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Toyama (prefecture)

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Toyama (prefecture)

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Toyama (prefecture)
Toyama in Japan.svg
Flag of Toyama Prefecture.svg
Quick Facts
Capital Toyama
Government Japanese Prefecture
Currency Japanese Yen (¥)
Area 4,247.22 km2
Population 1,070,070 (2014 est)
Language Japanese(No official language)
Religion n/a
Electricity 100V/50 or 60Hz (U.S. plug, commonly 2-prong without ground)
Time Zone UTC +9(No DST)

Toyama prefecture (富山県 Toyama-ken) is in the central Chubu region of the main Japanese island Honshu.


Located on the Sea of Japan, Toyama was known as Etchū (越中) Province for much of its history. The name was changed to Toyama (富山) as part of the early reforms of the Meiji government, and means The Land Rich in Mountains (富める山の国).

Living up to it's name, Toyama is cradled by a continuous stretch of tall mountains from end to end, creating a spectacular view which can be viewed on any clear day. A portion of the Northern Japan Alps, which make up what's known as the Tateyama Peaks, lines the eastern end of the prefecture with nearly a dozen peaks nearing 3,000 meters, offering many opportunities for adventure seekers or outdoor enthusiasts.


  • Himi - The backdoor to Noto Peninsula, Himi is seaside city with a large fishing industry, particularly famous for winter yellowtail. It's also a good place to sample some high-quality Japanese beef.
  • Kurobe – A small city located on the eastern end of Toyama and home to Japan's largest dam. Known for the pristine natural beauty of Kurobe Gorge and the mountain hot springs enclave of Unazuki Onsen.
  • Namerikawa - The smallest city in the prefecture by population and area. The main attraction are the bioluminescent firefly squid which are fished here from March to May.
  • Nanto – A city made up of ten traditional towns and villages throughout the Tonami Plain. Nanto is home to the Gokayama World Heritage site and boasts some world-class wood-carving.
  • Oyabe - A city in the west of the prefecture famous for it's "Marchen" (fairy tale) architecture of several public buildings. Site of the historic Kurikara Battlefield and Hokuriku's first outlet mall.
  • Takaoka - Beautiful city-by-the-sea and home to the Takaoka Great Buddha Statue (高岡大仏 Takaoka Daibutsu)
  • Tonami - Famous for spectacular views of traditional Japanese farmhouses, as well as the production of a large variety of tulips.
  • Toyama - The prefectural capital, encompassing a compact city center, and several towns and villages.
  • Uozu – A small seaside city of 40,000 famous for a mirage sometimes visible from the coast.

Other destinations[edit]

  • Gokayama — World Heritage Site famous for its gassho-zukuri houses
  • Kurobe Gorge— Notable for having a unique mining train that can take you along a scenic trip about halfway up the gorge. Some natural hot springs and hiking routes can be accessed at stops along the way. Board from just behind Unazuki Onsen Station.


Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Toyama Kitokito Airport (富山きときと空港) (IATA: TOY) [1] - ANA currently operates six one-hour flights to Toyama daily out of Haneda Airport in Tokyo and one daily flight from Sapporo. Partner flights are also offered directly to Toyama from several major cities in Asia, including Seoul(Asiana Airlines [2]), Beijing(flights currently suspended), Shanghai(China Eastern Airlines [3]), and Taipei(China Airlines [4]) Toyama Kitokito Airport is located in the center of Toyama prefecture and offers direct access to and from Toyama Station and other major cities in Toyama via taxi or bus. [5]Site Japanese only

By train[edit]

From Tokyo - Toyama can be accessed from Tokyo from either Tokyo or Ueno Stations via the newly opened Hokuriku Shinkansen. The approximately 310 km trip to Toyama Station takes two hours if taking a more directKagayaki-class train, and costs ¥12,730 for a reserved seat or ¥25,580 for a "Grand Class" seat. Two other stops along the Hokuriku Shinkansen in Toyama Prefecture, are Kurobe-UnazukiOnsen Station to the east, and Shin-Takaoka Station to the west. Those wishing to get off at these stations can board a Hakutaka-class train from Toyko, or transfer to a different train Toyama station.

From Osaka - Limited Express Thunderbird(サンダーバード) trains leaves Osaka direct for Toyama Station several times a day. The trip takes about three hours and twenty minutes and costs ¥8,730 one-way for a reserved seat.

By bus[edit]

From Tokyo - For those who can't afford the ShinkansenToyama Chihou Testsudo (富山地方鉄道) runs a few highway buses to Toyama Station from Toyko each day. They can be boarded at a bus stop outside the west exit of Shinjuku Station or outside the east exit of Ikebukuro Station. Price ranges for a one-way ticket range from ¥6,200 to ¥8,200 based on days of peak usage. Site in Japanese only.

Get around[edit]


  • Oyabe - a traditional field festival, onsen spot
  • Namerikawa - skiing and hang-gliding, scenic views
  • Himi - secluded seaside fishing village with excellent fish market
  • Gokayama - deep in the mountains near the border with Gifu, has a couple of well-preserved gassho-style thatched-houses villages




Seafood is a big deal in Toyama, and the locals view it with pride. The fresh meltwater of the Japan Alps, combined with the deep, cold waters of Toyama Bay offer a large variety of fresh seafood daily, some of which are unique to region.

Shiro Ebi (白えび) - Or white shrimp, are known as the "Jewel of Toyama Bay" for their translucent appearance and local abundance. Their small size, soft shell, and slightly sweet flavor makes them popular in a variety of dishes, from tempura rice bowls to curry, or even as a pizza topping.

Hotaru Ika (ホタルイカ) - Firefly squid are tiny bite-sized squid which are usually eaten whole, both cooked, and raw, and are a favorite of locals. Their name comes from the blue bio-luminescence which they emit in the dark.

Kanburi (寒ブリ) - Winter Yellowtail - The frigid winter waters of Toyama Bay cause yellowtail to build up a thick layer of fat, creating this seasonal delicacy. Almost exclusively fished in the waters around Himi from mid-November to early February, a kanburi steak will usually run several thousand yen. For those on a budget, you can try it at almost any sushi bar in Toyama during the winter for a reasonable price.

Masu no Sushi (ますの寿司) - Perhaps the symbol of Toyama's regional cuisine, masu no sushi is a sushi dish made using fresh-water trout. Often sold wrapped in bamboo leaves, its unique round appearance makes it hard to miss. Many shops throughout Toyama sell this local specialty year-round.

Aside from seafood, Toyama Black Ramen is helping to put the prefecture on the map. Enjoying some mild popularity due to recognition at national competitions, its name comes from the dark soy-sauce-base that provides the broth for this rich, somewhat spicy soup. It's success has spurred the creation of colored ramen in Toyama, with cities throughout the prefecture offering their own take, such as Takaoka's spinach-based Green Ramen or Oyabe's pork-miso-based White Ramen.


Get out[edit]

  • Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route - A remote link between Nagano and Toyama through a string of several unique forms of transportation constructed to give access to Kurobe dam. Access from Tateyama station (near Toyama) or Shinano-Omachi near Matsumoto.
  • Kanazawa - You'll find a rich history, and one of the best-preserved Japanese tea-house districts outside of Kyoto in this vibrant coastal city.
  • Takayama - Like Kanazawa, Takayama is well-known for well-preserved Edo-era structures. 90-minutes from Toyama Station via express train.

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