Toyama prefecture is on the Sea of Japan side. Toyama prefecture is often called “Hokuriku region” together with Ishikawa prefecture and Fukui prefecture. You can see the Tateyama mountain range in the northernmost part of the Japanese Alps, even from the city center of Toyama city. Every year, snow falls tremendously in the Tateyama mountain range. When spring comes, as the picture above shows, the snow is removed and the bus starts to pass. You can get on the bus and go to see the snowy wall.
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Outline of Toyama
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is one of the world’s leading mountain sightseeing routes that traverses the mountainous region of Central Honshu at an altitude of 3000 m. It is a magnificent route from Tateyama station in Toyama prefecture to JR Shinano-Omachi station in Nagano prefecture with a total length of about 40km and a height difference of 1,975m. Along the way, you can enjoy the spectacular scenery by using cable cars, ropeways and buses.
The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is closed during the winter when there is a great deal of snow in the mountains. It is open from mid-April to the end of November. In spring you can enjoy the amazing world of snow. In summer, you can experience the cool alpine atmosphere. And in the fall, you can admire the magnificent foliage through the ropeway.
“Gokayama” is a heavy snowfall area surrounded by steep mountains and snowfall of almost 2m in winter. In Gokayama, unique traditional farmers are still left. Built in an architectural style called “gassho-zukuri,” these houses feature steep thatched roofs designed to help the heavy snow that is characteristic of the region.
Gokayama has two gassho-zukuri villages, Ainokura and Suganuma. There are 23 gassho-style houses in Ainokura, and there are souvenir shops, guest houses, and a museum in the village. On the other hand, Suganuma has nine gassho-style houses. Both are smaller than Shirakawa-go, but you can enjoy a more natural atmosphere.
Shogawa Gorge cruise
If I was asked by someone, “Where is the most beautiful rice field landscape in Japan?” I would answer, “It’s the Tonami Plain.” In the Tonami Plain of Toyama Prefecture, vast rice fields spread out as shown in the above photo. About 7000 farmhouses are scattered and each has a windbreak forest. The view from the hills is spectacular.
Generally, farmhouses are gathered in rural Japan, but in Tonami Plain, farmhouses are scattered. This is because in the Edo period, each farm was given the land it had reclaimed. Each farmer built a windbreak forest around his residence. These forests served as accents, creating a beautiful rural landscape.
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