CENTRAL JAPAN: Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route & Toyama Bay Sushi! (Day 3-4)

Day 3 was highlighted by the famed Snow Wall of Kurobe Alpine Route, Daio Wasabi Farm one of the largest wasabi producers in Japan, and the mouthwatering michelin star quality sushi of Toyama Bay. Here’s a photo essay of our Day 3-4 Central Japan experience… Central Japan Blog Series CENTRAL JAPAN: 5-Day Sample Itinerary! (Day 1-2)  CENTRAL JAPAN: Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route & Toyama Bay Sushi! (Day 3-4)  CENTRAL JAPAN: Nagano’s Matsumoto Castle & Soba Making Workshop! (Day 5)  MY WAX TEMPURA: Food Sample Workshop in Gujo City!  TONAMI TULIP GALLERY: The World’s Only Tulip Garden Where It Blooms All Year Round!  SHIRAKAWA-GO: The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-gō! Day 3 (Kurobe -> Toyama) 7:15                   Check out after Breakfast 7:30                   Kurobe Gorge (train) 12:30                 Lunch at Shinminato KitoKito Market (*Imizu City -> Takoaka City) 16:30 17:00      Tour Kanaya-machi (Rows of latticed houses) 17:50 18:20      Tour Fugan Canal Kansui Park 18:30                 Check in Toyama Dai-ichi Hotel 19:20                  Dinner: Toyama Bay Sushi Day 4 (Toyama City-Azumi City-Matsumoto) 8:00                      Check out after Breakfast 8:52-10:01      Toyama station~Tateyama station (train to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route ) 10:20-10:27    Tateyama~Bijodaira(cable car) 11:00-11:50     Bijodaira~Murodo(bus) 13:00-13:10    Murodo~Daikanbo(bus)Lunch Time 13:20-1327     Daikanbo~Kurobedaira(ropeway) (Tour the Snow Wall) 13:40-13:45    Kurobedaira~Kurobeko(Cable car) (Tour Kurobe Dam) 13:45-14:21        Kurobe DAm~Ogisawa(bus) (*Toyama->Azumino City) 15:50 17:00           Tour Daio Wasabi Farm (Azumino ->Matsumoto City) 17:30                      Check in at Hotel Buena Vista Matsumoto   Day 3 (Kurobe -> Toyama) Kurobe Gorge Train 夏 Kurobe Gorge Railway nicknamed “Kurobe Gorge Train”, is an 80-minute train ride of sightseeing covering the beautiful, forested ravine in the rugged mountains of the Northern Japan Alps. The Kurobe Gorge was carved by the Kurobe River as it descends from its source high streams of Hida Mountains to Toyama Bay. Central Japan Unazuki Hot Springs at the mouth of Kurobe Gorge marks the start of a rail journey where many small and large hot springs are found hidden in the wild along the route. Central Japan The best time to visit would be on autumn when the mountain trees change color complimented by the glittering clean emerald waters of Kurobe River. Kurobe Gorge Train Kurobe Kyokokuguchi 11, Kurobe City, Toyama Prefecture, 938-0293 Website: www.kurotetu.co.jp Admission: Unazuki-Kanetsuri- Adult 1,940 yen Child 980 yen Unazuki-Keyakidaira- Adult 2,740 yen Child 1,380 yen     Tour Kanaya-machi (Rows of latticed houses) Kanaya Town Central Japan Takoaka, the place where metal casting originated in Japan has 400 years of history. You can enjoy walking in the beautiful town with stone-paved roads and latticed houses while shopping or learning a thing or two about how metal casting is made.   Takoaka Daibutsu Central Japan Takoaka Daibutsu acclaimed as one of the three great Buddha statues of Japan. The 15.85 meters Buddha is built using traditional copperware technique that highlights Tokoaka city’s major industry which is the production of copper bells and other copper ornaments for temples around Japan.   Tour Fugan Canal Kansui Park   Central Japan Tip: We heard the park earned the name the most beautiful Starbucks in the world especially when cherry blossoms season arrives.   What to Eat: Toyama Bay Sushi Central Japan Do you know why it’s possible to eat good seafood all year round in Toyama? Toyama Bay has such an abundance of fish that it is known as the “natural fish preserve“. It is rich in nutrients from the many rivers and the underground water sourced in the Japan Alps. The fishing grounds and harbor are near each other that you can see local fish unload from the boats that are still fresh. That’s why seafood caught in Toyama Bay is well regarded to have one of the highest standards in Japan. Central Japan It was a real treat to try an affordable Michelin star quality sushi in Toyama! You would get a meal like this for about 5000 yen in Tokyo, but for this meal in Minozushi (美乃鮨) we only paid 3200 yen!   Toyama White Shrimp Central Japan Toyama’s signature product is the (white shrimp). There are two ways you can enjoy the white shrimp one is one tempura tendon style, and the other is sashimi style. Too bad we only had ours in tempura style, I wonder how those sweet shrimps would taste like fresh. (1550 yen) We had a bowl at our stop over in Kitokito Market. Fun Fact: The white shrimps are a rare species that are only caught in Toyama Bay.    Where to Stay? Central Japan

We stayed in Toyama Dai-ichi Hotel located near the business district and the shopping center. The rooms were western style with clean modern interiors.

Toyama  Dai-ichi Hote 10-10 Sakuragi-cho, Toyama-city, Toyama 930-0082, Japan Tel: +81-76-442-4411 Website: www-a.global.hankyu-hotel.com/   Day 4 (Toyama City-Azumi City-Matsumoto) Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route Snow Wall 雪壁 Yuki-no-Otani (Snow Wall) Period: Mid-April to Late June Be dazzled by the 20-meter high snow wall of Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route! Every year in spring the world famous alpine sightseeing route which goes through Toyama’s 3000-meter high Japan Alps is opened to the public. Snow Wall 雪壁(3) Tateyama has some of the heaviest snowfalls in the world. An average of 7 meters accumulates up to 20m in heavy years. That’s as high as a ten story building! Central Japan You can walk 500 meters between the walls of snow and enjoy sledding in April. Central Japan Visitors might be surprised by the number of transfers to take going to the snow wall from trains, cable cars, Highland buses, trolley buses, ropeways, etc. while enjoying the natural sights along the way. I suggest you allot one day for the tour.   Tateyama ropeway (Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route) Central Japan Enjoy the largest panoramic view of Toyama’s 3000 meter high mountains at the Takayama Ropeway, which also doubles as the moving observation deck.   Kurobe Dam (Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route) Central Japan The largest arch type dam in Japan (186m) where you can see impressive plumes of high-pressure water discharge from the dam between June 26th and October 15th. The lake behind the dam holds 200million cubic meters of water and ten cubic meters pass through the dam every second, generating 100 billion kWh per year. Tip: Climb 220 steps to the Damn observation deck to see the finest view of the dam coupled with 10 tons of water shooting out producing a beautiful rainbow.   Tour Daio Wasabi Farm Central Japan Daio Wasabi Farm is one of Japan’s largest wasabi farm that has multiple fields meticulously irrigated by the streams of clear water flowing from the Northen Alps. With this condition quality grown wasabi is possible. Central Japan Touring the farm alone isn’t enough, guest would greatly appreciate if there was a guide who would teach them how wasabi is grown and even let them try freshly grated wasabi. Central Japan But the best part of the tour is shopping for multiple wasabi related products including fresh wasabi, paste, crackers, flavored nori, noodles and etc. Central Japan Who would have imagined the green paste converted into ice cream The wasabi soft cream has a sweetness similar to vanilla with a distinct spicy aftertaste.   Where to stay: Central Japan We stayed at Hotel Buenavista which one of the larger hotels found in the mid-city of Nagano. They have western style rooms and an international buffet section if you get tired of the usual Japan fare. Central Japan The hotel is a 7-minute walk away from Matsumoto station and Matsumoto Castle. Hotel Beuna Vista Honjo 1-2-1, Matsumoto City, Nagano, Japan Tel: +81-263-0111 Website: www.buena-vista.co.jp   To be continued…   Central Japan Blog Series CENTRAL JAPAN: 5-Day Sample Itinerary! (Day 1-2)  CENTRAL JAPAN: Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route & Toyama Bay Sushi! (Day 3-4)  CENTRAL JAPAN: Nagano’s Matsumoto Castle & Soba Making Workshop! (Day 5)  MY WAX TEMPURA: Food Sample Workshop in Gujo City!  TONAMI TULIP GALLERY: The World’s Only Tulip Garden Where It Blooms All Year Round!  SHIRAKAWA-GO: The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-gō! Live an Awesome Life,

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ABI of Team Our Awesome Planet Disclosure: Our trip was courtesy of Central Japan International Airport. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.  

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