There are many beautiful fall sights to enjoy in Toyama, but none may be as thrilling as a train ride through one of Japan’s deepest gorges while surrounded in shades of green, yellow, and red. The Kurobe Gorge Railway was originally created to bring materials up the Kurobe River to create dams for hydroelectric power generation, including the Kurobe Dam , but it now remains open to everyone as a popular tourist attraction. The operation dates change every year depending on the amount of snow, but the railway is usually fully opened from the end of April to the end of November.
The Kurobe Gorge Railway starts at Unazuki Onsen, a hot springs town tucked in the valley at the beginning of the gorge, and runs 20 kilometers to Keyakidaira, the final stop in the gorge where the Babadani River meets the Kurobe River.
In the fall, the train passes through four stations, each with their own spectacular views, hiking trails, and amazing colors. At its deepest point, the gorge is 2000 meters deep, flanked by mountains reaching over 3000 meters above sea level, making it the deepest V-shaped gorge in Japan.
The Kurobe Gorge is one of Toyama’s most popular sightseeing spots in the fall. To get there, take the Toyama Chiho Railway line to Unazuki Onsen station from Dentetsu Toyama Station, near Toyama Station, or from Shin-Kurobe Station, near Kurobe-Unazuki Onsen Station. Both Toyama Station and Kurobe-Unazuki Onsen stations can be reached from Tokyo using the Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train which opened in 2015.
You can find more information about the Kurobe Gorge and visiting Toyama at the websites below.
Originally written for the Vol.12-No.3 edition (October 9, 2018) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.
The Toyama Cup is a Japanese speech contest held every year in Portland in cooperation with JASO (the Japan-America Society of Oregon) to recognize the fruits of Oregon students’ Japanese studies. It first began in 1996, commemorating the 5th anniversary of the sister-state relationship between Toyama and Oregon. Jack Glenn from Willamette University won the Grand Prize for this year’s 22nd Toyama Cup, held on April 22nd. His prize included a week-long trip to Toyama where he visited the many sites that make our beautiful prefecture famous.
Jack’s stay in Toyama lasted from July 22nd to July 29th and he visited the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design, as well as the Historic Villages of Gokayama World Heritage Site.
On July 23rd, Jack visited the Prefectural Government Office and paid a courtesy visit to Mr. Kurahori, Director-General of the General Policy Bureau. We hope that he will use his experience here in Toyama to become a bridge between Toyama and Oregon, as well as between Japan and the United States. As a symbol of this hope, Director-General Kurahori conferred Jack the title of “Toyama Honorary Friendly Envoy.”
After his stay in Toyama, Jack said that he would never forget the spectacular scenery of the Tateyama mountain range and the Kurobe Dam, and that the Toyama Bay Sushi was the best tasting seafood he had ever had in his life. According to him, Toyama has many experiences that simply cannot be had in Tokyo or Osaka, and since it is packed with all of the things that make Japan great, everyone should visit Toyama at least once in their lifetime.
We hope that Jack’s experience will drive exchange between Toyama and Oregon, and we look forward to welcoming the next speech contest winner!
Originally written for the Vol.12-No.2 edition (June 18, 2018) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.
2019 will be a big year for Toyama on the international stage. Toyama Prefecture will host the 9th Theatre Olympics from August 23rd to September 23rd 2019. The Theatre Olympics is an international fair of theatre arts, established in 1993 in Delphi, Greece, by Suzuki Tadashi, Theodoros Terzopoulos, and other world renowned directors and playwrights. In addition to showcasing the world’s highest level of performing arts, the Theatre Olympics also conducts workshops, symposiums, and educational programs. World famous theatre director Suzuki Tadashi will be the artistic director for this 9th edition.
Three main venues have been selected for the Theatre Olympics: the Toga Art Park of Toyama Prefecture in Nanto City, and the Unazuki International Hall “Selene” and Maezawa Garden Amphitheater, both in Kurobe City. The open air theaters surrounded by a lush natural environment are an ideal way to appreciate both art and Toyama Prefecture’s beautiful mountains.
Speaking of nature, and beauty, Toyama Bay was selected in April as the host for the 2019 Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club Congress. Toyama’s environmental efforts, natural beauty, and rich culture were highly praised by the assembly during this year’s congress in La Baule, France. The Congress will be held in Japan for the first time from October 16th to October 20th 2019 at the Toyama International Conference Center. The program has not been released yet but I am sure it will be packed with excursions to show to the best of Toyama Prefecture to the delegates coming from all around the world.
Toyama will be in the spotlight in 2019, and Toyama Hot News will keep you updated!
Originally written for the Vol.6-No.3 edition (July 31, 2012) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.
In Toyama Prefecture, we continue to be busy with international exchange endeavors! From July 9th to the 12th, we had the great privilege of hosting 13 American educators and 3 of their family members to Toyama as part of the U.S. Educators Program. This annual program is a major activity of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York (JCCI).
After visits to Tokyo, Hiroshima and Kyoto, the delegation came to Toyama Prefecture and experienced the history and culture here, including a visit to the historical village of Gokayama. I personally had the opportunity to visit Chuo Elementary School in Kurobe City with these American teachers and administrators, where we not only observed classes and met with the school principal but got to eat lunch with the students!
It was also an immense pleasure to be able to interpret for the delegation’s meeting with Governor Ishii, and also to simply spend time conversing with these amazing, dedicated educators. I have no doubt that this will remain one of the highlights of my time here as a CIR.
For more information about JCCI and the U.S. Educators Program, please visit their website.
The original version of this article was written for the Vol.5-No.7 edition (September 2, 2011) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.
One of the best things I discovered in my five and a half years living in Oregon was a love for running. And as any runner in Oregon can tell you, there is an excellent running community there and more race options than it is possible to keep up with. I found the Run Oregon blog to be an indispensable resource, and I loved it so much that I began to occasionally write race recaps for them.
I promised to continue running and writing in Japan, and I would like to share some of my relevant pieces with you.