HOKURIKU-SHINETSU Toyama Rural Japan at its finest, from the mountains to the sea
Famed for the World Heritage Gokayama villages and Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Toyama is home to some of Japan's most spectacular forests and waterways
How to Get There
Reach Toyama by bullet train from Kanazawa, Nagano, Tokyo and other stations on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line. Express buses also connect Toyama with Matsumoto City and other transport hubs.
From Tokyo, the bullet train takes two and a half hours. From Osaka and Kyoto, take the JR Thunderbird Limited Express to Kanazawa, after which it is a 20-minute ride on the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen to Toyama Station. Highway buses run from Nagoya (three hours) and Nohi express buses connect Matsumoto City in Nagano Prefecture with Toyama City.
- The World Heritage villages of Suganuma and Ainokura, collectively known as Gokayama
- Kurobe Dam, an impressive feat of engineering and Japan's tallest dam
- The enormous towering snow walls of the alpine route's snow corridor, open in spring
- Trekking the Tateyama Mountains and visiting a volcanic crater lake
Trending Attractions in Toyama
Known in English as firefly squid due to the bluish light they emit, hotaruika are found and fished in the waters off Toyama Prefecture between April and May. Try some marinated in soy sauce or topped with vinegared miso. You can also savor them fresh and without cooking as sashimi, or dried and roasted—an excellent accompaniment to the local sake.
Toyama persimmons are some of Japan's sweetest. When they've been hung up outside and air dried, they become even sweeter and are known as hoshigaki.
A rare species that makes its home in Toyama Bay, shiro ebi or white shrimp are famous for their delicate flavor and refined sweetness. They are delicious as sashimi or sushi, or topping a fresh bowl of rice.
With a history dating back over 400 years, Takaoka shikki lacquerware has several distinctive variations. Aogai involves using thin slices of shell to create geometric images of birds and flowers; Yusuke incorporates shell, gold, and stones; and Chokoku involves carving designs prior to lacquering. All result in beautiful, original works.
While most of Japan goes crazy with cherry blossom fever in April, visitors flock to Toyama to see the 20-meter tall snow walls in the Tateyama Mountains—a lingering testament to the severity of winter in the Japan Alps.
Cool down with refreshing breezes—or lingering snow—in the Tateyama Mountains. Visit Kurobe Dam or hang out on the coast at Kaiwomaru Park, home to an impressive 29-sail galley from a bygone era.
Temperatures cool off quickly in Toyama, which gives the October fall foliage an especially pronounced hue. The thatched-roof houses in Gokayama are just waiting to be photographed. For invigorating fall hikes, head to Kurobe Gorge.
Winter is severe in Toyama with Siberian winds and blankets of snow. Copy the locals and ski, snowboard or enjoy scenic snowscapes—particularly pleasurable from a steaming outdoor hot spring.