Hometown to the creator of Doraemon, the once castle town of Takaoka in Toyama Prefecture is a great place to visit for traditional sights and serene spots.
While Takaoka is in an area known for its dense snowfall, with snow typically falling from December through to March, there is plenty to be seen in the sunnier months, such as the Takaoka Castle Ruins and the Takaoka Art Museum.
The city was historically known for its thriving metal industry, particularly its copper production, which continues to this day. The city’s excellent track record with copper is precisely why the iconic Takaoka Daibutsu (Great Buddha statue) of their signature metal.
Although a wooden version of the statue was originally constructed in 1745, after two fires that destroyed the structure, it was decided that a new one would be made. As luck would have it, the same material the town is known for producing is fireproof, so as a symbol of the local craft, the new statue was constructed using copperware.
The statue is also unofficially known for being one of the most “good-looking” Buddha statues in Japan.
Zuiryuji Temple was completed in 1659 to commemorate the death of a local feudal lord, Maeda Toshinaga. The temple is a Soto Zen Buddhist temple laid out symmetrically, with each building connected by gorgeous roofed passageways.
One of the quirky characteristics of the temple is that it houses a statue of Ususama Myo-o (Ucchusma), who in Zen sects is revered as the god of the toilet. You can get protective bathroom talismans at the temple to ward off disease and encourage safe childbirth.
Takaoka Castle Ruins
Takaoka Castle lived a short life, as it was built just a few years before the 1615 decree that each province must only have one castle. But after it was dismantled, what was left became a pretty park with the shimmering moat still remaining. The castle ruins come to life in spring with pink cherry blossoms, while in autumn, you can get a great picture of the fiery orange leaves by the traditional red bridge.
Suppose you’re still itching to explore Takaoka. In that case, you can take a walk around the historic craft and merchant districts or the traditional houses or head to the Amaharashi Coast for a spectacular view of the mountains on the horizon. And don’t forget to take a ride on their cute trams.