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Region
Chubu
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Toyama
Population
1,120,843

Toyama

Climb every mountain

Majestic mountains, tall dams, traditional villages and walls of snow.

The mountains of Toyama, located in Japan’s Chubu region, are some of the best you can find. For starters, there’s the 90-kilometer adventure route through the Tateyama mountain range, the sightseeing Kurobe Gorge Railway through tunnels, across gravity-defying bridges and the panoramic observatory on top of Japan’s tallest dam.

However, if hiking isn’t your niche, head out to Toyama Bay and catch one of the country’s best sunsets. There, you can also sample the catch of the day from the Sea of Japan.

Toyama City

Toyama, Japan Skyline with Tateyama Mountain

Toyama city and the gorgeous Tateyama Mountain.

Located at the heart of the city about 15 minutes from Toyama Station is Toyama Castle Park. Built in the mid-16th century, not much of the original parts of the structure remain. Due to natural disasters and the aftermath of World War II, only the Chitose Gomon Gates remain standing as original parts of the castle. To learn more about the castle’s long history, tourists can visit the Toyama Municipal Folk Museum not to be confused with the Toyama Memorial Museum which recounts not just the castle’s history, but also of the city of Toyama.

Discover Inami

Wood Carving in Inami, Toyama, Japan.
As the castle is surrounded by a moat, it is often thought of as a floating castle. One of the best photo spots of the keep would have to be taken from the moat as the castle reflects onto the water.  In the spring, the park serves as one of the best places for cherry blossom viewing in the city. Another highlight during the springtime is when the castle is lit up every evening.

For a change of perspective, hop on a half-hour river cruise. The Matsukawa River Cruise has been running for over 30 years and is one of the best activities to do regardless of the season. Passengers will be able to feed the fishes in the river, bird watch, and tour the city all within the two-kilometer boat ride.

Those with some time left to spare can sign up for a Samurai themed photoshoot at the Toyama City Information Center. Tourists will be able to wear a Samurai uniform and depending on the chosen package, can even have their photo taken on horseback.

Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

The snow walls of Murodo.

The Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route is a route that passes through the Northern Japan Alps which runs between Nagano and Toyama. Open from April to November, the route is popular with seasoned mountaineers and tourists alike. While the journey requires multiple types of vehicles and transfers like a cable car, bus and ropeway the beautiful scenery makes it all worthwhile.

One of the most notable spots along this course is the snow corridor in Murodo. As it gets one of the highest amounts of snowfall, the name is exactly what it sounds like. Imagine two towering walls of snow over 15m in height with a road carved out into the middle. Visitors can see it for themselves just as the route opens all the way through May.

Kurobe Gorge

Shin Yamabiko kurobe gorge 2

The Shin Yamabiko Bridge offers fantastic views of Kurobe Gorge.

Found within the Northern Japan Alps, Kurobe Gorge is one of the deepest valleys in Japan, a stunning forested V-shaped ravine filled with hot springs and nature.

One of the best ways to explore the gorge would be to board the Kurobe Kyokoku sightseeing train. Start from Unazuki-Onsen Station and spend an hour or so soaking in the near-transparent waters that are said to be good for the skin. Near the station is Shin-Yamabiko Bridge which is considered one of the first landmarks you’ll come across.

The next station over is home to the bright blue Atobiki Bridge. For the more adventurous at heart, try out the outdoor riverside baths at Kanetsuri Station. As you come toward the end of the train line, make sure to stop by Sarutobikyo Bridge and Okukane Bridge to cap off your trip.

Ainokura village

Toyama’s own country haven.

Within the deepest parts of Gokayama lies the Ainokura village. Like a piece of history frozen in time, this farming village is home to about 20 traditional farmhouses built in the gassho-zukuri (praying hands) style.

While most of the houses within the village have remained as private residences, there are a few that offer overnight stays for a truly unique experience. Due to being one of the furthest villages within the region, it doesn’t get as much foot traffic compared to its Gifu counterparts.

The main events in Ainokura involve light-up displays during the winter and spring season. Don’t forget to visit the viewpoint in Ainokura where visitors can snap a panoramic shot of several of the farmhouses grouped together.

Plan your trip to Toyama with the links below!

Trivia

Wood Carving in Inami, Toyama, Japan.

Discover Inami

From out of the woodwork comes Japan’s best destination for wood-carved masterpieces.

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Places to visit

Toyama Castle

Toyama Castle

A historical monument that stands as a reminder of the feudal rule that existed almost 400 years ago. The castle is situated at the center of the city and holds within it the rich history of the region.

Takaoka Great Buddha

The Great Buddha of Takaoka (Takaoka Daibutsu)

Besides the Todaiji Temple of Nara and Kamakura Daibutsu, the Great Buddha of Takaoka is also one of the three Great Buddha statues of Japan.


Zuiryu-ji Temple

A Soto Zen Buddhist temple located in Takaoka, known for its breathtakingly beautiful surroundings.

Takaoka City

Takaoka City

Home of the Takaoka Great Buddha.


Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

Channel the Amazing Race on this unique mountain route.

Wood Carving in Inami, Toyama, Japan.

Inami

From out of the woodwork comes Japan’s best destination for wood-carved masterpieces.


Kurobe Gorge

Dubbed one of the “Three Great Gorges of Japan” - and rightfully so.

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