If you take a 1 km walk from Keyaki-daira Station, the last stop of the trolley route, you will see Kurobe-gawa River from the precipitous cliff called Sarutobi-kyo Valley. Also there is also Yamagoya-Babatani-onsen Hot Spring in the surroundings where you can relax and have a rest.

    Getting there
    By JR Jyoetsu Shinkansen Line from Tokyo Station to Echigo-yuzawa Station, then to Toyama Station for a total time of 4 hours and 30 minutes. From Osaka, by JR Hokuriku Main Line for 3 hours and 10 minutes from Osaka station. By Toyama Chiho Tetsudo Honsen Line Limited Express for 1 hour from Dentetsu Toyama Station to Unazuki Onsen Station. From there, walk for 3 minutes to Kurobe Kyokoku Tetsudo Unazuki Station.

     

  • Shogawa-kyo Valley
    The colorful mountain reflected on the surface of the calm dam
    Shogawa-kyo Valley in the southwestern part of Toyama flows from the Omaki Dam to Mt. So-yama calmly and plentifully. The mountain gets its color from the cherry blossoms in spring and the red leaves in autumn and you can enjoy the scenery on board a boat, which travels for an hour from Omaki Dam to Mt. So-yama. Shogawa-machi near Shogawa Valley is the town that has always been involved with water since olden times, and because Sho-gawa River flew into the Tonami plains, it was once a prosperous trading center for lumber of the Hida Forest. Shogawa-machi Mizu Kinen Park, in appreciation of the bountiful amount of water, has a huge fountain that spurts water up to 36 m high and many other waterfalls and streams. The park provides the citizens of Shogawa-machi town with a place for relaxation. In the surroundings of Shogawa-machi there are other places for recreation and relaxation as well such as the Yudani-onsen Hot Springs where you can see Ashikura-taki Fall and Kumaoi-daki Fall, and cultural places such as Aqua Nanairo Kan that exhibits the work of drifting wood in olden days, or Shogawa-machi Kanaya Tokusan Kan that introduces the tradition and cultures of the town.

    Getting there
    By JR Jyoetsu Shinkansen Line from Tokyo Station to Echigo-yuzawa Station, change to Hokuriku Main Line to Takaoka Station for 3 hours and 40 minutes. From Osaka, by JR Hokuriku Main Line from Osaka Station to Takaoka for 3 hours and 10 minutes. By bus from Takaoka Station to Shogawa-machi for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

     

  • Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
    Enjoy the beautiful mountain route through all seasons - Kurobe Dam is the highest dam in the country
    Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route has a distance of 86 km and goes from Tateyama Station on the Toyama Chiho Tetsudo line to Nagano Ogisawa, by a combination of bus, cable car, and ropeway. This route was started as a transportation route to construct the Kurobe-gawa River No. 4 electric power plant, and was opened in 1972.

    Tateyama was known as disciplined place for religious believers. Jigoku-dani Valley is the area where you will notice the strong smell of sulfur. There are no trees or plants here. Moreover there is Mikuriga-ike Pond, which is the largest crater lake in Tateyama. Also, there are areas where you can see snow covered mountains even during the summer time. Mountaineers and tourists will visit in the season of fresh green to the season of tinted autumnal leaves. Kurobe Dam is built at the upper stream of Kurobe-gawa River with a capacity of 200 million tons of water and at a height of 186 m. The dam is formed in the shape of an arch and the scene as water drains is exciting and insatiable. On the way to the Alpine-route, there are many scenic spots such as the Akushiro-no-kabe rock, Syomyo-daki Falls and also Murodo where a spring of 2-5 degrees Celsius gushes out even in summer.

    Getting there
    By JR Joetsu Shinkansen Line from Tokyo Station to Echigo-yuzawa Station, change there and on to Toyama for a total journey time of 4 hours and 30 minutes. From Osaka, by JR Hokuriku Main Line for 3 hours and 10 minutes from Osaka Station to Toyama Station. Then by Toyama Chiho Tetsudo Tateyama Line for 2 hours from Dentetsu Toyama Station to Tateyama Station.

     

  • Toyama and Takaoka
    Toyama, the entrance to Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route - Takaoka, internationally known for its metalworking industry
    The city of Toyama is located at the center of Toyama Prefecture, at the lower reaches of Zintsu-gawa River facing Toyama Bay. The surrounding area of Toyama Station serves as the entrance to the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route and is also known as a distinguished shopping area with stylish boutiques and accessory shops. Trams are the popular choice of transportation for the local people. There are parks such as Toyama Joshi Koen (Toyama Castle Remains Park) and Jonan Koen Park in the middle of the city. The donjon of Toyama Castle in Joshi Koen is now used as a local folklore museum. In Jonan Koen Park, there is the Toyama Museum of Modern Arts, which has paintings of the great masters of the 20th century such as Picasso and Chagall.

    Takaoka is located to the east of Toyama. The mineral industry has developed there since the 17th century, when the ruler named Maeda Toshinaga gathered miners to create a town called Kanaya-cho district. Many temple bells and other copper utensils have been made since. Those metalworking techniques have continued to develop generation after generation and particularly after World War II it expanded to make aluminum. Other metal processing industries such as copper are also internationally well known. In Hokudo Kan, you can actually experience casting and make your own articles of cast metal.

    Getting there
    By JR Joetsu Shinkansen Line from Tokyo Station to Echigo-yuzawa Station, then to Toyama Station for the total of 4 hours and 30 minutes. By JR Hokuriku Main Line for 20 minutes from Toyama Station to Takaoka Station. From Osaka, by JR Hokuriku Main Line for 3 hours and 10 minutes from Osaka Station to Takaoka Station.

     

  • Unazuki
    A hot spring resort where the bronze statues of Takaoka Copperware stand - The Snow Carnival in winter presents Snow Fire Works
    In the northeastern part of Toyama, at the mouth of Kurobe Canyon, Unazuki-onsen is the largest hot spring in the prefecture. Located on the river terrace of Kurobe-gawa River, Unazuki-onsen Hot Spring developed together with the development of power sources. It is the starting point of the Kurobe Canyon Tetsudo Line, which runs between Unazuki and Keyaki-daira in the deep V-shaped valley. It is also the base for those who want to explore other scenic spots. Boiling hot spring water, 98 degrees Celsius, is brought from upstream Kuronagi-onsen Hot Spring to Unazuki. The fountain in front of the station is unique in that it gushes out hot water of 45 to 50 degrees centigrade to a height of 1 to 2 meters. Most of the hotel facilities are along Kurobe-gawa River or along Unazuki Valley, and the beauty of the valley may be enjoyed from the hotel lobbies or from the big public baths as well. The 27 bronze statues on the streets are Takaoka Doki Copperware of Takaoka, which has been one of the most famous local crafts of Toyama since the 17th century. Another treat in Unazuki is the local beer served at its restaurants. The original beer, which uses the clear water of Kurobe-gawa River and barley of Unazuki, has a very rich taste. The Snow Carnival in winter presents Snow Fire Works and more than 100 skiers participate in the Torch Downhill by skiing down the slope with torches in their hands.

    Getting there
    From Tokyo Station, take JR Joetsu Shinkansen Line to Echigo Yuzawa Station and change to JR Hokuriku Line to Toyama Station, 3 Hours 30 Minutes. From Osaka Station, take JR Hokuriku Honsen Line to Toyama Station, 3 Hours 10 Minutes. From Dentetsu Toyama Station to Unazuki-onsen Station, 1 Hour by Toyama-chiho-tetsudo Honsen Limited Express.

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  Information provided by Japan National Tourist Organization.

 

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