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TOYAMA x TOKYO

Ancient landscapes colored by the four seasons
  • TOKYO
  • TOYAMA

Theme of the Scenic Route

FOUR SEASONAL ANCIENT LANDSCAPES

TRAVELER

  • Traveled : October,2022 BARON MATHIEU
    Editorial Manager & Business dev
    Reside in France
  • Traveled : October,2022 Clémentine Cintré
    Editor-in-chief of Voyapon
    Reside in Tokyo
    Home country: France

Todoroki Valley has been designed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government as a "place of scenic beauty," and is the only valley within the 23 wards of Tokyo that is rich in nature, with many plants growing from the abundant water supply and terrain. This journey lets you experience the ancient landscapes and lifestyles of Japan in the Gassho-zukuri village of Gokayama, a World Heritage site where people still live today.

Official Tokyo Travel Guide
https://www.gotokyo.org/en/

Local government official website
http://www.toyamashi-kankoukyoukai.jp/en/

Haneda Airportmore

Haneda Airport
The airport serves as an air gateway for Tokyo. The passenger terminal is filled with various commercial facilities, and visitors can command a panoramic view of Tokyo Bay from the rooftop observation deck, so that every one, even those who are not flying, can enjoy the terminal.

Tokyo Metropolitan Area

Day1

TOKYO

Todoroki Valleymore

RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS

Todoroki Valley
This 1km valley, situated at the southern tip of the Musashino Plateau, is one of the few valleys in the Tokyo area.
Go down the steps at the entrance to Golf Bridge, a 3-minute walk from Todoroki Station, and find the walking trail that follows the Yazawa River downstream.
Hear the rustling of the Japanese zelkova, konara oaks, and dogwood trees in the breeze, the murmuring of the river, and the wild birdsong; so close to nature you would never think you were in the city.
  • BARON MATHIEU

    Todoroki Valley: This place is only 30 minutes from the center of Tokyo. It seems that because of the influence of plants and rivers, it would be cooler than inside the city and can attract people during the summer. Todoroki Fudoson is nice point were the visitors can be interested to make a stop for enjoying the place and for taking some pictures.

  • Clémentine Cintré

    Todoroki Valley: When I first glimpsed Todoroki Valley from the top of the stairs a few steps from Todoroki Station, itself a 15-minute train ride from Shibuya, I could scarcely believe my eyes. In the heart of the city, a verdant valley with a river running through it. You can take walk down the ravine to enjoy a temperature some 2°C below that of the surrounding area, amid luxuriant nature. If this was a pleasant stroll on a rainy day in October, I can only imagine how welcome it would be in the heart of the hot and humid Tokyo summer.

    At the end of the path awaited two more surprises: Todoroki Fudoson, a Buddhist temple that overlooks the valley and the main building of which is accessed by lantern-lined pathway, and Nihon Teien, a Japanese garden that offers a resting spot before returning back up the track to the city.

20 minutes by train (non-JR lines)

Meiji Jingumore

Meiji Jingu
The shrine was established in 1920 as a dedication to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and the Empress Dowager Shōken. The extensive forest around the shrine in the center of the city was created artificially by planting a hundred thousand trees donated from people all over the country.
The shrine attracts the greatest number of worshippers every year during hatsumode over the New Year period.
  • BARON MATHIEU

    Meiji Jingu: One of the most beautiful and spiritual sanctuary in Tokyo. The location is good because it is close to the Harajuku station, so for the tourists it is easy to visit. The Meiji Shirine Inner Garden is amazing, and I wish I could spend more time there because there is a high potential and many things to discover.

  • Clémentine Cintré

    Meiji Jingu: We set out for Meiji Jingu at dawn to make the most of the peace and quiet. What struck me most of all, beyond the beauty of the immense torii gates and the shrines, was the forest. Since the completion of Meiji Jingu in 1920, when thousands of trees were planted, the forest has been untouched by the human hand. We then visited Meiji Jingu Gyoen, a peaceful Japanese garden commissioned by Emperor Meiji so that Empress Shoken even in frail condition could visit for a walk. During my visit in early October, it may have been too early for autumn leaves yet it was especially soothing, thanks to the variety of flora and the sophisticated spaces that gave me a sense of the four seasons in Japan.

15 minutes on foot

MIYASHITA PARKmore

MIYASHITA PARK
MIYASHITA PARK was created as a new type of multi-functional facility in front of Shibuya Station, that combines a park, shops and a hotel. It has become a place for conveying culture and a center of exchange, and is bringing excitement to the Shibuya area and Tokyo.
  • BARON MATHIEU

    MIYASHITA PARK: This park is a Shibuya landmark and is integrated with commercial facilities and a hotel. "sequence MIYASHITA PARK" hotel is comfortable, the view from the room we visited was very nice. The room was incredible, not only because of the comfort but especially for the spacious view on the city. Shibuya MIYASHITA PARK on the rooftop is also attractive and the activities are interesting for families with children. Also, the bouldering wall is something that most of the people can be happy to try. "RAYARD MIYASHITA PARK" is a place where you can enjoy dining and shopping, and is definitely worth a visit.

    Lunch at Teppanyaki Sakura: This small restaurant offers an intimate atmosphere. The concept of Teppanyaki is very interesting for the French tourists because it's not usual in our country. The fact to see the chief cooking in front of us and close to us provides a very good feeling and it makes you hungry. The Beef and the St-Jacques were delicious, dishes had a melting taste. We had the chance to discuss with the chief who was very kind, he explained us some details about its cuisine and for me it was a really nice experience.

  • Clémentine Cintré

    MIYASHITA PARK: MIYASHITA PARK opened in 2020 in Shibuya, just steps from the station and the famous intersection. It has a shopping mall, hotel, restaurants...and MIYASHITA PARK, featuring green and pleasant public spaces and sports equipment. Sequence MIYASHITA PARK is a hotel overlooking the park with rooms raning from comfortable, compact rooms ideal for groups of friends to a luxury suite offering an exceptional panoramic views across Tokyo. The hotel cafe is open to all and frequented by those attracted by the setting and the WiFi. Rayard MIYASHITA PARK shopping mall should also be on your radar as a superb venue for eating and shopping.

    Lunch at Teppanyaki Sakura
    Entering Teppanyaki Sakura, I found myself in elegant surrounds: soft lighting, copper-toned hues, walls of cherry tree trunk timber. There is seating at the bar for 10 diners to watch the chef cooking with carefully selected produce on the hotplate. This promised to be an incredible gastronomic experience, and so it turned out to be. The dexterity, precision and passion with which the chef prepared vegetables, seafood, wagyu beef and even a dorayaki hotcake dessert only heightened my appreciation of their flavor.

Tokyo Metropolitan Area

  • BARON MATHIEU

    Dinner: Barubora-ya, Shinjuku Golden Gai
    The Golden Gai has an old history that we can feel when we enter inside and when we walk in the small streets. It can attract many people who want to see an other face of Tokyo and to meet local people. We tried and shared few portions of different dishes, thus I liked the concept like the Spanish Tapas. In term of food, the choice was a little bit limited (because some dishes were missing), it was definitely not the best meal we had during the fam trip but it was not bad at all. The positive point is that there was some English translations and the owner was kind with us.

  • Clémentine Cintré

    Dinner: Barubora-ya, Shinjuku Golden Gai
    For dinner, we chose one of the 300 bars and izakaya that populate the nightlife district of Golden Gai, Shinjuku. Due to their miniscule size - not more than 12 seats - foreign tourists may not find it easy to get in the door. Yet, the owner of Barubora-ya welcomed us with an English menu with pictures: drinks of course, and simple sharing plates cooked to order in a warm atmosphere.

Day2

HOKURIKU(TOYAMA)

Tokyo Stationmore

Tokyo Station
October 2012 saw completion of the preservation and renovation work on the Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building. The red brick facade long loved as the symbol of Tokyo Station has made a comeback, along with the history and grandeur of the original building dating nearly a hundred years back. The occasion also saw the reopening of Tokyo Station Hotel and Tokyo Station Gallery. The former is the only hotel situated within an important cultural property of Japan. The interior is designed in a sophisticated, classical European style to blend with the splendor of the Marunouchi Building exterior.

JR Hokuriku Shinkansen

  • BARON MATHIEU

    Shinkansen (Tokyo → Toyama): The quality of this trains is very good, very clean, always in time and comfortable seats. The design of the Shikansen is also interesting because European trains looks very different.

  • Clémentine Cintré

    Shinkansen (Tokyo → Toyama): After finding our ideal breakfast among the plethora of options offered at an ekiben kiosk (a contraction of eki meaning "train station", ben short for bento), we boarded the Shinkansen for Toyama. The two hour journey was just enough time to settle in, eat breakfast, do some reading and watch the rapidly passing landscapes of Tokyo buildings, rice paddies and mountains.

Toyama Station

20 minutes by train (JR)

20 minutes by train (non-JR lines)

Amaharashi Coast more

Amaharashi Coast
The view from the bay overlooking the reefs, or of the 3000m-class Tateyama mountain range seen from Toyama bay are breathtakingly beautiful, and change with each season.
  • BARON MATHIEU

    Amaharashi Coast: It is a beautiful bay which offers a nice landscape (even if we couldn't see the mountain clearly). We can take nice pictures from a spot located inside the rocks. The history of Yoshitsune is interesting because it's a part of the local culture, and French tourists are very interested to learn about the local culture. The architecture of the building in front of is original and the view is also attractive.

    Shokoji Temple: It is a beautiful temple. I felt a very good feeling when I was walking inside this temple. The history of the temple and about Buddhism is interesting. The fact there was an artistic exposition inside the temple was something very original and attractive that I have never seen in Japan before.

    Lunch: (Sushikin *Toyama Bay Sushi)
    Amazing and delicious meal, I loved to try the sushis from the Toyama Bay. The chief cooking the fresh fish in front of us was a so nice experience! It's beautiful to watch the chief cutting the fish with talent, it was like a performance.

  • Clémentine Cintré

    Amaharashi Coast: The Amaharashi Coast at Takaoka features a view sought after by photographers: a rock in the sea topped by a tree, the Tateyama Mountains looming behind. Sadly we were unable to see the mountains during our visit due to the cloudy weather, but that did not stop us from admiring the bay, rated one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. It has been the setting of legendary samurai tales, but it is also an abundant treasure trove of fish, which I would soon have the chance to savor. After a stroll along the beach, we stopped into the Michinoeki Amaharashi roadside station. Inside was a cafe-restaurant, a souvenir shop with local products and an unobstructed view of the coast.

    Shokoji Temple: The twelve buildings of Shokoji Temple are all designated as Important Cultural Properties and even though I had never heard of it, the temple is just as impressive as others that attract crowds of visitors. The main hall, built at the end of the 18th century, is modeled on the Amida-do Hall in Nishi Honganji, Kyoto, but the other buildings, including Kyodo, a temple that houses a rotating sutra library that is well worth the detour.

    Lunch: (Sushikin *Toyama Bay Sushi)
    Toyama Bay plunges to depths of over 1000m and is home to at least 500 species of fish and crustaceans of the 800 species found in Japan. The proximity of the coast to such an abundant fishery means that seafood arrives exceptionally fresh in the markets and restaurants of the region. Learning this made me drool, so what better than a sushi restaurant to appreciate these products. Each fish or shellfish prepared before me by the chef was a new surprise of flavor and texture, so delicate that there was no need even to add soy sauce: a delight. Toyama has published a small guide to faciliate communication. Using the guide, you can point out what you want to order, or indicate a food allergy or preference - a welcome initaitive indeed.

20 minutes by train (non-JR lines)

80 minutes by bus

Gokayama Gassho-style villagemore

RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS

Gokayama Gassho-style village

Take one step and slip back in time to the unspoiled landscape of the Gokayama Ainokura Gassho-style village which is located at the southwestern tip of Toyama Prefecture, Nanto city where the traditional houses are called “Gassho-zukuri(Gassho-style)” with the thatched roof. The architectural style was originally developed many years ago. Gassho-style village is registered as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site along with Shirakawa-go. You forget time, and get surrounded by the scenery of the four seasons, you find yourself tranquil for some reason. The village is lit up daily and for every season, and is not to be missed! Captivated by this fantastic space, you find it incredibly satisfying.

  • BARON MATHIEU

    Gokayama Gassho-style village: This small village of Ainokura is very charming. The architecture of the houses is something special that we do have in few regions in France like Brittany. We had a nice walk that offers a beautiful view on the village and the landscapes from the top. I Think tourists can enjoy to stay there for relaxing during 1 or 2 nights.

  • Clémentine Cintré

    Gokayama Gassho-style village: Having already visited Shirakawa-go, I was eager to discover Gokayama, the other village with a UNESCO World Heritage listing for its Gassho-zukuri houses and unaltered landscapes. I was told that the village of Ainokura may be smaller than its more famous neighbor, but was equally worthwhile to visit - and so it proved. It is a stand of 20 houses, each with a straw thatched roof as is typical of the region. Yet this timeless landscape, with its shrines and temples, its stone walls and rice paddies, is not a museum but a thriving hamlet. You can take part in a washi papermaking workshop, sample the local specialties in one of its two restaurants, or even stay in one of its six ryokan (inns).

60 minutes by bus

20 minutes by train (JR)

30 minutes by train (non-JR lines)

  • BARON MATHIEU

    Dinner at hotel: Enraku, in Unazuki Hot Springs
    Beautiful table, just to see it is provides a good feeling; we can see all the work done for offering this meal. The Ryokan was so beautiful, the fact to have so many dishes with small portions is not common, and we can enjoy an real authentic Japanese experience. The food was delicious, the quality of service (especially waiters) was perfect, I enjoyed the moment a lot!

    Accommodation: Enraku, Unazuki Hot Springs
    The fact to sleep on the tatami is unique for me, it's a very local experience. The room was beautiful and I slept well on the futon. The onsens were very nice.

  • Clémentine Cintré

    Dinner at hotel: Enraku, in Unazuki Hot Springs
    After the marvellous sushi partaken at lunch, I could not wait to discover what was in store for my evening meal. I was not disappointed. The dinner served in the private dining room at the hotel, the Enraku ryokan, was a veritable feast. The cuisine was kaiseki, a meal of many dishes allowing a taste of local, seasonal specialties cooked in a variety of ways. Most dishes reflected the delicate flavors of the produce of Toyama Bay, with some autumnal offerings as well.

    Accommodation: Enraku, Unazuki Hot Springs
    The Enraku ryokan, located in the hot springs resort of Unazaki Onsen, provides a setting that is as refined as its cuisine. The traditional room I slept in was spacious and overlooked the Kurobe Gorge, which we would be visiting the next day. I was inspired to try out the hot spa of the establishment both in the evening and in the morning, as the two outdoor baths alternate between male and female, each offering a different experience. One is traditional, surrounded by large stones, while the other is modern, lined with cypress timbers from floor to ceiling that exude a captivating scent.

Day3

Kurobe Gorge Railwaymore

Kurobe Gorge Railway
A small open-car train that runs across the largest stone gorge in Japan. Open-car trains have a history spanning nearly 100 years. This was initially built as a means to carry workers and supplies for the Kurobe River electric plant development. Today it is one of Japan's famouns tourist trains, and allows you to enjoy different sceneries in each season and the onsen at each station overflowing with rustic beauty.
  • BARON MATHIEU

    Kurobe Gorge Railway: All the landscapes are beautiful, the landscapes are wild and we can see the nature all around us, it provides a nice feeling of freedom and peace that I very appreciated. After the walk, the landscape from the top of Kurobe Gorge offers an impressive view because the dam is very big. The history of all the steps of construction is also something interesting because we can understand better, how hard it was to create it.

    Lunch: Rest-in Keyaki (Keyakidaira Sta.)
    We have eaten a nice lunch, all the small portions are good and I enjoyed my meal. The view from the restaurant is nice.

    Healthian-wood: The architecture of the place is very special and unique I think. The restaurant is unique and we can feel it. The concept of this place is quite interesting for people who are looking for a place to relax and wondering to escape from the big cities. There you can connect yourself to the nature.

  • Clémentine Cintré

    Kurobe Gorge Railway: It was with almost childlike excitement that I boarded the little "Torokko" train that travels along the Kurobe Gorge and through its diverse landscapes. After 1 hour and 18 minutes, we arrived in Keyakidaira, the starting point for walkers and hikers. This was an opportunity to see some Japanese macacques up close, although they did not seem overly bothered by us (and I was awarded a certificate at the station for managing to photograph them!) Discovering that the tracks led to a number of hot springs, we made an impromptu stop at Meiken Onsen, just 15 minutes' walk from the station, for an outdoor soak in 40°C waters overlooking the gorge...so good, this one suddenly shot to the top of my all-time favorites list!

    Lunch: Rest-in Keyaki (Keyakidaira Sta.)
    Before getting back on the train, we had lunch at the Rest-in Keyaki in Keyakidaira Station. All sorts of Japanese dishes are on offer here while you keep an eye on the gorge through the floor-to-ceiling windows: udon, soba, curry and above all, the famous "black ramen" of Toyama with its dark and savory broth. For our part, we enjoyed a bento topped with a variety of local specialties, a great way to discover the regional cuisine and available for groups by advance booking.

120 minutes by train (non-JR lines)

  • BARON MATHIEU

    Dinner at hotel: Mori no Kaze Tateyama
    The dinner was delicious, there was many portions (not easy to finish everything). The taste and the quality were perfect. The private room is something not very common, so I appreciated this intimate atmosphere, The quality of the service was very good too.

    Accommodation: Mori no Kaze Tateyama
    Good location, nice large rooms. The temperature was just a little bit cold during the night, The onsen was big, there was different baths inside and one bath outside, I really enjoyed to relax there and to spend time watching the sky; for me it was one of my best feelings during the trip, because at the end you feel so light.

  • Clémentine Cintré

    Dinner at hotel: Mori no Kaze Tateyama
    That night, at the Mori No Kaze Tateyama hotel, we were served another kaiseki course in an elegant private dining room. The tasting menu, consisting of a great variety of dishes, offered a profusion of local in-season products from the classics of sashimi and tempura to some more surprising textures and flavors. This was an exploration of lesser-known aspects of Japanese cuisine.

    Accommodation: Mori no Kaze Tateyama
    The Mori No Kaze Tateyama hotel, situated near the start of the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, brings together service of high standard and a facility that is very welcoming for families: play areas for the kids, family rooms and a huge hot spring where you can try all manner of thermal baths. The choice of rooms and spacious suites means everyone can find something to suit: traditional Japanese rooms with futons or beds, Western rooms and even some "villas" with private spa and deck.

Day4

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Routemore

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
This is an alpine sightseeing route that passes through the Japan Alps with a series of mountains over 3,000 m in height. Visitors can enjoy a series of dynamic scenery by traversing the area in cable cars, ropeways and trolley buses. There are numerous courses ranging from those for beginners to experienced climbers, with routes offering easy hiking to serious mountain climbing. Other than that, along the alpine route are Japan's tallest dam, Japan's oldest mountain hut, Japan's highest altitude station, and a variety of other No. 1 sightseeing spots.
The route offers full enjoyment of the dynamic scenery that nature has to offer during different seasons of the year.
  • BARON MATHIEU

    Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route: Inside the Bus we saw many beautiful landscapes. Sometimes it was a pity that we couldn't stop and going outside for taking some pictures. When we arrived we could directly feel and breathe a pure air. The explanations of the guide were totally clear and interesting. The walk was good, around the lake we had a beautiful view on the surrounding landscapes. Because the dam is so large, the view from the summit of Kurobe Gorge after walking is impressive. The story of the stages of construction of the dam is also interesting, as it gives a good idea of how difficult it was to build. Then the walk was a little bit more complicated when we descended to the cave. For all the nature lovers, this visit is something attractive that can pleased a lot.

    Dinner: Ekiben, etc.
    The shops inside the station are providing (usually) many choices of bento and local food for reasonnable prices and the quality is good (it very cheaper than in France because in france you have only few shops/choices and it make the prices very expensive compare to the quality) There was many local gifts that we can buy so for me it is something very attractive for tourists (I even bought some omiyage gifts from the region for my Japanese collaborators). The station in itself is very clean, not like in France, toilets always clean too and it is something very appreciable for me. I do have a very positive impression about the station, and for the smokers you can even find smoking room on the station platform so the quality of service is very good!

  • Clémentine Cintré

    Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route: Our last day was dedicated to the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, which I knew from the photos of walls of snow over 10m high that tower over part of the road in the spring. But I was delighted to learn that a summer visit is just as highly recommended, as is a trip to see the autumn leaves which turn color earlier than they do in Tokyo. Early October was the ideal time for this, and we were blessed with magnificent weather. As much as the Tateyama Mountains are loved by hikers, the Alpine Route with its diverse modes of transport allows everyone to discover the landscapes and mountains without too much effort with stops and walks in various locations along the way. The route passes through the sacred mountains of Tateyama and their stunning volcanic landscapes rising to over 3000m, as well as Kurobe Dam, Japan's largest, impressive for its size, the power of its discharge and the scale of the construction, which required at least 10 million workers.

    Dinner: Ekiben, etc.
    From the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, we took a bus to Nagano Station, where I was able to buy an ekiben full of local flavors before boarding the Shinkansen bound for Tokyo. It was a journey of about 1.5 hours, during which I could calmly enjoy my dinner while reflecting on the last four days from the comfort of my seat.

100 minutes by bus

JR Hokuriku Shinkansen

Tokyo Station

  • BARON MATHIEU

    It was a very nice Famtrip, I discovered new things in Tokyo and in Toyama. All the restaurants and food we tried were delicious. The Teppanyaki and Sushi are authentic food from Japan and I am convinced that most of the people can love it. In Tokyo, there is an abundance of nature not far from the city center, and it has served as a source of healing and relaxation to people for many years. In addition, new spots that combine various facilities have been created, and I would never get tired of visiting them again and again. The nature is present everywhere in Toyama and according to me; that is a very positive point because after visiting the main big cities (like Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka) many people would like to discover some remote places. In particular, Shokoji Temple is one of the highlights, as it is a spiritual place and is part of Japanese culture, so everybody can be interested in visiting it. This is why I think Toyama Prefecture is a very attractive place. For the sensational aspect, Kurobe Gorge is an impressive place inside the nature, were people can make a walk and contemplate the power of water. According to me, Tokyo and Toyama can be a good combination for a travel.

  • Clémentine Cintré

    This trip was an exploration of the nature that has been preserved in the middle of Tokyo, as well as of Toyama, easily accessible from the capital. Each new destination is also an opportunity to learn more about local history and culture, not to mention unforgettable culinary experiences, thanks to the quality of the produce and the talented local chefs.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM OTHER TRAVELERS

I already visited this two places in the past, and I am always delighted to make the promotion of Japan on the French speaking market

BARON MATHIEU
Editorial Manager & Business dev
Reside in France
  • Hobby

    Tourism promotion

  • Number of visits to Japan

    Over 20 times

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM OTHER TRAVELERS

Tokyo is a city of excess and noise that lures us in with its skyscrapers, billboards and crowds. Yet as we discover on this journey, it is also possible to find nature spots and calm in the city. It is equally simple to jump on the Shinkansen for the great outdoors, culture and cuisine of Toyama Prefecture, just two hours away.

Clémentine Cintré
Editor-in-chief of Voyapon
Reside in Tokyo
Home country: France
  • Hobby

    Trip in Japan

  • Length of stay in Tokyo

    5 years

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