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

Toyama

Climb every mountain

Toyama's speciality is mountains and there's no better place to experience them than here.

Mountains are really what Toyama does best. There’s the 90 kilometer multi-vehicular adventure route through the Tateyama mountain range, the sightseeing Kurobe Gorge Railway through tunnels and across gravity-defying bridges and the panoramic observatory on top of Japan’s highest dam, not to mention all of the gorgeous hiking that’s on offer.

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

Photo by: Walk through the spectacular snow corridor on the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.

The prefectural capital of Toyama city is one of the starting points of the famous Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, a dedicated sightseeing route over, under and through the northern Japan Alps that’s a bit like an episode of The Amazing Race. To traverse it, you have to jump on a train before hopping into a cable car, boarding a bus and then a tunnel trolley bus to get on a ropeway connected to another cable car and so on until you reach the finish line all the way in Nagano (or vice versa). The real reward though is the jaw-dropping mountain scenery which transforms through the seasons while the route is open from April to November.

This is where you can walk between the 20-meter-high ‘snow corridor’ and cross the vast Kurobe Dam.

Dam! That’s big.

The Kurobe Gorge towards the end of the route is one of the deepest valleys in Japan, a stunning forested V-shaped ravine filled with hot springs – you can even dig your own bath at Kanetsuri where the hot water bubbles up to the ground surface along the Kurobe river. Make a diversion and board the Kurobe Kyokoku sightseeing train for some spectacular views; the open-sided train winds through tunnels and across bridges right above the dizzying gorge.

Gokayama village in Toyama prefecture, Chubu region

Visit Japan’s very own Hobbiton at Gokayama

If you’re looking to get back down to sea level Gokayama is a World Heritage Site connected to Shirakawago in Gifu prefecture. Traditional farmhouses built in the gassho-zukuri (praying hands) style are gathered together in postcard-perfect villages. The Ainokura village has guesthouses where you can stay overnight – the area is generally less busy than its Gifu counterpart.

Facing Toyama Bay, Himi is a quaint fishing town with fantastic views of the Tateyama Mountain Range from below. Unami Port has sightseeing boats from where you can try net fishing and savor some seriously fresh seafood.

Places to visit

Kurobe Gorge

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

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

Channel the Amazing Race on this unique mountain route.

Other Destinations in Chubu

Nagoya, Japan city skyline, Aichi Prefecture

Aichi

Aichi prefecture is the dynamic capital of Japanese industrialization.

Karamon Gate in Fukui Prefecture

Fukui

Discover dinosaurs and the art of Zen in fossil-filled Fukui.

Traditional street in Takayama, Gifu prefecture

Gifu

Scenic Gifu prefecture is a rewarding stopping point on the way from Kanto to Kansai.

Kenrokuen Gardens, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Pref

Ishikawa

Rich cultural heritage, great seafood and some stunning coastal scenery - if you're into that sort of thing.

Monkeys bathing in the onsen in Nagano

Nagano

World-class winter sports, hot springs (occasionally monkey-filled), delicious local food and a foreigner-friendly vibe.

Maruyama rice terraces at sunset, Mie prefecture

Niigata

The rice is right in Niigata prefecture where there's skiing in winter, festivals in summer and sake all year round.

View of Mount Fuji, Shizuoka Prefecture

Shizuoka

It's resorts galore in serene Shizuoka.

View of Mt Fuji Yamanashi Prefecture

Yamanashi

Pack a prized Yamanashi piece of fruit in your camping bag and head for the hills.