Toyama’s Takaoka City: A city of Japanese heritages
The quiet coastal city of Takaoka (高岡市 Takaoka-shi) is less known than the Toyama Prefecture’s (富山県 Toyama-ken) capital city of Toyama (富山市 Toyama-shi) but nevertheless it hosts many cultural and natural heritages worth visiting, thanks to its heyday as a centre of industry and its prime location. Directly accessible by the Hokuriku Shinkansen (北陸新幹線) at less than 3 hours from Tokyo, it’s not as far as you would imagine.
Historical merchant and craftsman districts
The historical district of Kanayamachi. (Image credit: photoAC)
Takaoka was once famous for its metalwork. Walkers will enjoy strolling in the historical districts of Yamachosuji (山町筋) and Kanayamachi (金町) which make up Takaoka city’s merchant and craftsman districts. 90% of Japan’s bronze metalwork is produced here—which means that many of Japan’s bronze temple bells seen around Japan were likely cast in Takaoka. Some of the quaint wooden buildings were unfortunately lost in a fire in 1900, but some were rebuilt in brick or wood and mud known as Dozō-dzukuri (土蔵造り)–creating an interesting mix of architecture to be viewed. Some of these residences can still be visited today.
Zuiryuji Temple. (Image credit: photoAC)
Zuiryuji Temple (瑞龍寺 Zuiryū-ji) is an important temple of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism. Completed in 1613, it features magnificent examples of beauty and symmetry. The High gate, the Buddha-Hall, and the Dharma-Hall were designated as National Treasures in 1997.
The Great Buddha of Takaoka
The Great Buddha of Takaoka. (Image credit: photoAC)
Most people have visited the Daibutsu (大仏 Great Buddha) of Nara and Kanagawa, but they may not know about Japan’s third-largest: the Great Buddha of Takaoka (高岡大仏 Takaoka Daibutsu). Together, they make up the triad of Japan’s three largest Buddha sculptures. At an impressive height of 16m and 65 tons of weight, it represents Takaoka’s bronze industry.
Amaharashi Coast Quasi-National Park
Onna Iwa off the Amaharashi Coast. (Image credit: photoAC)
The Amaharashi Coast (雨晴海岸 Amaharashi Kaigan) is part of the Noto Hantō Quasi-National Park (能登半島国定公園 Noto Hantō Kokutei Kōen). This picturesque landscape attracts photographers from all over Japan attempting to capture the famous Onna Iwa (女岩) rocks with the towering 3,000m snow-capped mountains of the Tateyama Mountain Range (立山連峰 Tateyama Remine) in its background. The scene is sure to awe and was designated as one of Japan's 100 Most Beautiful Beaches (日本の渚百選 Nippon no Nagi Hyakusen).
If you’re interested in Toyama Prefecture and looking to branch out past Toyama City, then stop by Takaoka City for a relaxing stroll through its historical districts and natural scenery.
Getting to Takaoka
A tram in Takaoka City. (Image credit: photoAC)
Getting to Takaoka couldn’t be any easier with direct access by shinkansen. From Tokyo it’s a direct trip via the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen. The trip takes a little over 2 hours and takes you directly into town. From here most of the attractions are within a kilometre or two and thus easily accessed by foot. Takaoka also has two tram lines. The Himi Line (氷見線 Himi-sen) will take you to the Amaharashi Coast, which is less than 30 minutes away.
Header image credit: photoAC