Graham Morris, Executive-Director of the Japan-America Society of Oregon, Visited Toyama Prefecture

Graham Morris, executive-director of the Japan-America Society of Oregon, paid a visit to Toyama on November 12th. In the morning, he gave a presentation about Oregon to the group of students from Kosugi High School who will be visiting their sister school, the International School of Beaverton. After that, he tasted some of the best sushi Japan has to offer: Toyama Bay Sushi.

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Following this amazing lunch, he had a meeting with Yasunori Yamazaki, the vice-governor of Toyama Prefecture, in presence of Mr. Yoneda, the chairman of the Japan-America Society of Toyama. All three reaffirmed the friendly ties that bind Toyama and Oregon and will work towards more cooperation and exchange in a multitude of fields, including education and industry between our two regions in the future.

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Later, Mr. Morris visited Hokusei Products, one of the companies from Toyama that is currently implanted in Oregon. The company brings Japanese lifestyle products to Oregon and is part of the many links between Oregon State and Toyama Prefecture. He finally took off using the Shinkansen bullet train for a smooth ride back to Tokyo in just over two hours. This completed a full day of exchange and friendship between Toyama and Oregon.

A word from JASO:

The Japan-America Society of Oregon is a Portland-based non-profit that works to strengthen the US-Japan relationship. As Oregon’s Sister State, working together with Toyama Prefecture is especially important to us. If you’d like to join us in our efforts to make a fuller, stronger friendship between Toyama and Oregon, please let us know at info@jaso.org. Thank you!

 

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New Tourist Buses Make Getting to Toyama Destinations Easier for Visitors

Gokayama

Originally written for the Vol.7-No.2 edition (October 18, 2013) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.

With an eye toward the opening of the new shinkansen (bullet train) extension to Toyama in spring of 2015, two new tourist buses began operating this month to make sightseeing spots easier to access.

The “Toyama Buri Kani Bus” (“Toyama Yellowtail Crab Bus”) will do one round-trip between Toyama Station and Himi (in western Toyama Prefecture) on weekends and holidays through March. A one-way trip takes 1 hour 25 minutes and costs 1,000 yen. It is also possible to only go as far as Shinminato (35 minutes) for 500 yen.

Himi is well-known for its fish, and the tourist bus arrives at Himi Banyagai, a mall/market with fresh seafood direct from nearby ports as well as sushi, Himi udon, and Himi beef. There is even a hot spring bath and footbath! On the way, bus passengers will pass over the Shinminato Ohashi – the largest cable-stayed bridge on the Japan Sea side of the country – and be able to enjoy views of Toyama Bay and the Sailing Ship Kaiwomaru. And from Amaharashi Coast on a sunny day, visitors can see the Tateyama Mountain Range towering over Toyama Bay.

Those going to Shinminato in Imizu City can walk around the canals of Uchikawa, visit the fish market at Fisherman’s Wharf, and see Hojozu Hachimangu (Shrine). There are also various reservation-only plans for both Himi and Shinminato that include lunch (3,000 to 5,000 yen total) featuring local specialties such as shiroebi (white shrimp), crab, and yellowtail.

The “World Heritage Bus” does four round-trips between Takaoka Station and Shirakawa-go (Ogimachi) in Gifu Prefecture, with stops in the villages of Ainokura and Suganuma within Toyama Prefecture. As with the “Toyama Buri Kani Bus,” the “World Heritage Bus” will also run weekends and holidays through March. Part of the route uses highways, making travel convenient. For example, it will only take 1 hour 15 minutes (1,200 yen one-way) from Takaoka to Suganuma, and 1 hour 55 minutes (1,800 yen one-way) to Shirakawa-go.

 Ainokura is a village of about 20 buildings in gassho-style, with traditional steep, thatched roofs designed for the snowy winters in this region. (Gassho means “hands in prayer,” and the architectural style resembles that shape.) Suganuma is a smaller village of about 9 gassho-style buildings. Both offer beautiful mountain village settings, and it is easy to forget even the passage of time. These historic villages were inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1995.

Another possible stop is Johana, known as the “Little Kyoto of Etchu (the old province before Toyama).”  The traditional streets around Zentokuji Temple are atmospheric, and include a weaving studio and the Johana Hikiyama Museum where you can see festival floats on display all year.

For more information on the “Toyama Buri Kani Bus,” visit the Toyama Chiho Tetsudo website (Japanese only): http://www.chitetsu.co.jp/?p=9362

For more information on the “World Heritage Bus,” visit the Kaetsuno website (Japanese only): http://www.kaetsunou.co.jp/new/sekaiisanbus.pdf

Source (article and image): Toyama Just Now