Toyama is the capital city of Toyama Prefecture. It can easily be reached from Kanazawa and is a city of many attractions as well as being a convenient access point for hiking and sightseeing along the Tateyama mountain range.
The Main Attractions
Toyama Castle was first built in 1543, but the current building is a concrete reconstruction built in 1959. Inside you will find a museum of local history, and surrounding park is also very pleasant. Admission to the castle costs 210 yen for adults, and 100 yen for elementary and junior high school students. The castle park is just a seven minute walk from the station.
The Sato Memorial Art Museum is also located in the castle park and displays the private arts and crafts collection of the local entrepreneur Sato Sukekuro as well as two historical tea houses. Admission to the museum costs 210 yen for adults, and 100 yen for elementary and junior high school students.
Toyama Glass Art Museum is a 9 minute walk from Toyama Castle. Housed in the glittering Toyama Kirari building, the museum was designed by Kengo Kuma and is worth a visit for its architecture alone. Inside the museum you will find a permanent exhibition of contemporary glass artwork, and on the 6th floor a “Glass Art Garden” by the celebrated blown glass artist, Dale Chihuly. Toyama City Public Library is housed in the same building. The admission fee is 200 yen.
The Former Mori Residence is a traditional wooden townhouse and formerly the home and shop of a cargo-ship wholesaler. It was built in 1878 and is now a nationally designated Important Cultural Property. The house is on Iwase Street where you can see some other traditional buildings and many artisan’s shops. This area by the port is 30 minutes from Toyama Station by Toyama Light Rail. Admission is 110 yen for adults and 50 yen for children.
The Former Uchiyama Residence is a wonderful house and garden dating from 1868 that previously belonged to a wealthy farming family. Inside you can find three traditional tea rooms, and many works of art and family heirlooms. The plum blossoms in the garden are very beautiful from the end of January to late March. Admission is 200 yen for adults and free for students and children. This building is a 10 minute taxi ride from Toyama Station.
Boat cruises on the Matsukawa River are popular in all seasons but particularly in the spring when the boats sail through a tunnel of cherry blossom. Cruises are 1,500 yen for adults and 750 yen for children.
Mount Tateyama and the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route are easy to get to from Toyama City. Mount Tateyama is the highest mountain in the range at 3,015 meters and is known as one of the “three holy mountains” of Japan along with Mount Fuji, and Mount Hakusan in Ishikawa Prefecture. The mountain can be reached from Tateyama and hiked in one day.
The 90 km Alpine Route can be taken in a variety of vehicles, including train, tram, cable car, and bus, and enjoyed for its jaw-dropping scenery. In mid-April the route is opened up by snowplows, creating enormous walls of ice on either side that buses carry sightseers through.
To get to Tateyama Station take the Toyama Chiho Railway to Tateyama Station. It takes around 1 hour for a fare of 1,200 yen.
How to Get There
From Kanazawa you can get to Toyama by local train, shinkansen bullet train, bus, or car. The quickest route is by shinkansen, and the cheapest is by bus.
Toyama is connected to Kanazawa Station by local train lines and by the Hokuriku Shinkansen line. Traveling by local trains on the IR Ishikawa Railway Line and the Ainokaze Toyama Railway Line you can get to Toyama in 57 minutes for a fare of 1,220 yen. Traveling by shinkansen you can get to Toyama in around 20 minutes for a fare of 2,810 yen.
The Hokutetsu Bus company runs regular express bus services to Toyama Station from Kanazawa Station. Buses depart from bus stop #2 at the station’s east exit bus terminal. There are 21 round-trip services every day. A one-way fare is 930 yen for adults and 470 yen for children. The journey takes 1 hour.
Toyama can be reached by car from Kanazawa via the Hokuriku Expressway. The journey should take around 35 minutes and cost 1,590 yen in toll fees. Of course this does not include the cost of renting a car. For more information on local driving check our article on Car Rental in Kanazawa.
Article by Michael Lambe. Photos by m.Taira, sigmax, ginR and Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.