ToyamaToyama (富山) is the capital of Toyama prefecture, Japan.
(富山駅) is located right in the city center.
From Tokyo, the Hokuriku Shinkansen takes as little as two hours on the fastest service, the Kagayaki (かがやき), which generally operates during the morning and evening hours. The more frequent Hakutaka (はくたか) makes all stops north of Nagano, taking about 2½ hours. The regular fare from Tokyo to Toyama is ¥12,730, but these are free with a Japan Rail Pass.
In the Kansai and Chubu regions, the Thunderbird (サンダーバード) limited express runs from Osaka and Kyoto to Kanazawa, and then you have to transfer to the Shinkansen to complete your journey. The complete journey from Osaka to Toyama takes approximately 3 hr 20 min (¥9,430; free with the JR Pass). From Kanazawa, an additional Shinkansen service, the Tsurugi (つるぎ), shuttles between Kanazawa and Toyama in the same 23 minutes as the Hakutaka.
Toyama is also covered by the JR Hokuriku Arch Pass which includes unlimited travel between Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka via Toyama and Kanazawa for seven consecutive days using the above routes (¥25,000; ¥1,000 discount if purchased outside of Japan). Like the JR Pass, unlimited seat reservations in standard cars can be made, but you have to pay extra for Green Car and GranClass seat reservations.
Nagoya serves Toyama every day with four direct limited express services called the Wide View Hida (ワイドビューひだ), which takes 4 hours, costs ¥7,650, and has spectacular views of the Hida River valley. More expensive, but faster, is to take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Maibara, the Shirasagi (しらさぎ) from Maibara to Kanazawa, and finally the Hokuriku Shinkansen (3 hr 15 min, ¥11,350; free with the Japan Rail Pass). Some Shirasagi trains start in Nagoya.
The Ainokaze Toyama Railway operates local services to train stations formerly served by Japan Railways. The Japan Rail Pass is valid only Toyama–Takaoka without stopover. If you disembark at any other stations except Toyama station or Takaoka Station, Japan Rail Pass is not valid.
Seibu runs three daily buses (one of which is overnight) to Toyama from Ikebukuro and the Sunshine City Prince Hotel. It costs ¥7340 one-way (¥13210 round-trip) and takes seven hours to make the journey.
Several companies have bus runs from Osaka and Kyoto to Toyama. West JR Bus has a morning run (5½ hours) and an overnight run (8 hours) from JR Osaka station, while Hankyu has an evening run (5 hours) and an overnight run (7hr 45min hours) from Umeda. The one-way cost for these lines is roughly ¥5200 from Osaka and ¥4800 from Kyoto.
Central Toyama is compact, and any sights of interest may be reached from Toyama Station on foot or by bike.
The public transport is excellent, with several upgrades in the 2000s-2010s. The Toyama City Tram Line (commonly called Shiden 市電) operates from Dentetsu Toyama Station, connected to JR Toyama Station. It's organized into 3 routes: one downtown loop, one south, and one west (with many connections to various regional rail lines except the western end). The "Portram" light rail (Toyamakō Line, 富山港線 Toyamakō-sen) operates from the north of the station (Toyama-eki-kita) to the seaport and Iwase Beach (Iwase-hama).
To complement this, there's also a good bus system.
Several regional lines serve the regions for getting around town and beyond. The Toyama Chihō Railway (or Chitetsu for short) run the Main Line east along the coast before heading towards the mountains, the Tateyama Line southeast and then south, and Fujikoshi-Kamidaki Line south before it joins the Tateyama Line. The Ainokaze Toyama Railway runs east-west for quite a ways, partially overlapping the Chitetsu Main Line along the coast. The JR Takayama Main Line heads southwest before continuing up the Hida River valley.
Toyama Folk VillageA series of small cultural museums. Each of them is in a traditional house and they feature a large number of crafts, tools, toys and furniture. There is a also a beautiful shop full of traditional Toyama clay crafts made on the premises.
Gohyaku-rakanAlso known as the "Hills of 500 Buddhas", is next to the Toyama Folk Village. Even from a short distance away, nothing is visible but a few trees and a small, dilapidated temple. When you get closer however, you find yourself surrounded by hundreds of eerie and atmospheric Buddha statues, dressed in multi-colored ribbons. The statues are disciples of Buddha.
Toyama CastleA small residence dating from the 15th century, and Toyama Castle Park, are a short walk south from the station. Along the way are showcases of local artworks.
Toyama City Hall observation deckFrom which you can see the whole city.
Iwase townTo see some pre-war Japan and get a taste of Toyama's shipping history, take a walk through Iwase town. Take the lightrail to Higashi Iwase to visit the Mori residence (1878), or to Iwasehama for the beach.
Fugan Canal Kansui ParkA ten-minute walk north from Toyama Station, this large park is split by a large canal from which some sightseeing boats arrive and depart. A bridge crossing over the canal provides panoramic views of the area. The park also has a Starbucks Cafe that has been recognized as the most beautiful store of the Seattle-based chain.
Toyama Glass Art Museum
address: Honmaru 1-34One of the highlights of a trip to Toyama is a riverboat ride around the center of the city. The 30-minute round-trip cruise is extremely popular (and charges extra) in spring when the cherry trees above the river are in bloom. Boats leave at regular intervals from a stand next to Toyama Castle. Tours in Japanese, but when the boat has only English speakers they have a prerecorded audio guide they can play. You can also book additional activities such as making artistic sushi rolls to eat on the cruise, or trying your hand at shamisen music and listening to a performance on the boat.
River cruise reservation officephone: +81 76 425-8440address: Marunouchi 2-2-21
Many festivals can be enjoyed in Toyama and the surrounding region year round.
Toyama matsuriToyama festival is held in August and includes a fireworks display and various local activities.
Yosakoi dance festivalSome of the best spots for viewing displays of this modern Japanese dance style include around Toyama castle, Kencho-mae Park, and the Sogawa shopping arcade.
Kaze no BonAttracts large crowds. Lanterns line the streets of this picturesque town and dancers and musicians parade through the streets demonstrating this traditional dance style. There are also many food and souvenir stalls. Rumor has it the best time to enjoy the atmosphere is after midnight.
National holidays and festivals also provide opportunities to catch events in Toyama, including Tanabata, Kaze-no-bon, and cherry blossom viewing in spring. The Toyama International Center has up-to-date listings on notable events in Toyama and the surrounding area in several languages including English.
The Daiwa department store has multiple levels of international and Japanese designer label clothing, accessories, shoes, homewares, books, stationery and so on. Head to the basement for local and imported foodstuffs, from sushi to cheeses. There are also a range of restaurants and cafes in the complex, as well as a Mochi Cream counter on the ground floor. Running next to the store is the Sogawa shopping arcade, lined with boutiques and stores, including a few Kimono boutiques and a bookstore.
Next to the station can be found the Marier shopping complex for more upmarket clothing labels.
The first Sunday morning of each month, a market is held in the grounds of the Gokoku shrine (by the Jinzu river, at the end of Heiwadori), with a range of secondhand and handmade goods on sale, including kimono, ceramics and food. Earlier is better to catch the best bargains or just get some of the atmosphere.
Around the station can be found many restaurants serving local and international food, including Korean, Chinese and Indian. Another area densely packed with restaurants are the alleys around and behind the Sogawa shopping arcade, as well as the Daiwa department store.
For an inexpensive Izakaya experience, try the 5th floor of the CIC building (opposite Toyama station).
Head to La Yuki, on Joshi-Odori, for Mexican style food in cozy surroundings (near tram stop Aramachi station).
TakadayaA popular place for Toyama's famous masuzushi, a circular salmon sushi.
Tojo UdonA popular udon restaurant with a variety of special curry udon dishes.
Shogun BurgerA popular burger shop that uses Japanese (wagyu) beef.
Just around the corner from My Pleasure and down the street from the Lawsons convenience store you'll come across the Irish pub Pot Still which has a sign that remotely resembles a pile of crap. Grab a pint of Guinness and Bass to go with a plate of the best fish and chips in town. Pot Still has darts and pool and a very foreigner friendly environment.
For a more relaxed bar/club, try Beeline in an alley off the Chuodori end of Sogawa. This area is also home to a few bars and Izakaya. Just opposite and south of Daiwa, the quirky De Niro lies in an alley.
Right across from Beeline is a restaurant called Pepin. Good food and service with and English menu. Food is smaller portioned and presented but is still a casual relaxed dining atmosphere. Generally, modern music plays low in the background and a small counter/bar for those dining alone or just like a drink.
MairoA popular nightclub.
Concept Hotel WakyuHotel with its own hot spring. English reservation forms on website.
Daiwa Roynet HotelThe price is very reasonable (less than ¥8000) and the amenities are excellent. Plus, for a small addition ¥1000, you can add a buffet style breakfast.
Alpha 1 Toyama Aramachi
- Mount Tate (Tateyama) — one of Japan's best-known mountains and one of the highest peaks in the area. Can be climbed in a challenging day-trip, or viewed at leisure on the many cable cars and gondolas of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.
- Noto Peninsula