Historic Village of Gokayama, World Heritage Site.
Foreign tourists tend to visit Japan following the golden route: from Kyoto, through Osaka, finishing up in Tokyo. If anyone ever thinks of detouring from this route, he or she might discover a beauty of a different kind.
Toyama prefecture is located in the center of Honshu at the side of the Sea of Japan, harboring “nature‘s fish tank”. The Bay of Toyama is boasting with its wide variety of fish and shellfish. 500 out of 800 types of fish living in the Sea of Japan can be found in the Toyama Bay. The pureness and freshness of Toyama‘s sea will not just satisfy the connoisseurs but also people who do not like the taste of fish. Toyama’s fish can bring a sensual experience. Shinminato Kittokito Market is a fish and seafood market. Kittokito is a word in Toyama’s dialect that means “fresh” and relates to the freshness of the fish, which directly comes from the Shinminato fishing port. Auctions of fish caught in Toyama Bay can be attended twice a day, which is rarely found in Japan, so even people who are not early birds, can experience it.
A Shinminato sightseeing cruise on Uchikawa river gives a unique opportunity to admire the oldest Japanese fishing village and to explore twelve individual bridges of the 2.6 kilometer long Uchikawa. The river in Imizu city, also called Japan’s Venice, can be discovered either with a sightseeing cruise or while walking along the riverside. There are a lot of shrines and temples, built along the river so that fishermen can pray for their safety from their boats. There is a temple called Sennenji where a visitor can see the very rare pine trees called “Kasamatsu” or “umbrella pine tree”.
The modern face of Toyama is found among the peaceful areas of Fugan Canal and Kansui Park. The area is known for bird-watching and is a perfect spot to take a break from everyday life in the world‘s most beautiful, glass-windowed Starbucks.
Onsens are recommended for a longer break outside the city. Surrounded by mountains and wildlife, the most famous onsens of Toyama are the Unazuki Onsens. This place, full of hot springs, is not just known for excellent relaxation, but also for the annual snow carnival with fireworks and torches, held each year on the first Saturday of February.
Another sightseeing spot is the Zuiryuji Temple in Takaoka. Founded by the Soto sect and constructed in 1663, this Buddhist temple overwhelms visitors with its magnificent and elegant beauty. The main gate, the lecture hall, and the main hall of Zuiryuji are designated as national treasures of Japan.
Sometimes being in Toyama also means being in a different time. People who want to travel back in time should definitely visit the Gassho-style villages of Gokayama. The villages of Gokayama are famous UNESCO world heritage sites since December 1995. Gassho-style houses are relicts with a traditional thatched-roof style, from the Edo period, and since then have remain unchanged. Because of the special shape of the roof, that is nearly a perfect equilateral triangle, snow can easily slip down the roof.
The villages of Gokayama are famous UNESCO world heritage sites since December 1995. Gassho-style houses are relicts with a traditional thatched-roof style, from the Edo period, and since then have remain unchanged.
To preserve the treasures of Toyama, the local government maintains a natural balance between sublime nature and creating a tourist trade. Major areas that protect Toyama’s wildlife and development projects that are focused on creating an environment that is improved steadily, are in constant supervision of the government. It is for sure that the astonishing beauty of Toyama will be kept for future generations.
Toyama, a nature’s fish tank
Toyama prefecture is located in the center of Honshu at the side of the Sea of Japan, harboring “nature‘s fish tank”. 500 out of 800 types of fish living in the Sea of Japan can be found in the Toyama Bay.