Toyama City is the capital city of Toyama Prefecture that faces the Sea of Japan. This prefecture is locally famous for the varied fresh seafood from the deep Toyama Bay. and popular tourist destination, Tateyama Kurobe Alpen Route. The population of the city is about 400,000. Let’s see what there is to discover in Toyama City!
Toyama City Hall Observatory
There is an observation floor in Toyama City Hall. You can go up to 70 meters above sea level with an elevator which is free of charge. From the floor, you can look down the whole city of Toyama, and on a sunny day, you may see the gorgeous scenery of Tateyama Mountain Range. Some mountains are over 3,000 meters and the summits are covered with snow from winter into late spring.
Toyama City Glass Museum
The Toyama City Glass Museum opened in 2015. This is one of the must-see places in the city. The building was designed by the famous architect Kengo Kuma. He used a lot of local lumber for the building. Once you enter the building, you will be surprised by the huge atrium surrounded by lumber.
The main exhibitions of the museum are the works of Dale Chihuly, an American glass artist. Even if you are not interested in art, you will most probably enjoy his beautiful installation. There is also an exhibition room of other glass artists from all over the world.
Toyama Castle Park
The Toyama Domain was established in 1639. It became an independent domain when it separated from the Kaga Domain, which was the biggest one after the Tokugawa Shogunate. So the lords of the Toyama Domain were the same relatives of the Maeda Family as the Kaga Domain.
Unfortunately, there are no original buildings left from the feudal time. In 1954, one castle-like building was constructed when an exhibition event was held in Toyama. This building is used as a local history museum. The only structure that remains from the feudal time is Chitose Gate that was constructed in the mid 19th century.
Fugan Unga Kansui Park
A ten-minute walk from Toyama Station, you will find a huge park with a canal. This is Fugan Unga Kansui Park. Local people come here to relax.
There are several facilities in the park. Toyama Prefectural Museum exhibits European and Japanese paintings. If you take a boat at the canal, you can go to Toyama bay passing through the lock gates. On a clear day, you will see Tateyama Mountain Range. One of the best viewpoints of the mountains is from Starbucks in the park.
Ikedaya Yasubei Shop
Toyama is known as a city of medicine. The daimyo (feudal lord) of Toyama developed some good medicines in the 17th century and promoted them all over Japan. Their style was very unique. They didn’t sell their medicines the regular way, but they just installed medicine boxes at each family’s house. They visit the families regularly and if the family used any medicine, they collect money. There are still some pharmaceutical companies that use this method.
This Ikedaya Yasubei Shop is an old drug store that revived the old medicines. In their old-style shop, you can try to make pills using an old machine. The second floor of the shop is a restaurant that serves healthy food using many kinds of herbs.
Food Specialty of Toyama
Fresh Seafood: Toyama Bay is nicknamed a ‘natural live-box of see creatures’. That’s because of the very deep sea, which reaches a depth of 1,000 meters. So they can catch a lot of different fish such as yellowtails, crabs, white prawns, and so on. Please try fresh seafood in Toyama!
Toyama Black Ramen: Black ramen is also famous in Toyama. The sauce is thick soy sauce. It was invented for the manual workers who were laboring hard. They lose salt after doing heavy work, so they needed to replenish the salt in their body. That’s why the sauce is very salty with a strong soy sauce flavor. You need to drink a lot of water when you eat this.
Toyama City Access Information
Access to Toyama Station (JR): Take the Hokuriku shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo. It takes about 2 hours by the fastest shinkansen Kagayaki.