Art, Seafood, and Streetcars!
A castle town full of modern charms
Art, Seafood, and Streetcars!
A castle town full of modern charms
With the Hokuriku Shinkansen launching service in 2015, Toyama’s city center is a hub of activity. Streetcars carry passengers around town, from which they can view scenery like Toyama Castle, Matsukawa, and the Tateyama Mountains from the windows. New highlights including a recently-opened popular museum are also must-see attractions.
A symbol of the city, housing 400 years of history
Toyama Castle was the feudal castle of Sassa Narimasa and the Maeda clan feudal lords that ruled Toyama. The castle tower was restored in 1954 as a symbol of postwar reconstruction. The three-level, four-story fortress is an impressive sight, often thought of as the face of the city. Inside the castle you will find the Toyama Municipal Folk Museum, where you can learn the history of the castle spanning 400 years.
Take a cruise while taking in the castle town atmosphere
Forming the Toyama Castle outer moat, Matsukawa is a relic of the old Jinzu River that meandered through the center of the city. It is now a place for local townspeople to relax and refresh, and is known as the best spot in the prefecture for cherry blossom viewing. Matsukawa River Cruises offers 30 minute guided rides with your own personal ship captain.
Immerse yourself in art and design
Opened in Kansui Park in 2017, the museum hosts an international collection with exhibitions on new perspectives and topics, with a mission of being the world’s first museum to link art and design. The Onomatopoeia Rooftop featuring playground equipment created by graphic designer Taku Satoh is a popular attraction.
A showcase of modern glass art from Toyama
This museum is located the TOYAMA KIRARI building designed by world-renowned architect Kengo Kuma. The building’s striking facade made of glass, granite, and aluminum sparkles in the light. The museum exhibits its collection of modern glass art object owned by the City of Toyama and various other projects.
Pure heaven for train enthusiasts
Four lines of streetcars run around the Toyama city center, making it a popular area for train enthusiasts. Toyama Chiho Railway has three lines, with railroad car designs that range from a retro look to the latest low-profile “Centram” cars. The Toyama Light Rail has one line and runs on the popular low-profile “Portram” car, with its futuristic design.
A waterfront oasis you can visit from noon to night
Kansui Park is a repurposing of Fugan Canal, which connects the city center to the port town of Iwase. A plaza, observation tower, an artificial island for watching wild birds, and more were built in a place where the old canal boats no longer sailed. The park lights up at night and is home to a coffee shop voted most beautiful in the world, as well as a French restaurant run by a famous chef.
Panama Canal-style water elevator
Enjoy a round trip solar-powered pleasure cruise along the Fugan Canal between Kansui Park and the port town of Iwase. One of the most exciting sites on the cruise is the Nakajima Lock built in the center of the canal. Experience a water elevator with a height difference of 2.5m, where two sets of gates open alternately to adjust the water level and let boats pass through, just like the system at the Panama Canal.
Stroll around a port city once bustling with northern-bound trading ships
This area thrived as a port city for northern-bound trading ships from the Edo Period through the Meiji Period. Port wholesalers, clusters of traditional Japanese storehouses, and other buildings emitting an impression of ancient times line the street along the Old Northern Highway (Omachi Shinkawa Street). Tours are available at Morike Kitamaebune Port Wholesalers, an ideal example of an old port wholesale merchant’s house. Iwase is conveniently accessed on the Toyama Light Rail from Toyama Station North Exit.
Make a Toyama specialty alongside local pros
Get hands-on experience making local Toyama specialty, masu salmon sushi, instructed by expert sushi chefs. The process of laying out bamboo in round wooden boxes, packing in vinegar rice and arranging the masu salmon may look easy, but it takes real skill. Your finished product makes the perfect souvenir. Experience lasts about 60 minutes; reservations required; ¥1,000 per person.
Try your hand at making pills in Toyama, Japan’s pharmaceutical capital!
Ikeda Yasubei Shoten was the original manufacturer of a digestive medicine called “hangontan” invented in the Edo Period. The shop gives demonstrations using an early pill making machine, and interested visitors can try making pills themselves. Clay-like medicine is divided into pieces on a rack, pressed on a slab, and shaped into round balls. No reservations required and the experience is free of charge.
Truly satisfying seasonal ingredients fished from Toyama Bay
Try a set meal of 10 kinds of sushi from seafood caught exclusively in Toyama Bay accompanies with soup. The sushi rice is also made from rice grown in Toyama Prefecture. This set is served by roughly 50 sushi restaurants in Toyama Prefecture, at a price of ¥2000~3500. They each have their own specialty items, and you can make special orders if you order by the day before.
This deep black soup will have you begging for more!
This local style of ramen is distinguished by its deep black broth made from richly flavored soy sauce. The style is said to have its roots in a robust ramen that was served to laborers as a side dish just after WWII. Shops in the city and all over Toyama Prefecture compete by putting their own original spin on the dish.
Scrumptious as sashimi, deep fried, or with pasta
Toyama Bay is the only place in the world with a large enough quantity of this 6~7cm pale pink shrimp to support establishment of a shrimping industry. Distinguished by their languid texture and refined sweetness, they are delicious as sashimi or kobushime (sashimi with kelp), deep fried, or served with pasta, and are served in restaurants throughout Toyama Prefecture.
Toyama Castle was the feudal castle of Sassa Narimasa and the Maeda clan feudal lords that ruled Toyama. Cross the moat and admire this three-level, four-story fortress.
Indulge is local gourmet specialties in ramen and sushi shops in the city center. It’s great fun finding your favorite one of the bunch.
Kansui Park is a repurposing of the Fugan Canal. After strolling the plaza along the water, check out some wonderful art at the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design.
This area thrived as a port city for northern-bound trading ships from the Edo Period through the Meiji Period. You can feel an impression of ancient times in the port wholesalers and clusters of traditional Japanese storehouses that still remain.