If you are looking for
a quiet and luxurious getaway in the countryside, Toyama, a rural
paradise with historic villages and festivals, delicious watermelons,
relaxing hot springs, and beautiful ski resorts, is a perfect
destination for your next vacation.
Toyama is located on the Japan Sea side of the central part
of Honshu, the main island of Japan. It is a small town of 1.18
million people, 43rd in population among Japan’s 45 prefectures,
according to Static Population Statistics (toyama.or.jp). Equidistant
from each of the island’s large metropolitan cities--Tokyo,
Nagoya, and Osaka, it gets six flights daily from Tokyo and one
In 1995, Toyama’s
historic villages Aikura and Suganuma were given World Heritage
status by UNESO. The earliest houses in Aikura and Suganuma
were built in the 17th century, according to the Gokayama Chamber
of Commerce (toyama.or.jp). The historic villages are still
communities, with the local residents directly involved in
protecting the buildings and the surrounding village setting,
both cultivated and forested land. These villagers have defied
land development under the Charter of Aikura and Suganuma since
World War II, according to the Taira Village Office (toyama.org.jp).
From July 7 to August 21, Toyama's town of Nyuzen ships Jumbo
Watermelons all over Japan With a diameter of 11.8 or more
inches and 15.7 or more inches long , these are the biggest
in Japan. They were first produced in 1883 when the Nyuzen
townspeople cross-bred Snake and Ice Cream Watermelons, two
The Jumbo Watermelon is in rich flavor and crunchy, and has
been offered to the emperor since 1909, according to the
On August 7 and 8, every year, the port city of Uozu has the
Uozu Tatemon Maturi, or “Gigantic Spinning Lantern Float
Festival” with a 49-foot-long lantern. Floats are brought
out to celebrate this festival, which commemorates Uozu citizens
400 years of fervently prayers to the gods for good hauls and
safe voyages, according to the Uozu Web site. The Uozu Tatemon
Maturi was shown in the Ninth Annual Honolulu Festival March
Toyama is famous for hot springs in many of its towns. Around
December 22, which is the winter solstice, these towns are
bustling. People enjoy soaking in the hot springs scented with
citrons which have medical benefits for colds.
While some of Toyama’s resorts are closed in the winter
due to heavy snowfall, according to Nihonkai Travel.com, many
of Toyama’s hot springs remain open all through the winter
months. Unazuki has been a hot spring resort since the 1920s.
Because its hot springs are believed to bring medical benefits,
it is crowded with 700,000 visitors every year.
In winter, people can enjoy winter sports at 13 ski resorts
and more than 100 hotels, including inns, guest houses, and
near Unazuki and Tateyama. Many hotels are completely equipped
with hot springs, according to (kanko-toyama.or.jp).
For avid epicures, hot spring seekers, skiers, and sightseers
who just want to experience culture and history, Toyama
is a rare and uncrowded hideaway.