Cosmos Flowers in Tonami

Tonami City is famous for its tulips, but every fall, cosmos flowers brighten the slopes of the Tonami Yume no Taira ski resort. Many families from around the prefecture come see this beautiful spectacle. With over a million flowers and stunning views of the Tateyama Mountain Range and Toyama Bay, the Cosmos Watching event is a must-see every year.

Shomyo Falls

Shomyo Falls, the tallest waterfall in Japan. Its 350-meter drop (1150 feet), the cool spray, and its thundering roar will blow you away as you admire it from the bridge over the Shomyo River. To the right, you can see the remains of the Hannoki Waterfall, which is taller but can only be seen in spring and summer. These awe-inspiring waterfalls can be found in Chubu Sangaku National Park in Tateyama Town.

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route and the Kurobe Gorge have reopened!

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The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, which had closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has finally reopened. Additionally, the Kurobe Gorge Railway, which travels through Japan’s deepest V-shaped gorge, is now open for the year. Many measures have been implemented to prevent the spread of the disease, including disinfecting the stations and the vehicles as well as limited the maximum number of people on vehicles in order to welcome tourists with the utmost care. Come and refresh your mind and senses in these grandiose natural sites once international travel to Japan resumes!

 

Toyama Hot News Update

Here is a quick update about the Toyama Hot News Blog!

In addition to information about international exchange and relations with Oregon, I will also be posting very short articles about hidden places to see and things to do in Toyama Prefecture! This blog will be updated minimum twice a month. Feel free to leave comments about what you would like to see posted in the future!

 

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting Toyama Prefecture with 200 confirmed cases and 9 deaths so far as of April 30th. The growth rate here has been the fastest in Hokuriku and some steps have been taken to curtail this spread. The Tonami Tulip Fair was cancelled this year, along with the Snow Walls Walk in the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. The Alpine Route itself is planned to reopen on May 11th. All international flights to and from Toyama Airport have been suspended. Furthermore, the 24th Toyama Cup has been postponed until further notice. More information here: https://jaso.org/toyama-cup-2/ 

We look forward to welcoming Oregonians back to Toyama Prefecture and furthering exchange with the state of Oregon once this global crisis fades away.

 

The Fastest Way to get to the Gokayama World Heritage Site (Suganuma Village) and Takayama!

The people of Toyama pride themselves on the region’s beautiful natural environment, but sometimes accessing such beauty can be difficult. One of the charms of the Gokayama World Heritage Site is its isolation, which came to shape the villages and their iconic houses. Takayama is another famous sightseeing spot, just south of Toyama Prefecture in the center of historical and mountainous Hida Province. Toyama Airport is the closest airport to both the Gokayama World Heritage site and the historical city of Takayama. I was able to participate in a tour using a direct bus and visited both sites!

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The Historic Village of Suganuma, a World Heritage Site (courtesy of Nouhi Bus)

The bus picked us up right outside of the international arrival gates which made it easy to find. A smooth one-hour ride later, I found myself in the mountains in the historical village of Suganuma. While the people who live there have cars and an old man was using a machine to harvest the rice while I was there, everything else looked like I had just time travelled back to the past. This beautiful mountain village shows what rural Japan used to look like in previous centuries!

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Suganuma during Harvest Season

I then hopped on the next bus for Takayama, a historical town that has a much different feel. I strolled around the historic district before visiting Takayama Jinya, a historical building that used to be the regional headquarters of the Shogunate, the Japanese government during the Edo period (1603-1868). My visit to Takayama showed me another side of historical Japan.

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Takayama’s Old Town

The direct bus from Toyama Airport made it easy to access these two destinations and made my trip a breeze!

 

For more information: https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/other/toyama-airport_en/

The winner of the 23rd Toyama Cup visited Toyama!

Every year, in cooperation with the Japan-America Society of Oregon, Toyama Prefecture holds the Toyama Cup, a speech contest for university students studying Japanese in Oregon and SW Washington. The winner of the highest level contest is awarded a week-long visit in Toyama by the prefectural government.

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Lewis and Clark College’s Ronan Hall won this year’s Toyama Cup and stayed in Toyama Prefecture for a week in early July. She paid a courtesy visit to the Director-General before embarking on a trip that showed her some of the beautiful sites of our prefecture.

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She visited the Kurobe Gorge and Gokayama, but also got to interact with students at Toyama Prefectural University, and even participated in a summer festival in the neighborhood where she was staying with her host family.

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We hope that Ronan’s experience will drive exchange between Toyama and Oregon, and we look forward to welcoming the next speech contest winner!

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For more information, please visit: http://jaso.org/toyama-cup-2/

Nyuzen’s Sister City, Forest Grove, OR, sent a delegation to Toyama Prefecture

Nyuzen Town and Forest Grove, OR became sister cities in 1989, 2 years before Toyama Prefecture and Oregon signed their friendship agreement. Warm relations between the two cities and their inhabitants have continued for 30 years, and a delegation from Forest Grove visited Toyama as part of their customary exchange activities.

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The Forest Grove delegation led by the mayor, Peter Truax, included public servants from the city and Pacific University staff as well as a university student and the mayor’s own granddaughter. They paid a courtesy visit to Executive-Director Kakizawa from Toyama Prefecture where warm words and presents were exchanged.

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The delegation spent a few days in Toyama Prefecture before heading back to Oregon with memories of experiences and connections that will last a lifetime. In the fall, junior high school and high school students from Nyuzen will head to Forest Grove, proof that this friendship across the oceans and continents is still alive and well after 30 years. Here’s to 30 more!

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The Oregon Booth at the JET World Festival 2019 and the 23rd Toyama Cup

Originally written for the Vol.12-No.5 edition (March 22, 2019) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.

The Oregon Booth at the JET World Festival 2019

Every year, Toyama Prefecture Coordinators for International Relations organize the JET World Festival, a festival focusing on international exchange and multicultural understanding, with the help of Assistant Language Teachers working in the prefecture. For its 24th edition, this year’s festival was held on February 17th at the Toyama International Conference Center.

The festival featured a stage with cultural performances, and international café with tea and snacks, a kids’ corner, a multicultural experience workshop area, and most of all, the international booths, where volunteers introduced the diverse places they are from. This year’s international booths once again featured the Oregon booth, where Corvallis-native and 4th year ALT Anthony proudly showcased his home state to the over 700 visitors. This was the perfect opportunity to introduce Oregon, Toyama Prefecture’s sister state, to residents here.

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The families and students who came to the booth learned about how Toyama and Oregon both have active outdoor scenes and magnificent natural environments, with Anthony introducing many of the beautiful sights through pamphlets, maps, and the “Only Slightly Exaggerated” video from Travel Oregon. He also talked about the thriving craft beer industry in Oregon, and contrasted it with how that industry is growing here in Toyama.

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Anthony is one of the 5 ALTs from Oregon who are currently working in Toyama Prefecture through the JET Programme. Friendly relations with Oregon began in 1991 and since 1997, 42 JET Programme participants from Oregon have worked in schools and government around the prefecture.

Learn more about the Toyama JET World Festival here: https://toyamazing.wordpress.com/

The 23rd Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest

Every year, in cooperation with the Japan-America Society of Oregon, Toyama Prefecture holds the Toyama Cup, a speech contest for university students studying Japanese in Oregon and SW Washington. The winner of the highest level contest is awarded a week-long visit in Toyama by the prefectural government. Every year, Toyama Hot News publishes an issue about the winner’s stay in Toyama, and we will do the same this year! For more information about the Toyama Cup, please visit: http://jaso.org/toyama-cup-2/