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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!