Toyama prefecture is particularly great for those that want to experience what nature Japan has to offer. Be it glaciers, mountain trekking routes, or old thatched roof buildings, Toyama is a snapshot of the simple, natural life. Ainokura Gassho Community
Like the Shirakawa-go community in Gifu prefecture, another UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, the Ainokura Gassho Community is a series of thatched-roof houses built in the traditional farm house-style. This building style has become very rare, and there are only a handful of communities that have preserved these buildings. Surrounding the village are small stone walls, rice patties, and forested mountains, making it look like you’ve time traveled to old medieval Japan. They also have places to stay, souvenir shops, and mini museums where you can learn about the traditions of old northern Japan.
Ashikuraji Oyama Shrine
Another place where you can enjoy the view is the Ashikuraji Oyama shrine, located near the Tateyama caldera. This series of three shrines are all dedicated to mountain worship, and are tucked away in the towering forests near the village of Ashikuraji. The forest shrine is located midway through the temple route, the main shrine being the Oyama Shrine. The main shrine, or Hongu, is located on one of the peaks of Tateyama, and looks straight out of a fantasy movie. It is on these rugged cliffs where people came to pilgrimage hundreds of years ago, and the view looks heavenly.
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route is a route that uses buses, cable cars, trains and ropeways to get across the Japanese Northern Alps. The route is probably most known for the 20 meter high snow walls that line the sides of the roads, as well as the Kurobe Dam that powers the prefecture with hydroelectricity. Murodo, one of the higher points of the route, also offers hiking trails for both experienced and inexperienced hikers. The entire route is usually open from mid-April to November. We recommend you visit during Autumn, as the mountains can be quite spectacular in color!
Kurobe Gorge Railway
Originally built to help construction of the Kurobe Dam, the Kurobe Gorge Railway is now a tourist attraction used to view one of the deepest gorges in Japan. The Kuronagi river runs through the northern alps, cutting through the mountains, and Kuronagi station is one of the first stops along the railway. Here, you can enjoy natural hot springs and a place to stay. Along the way at each station, there should be old-fashioned steel beam bridges to take pictures of, as well as unique little places that make each stop interesting. Like the Alpine route, going during Autumn is the best way to fully enjoy the views.