All About Japan

Different Elevations: From Sea to Mountain

| The Wonder 500 , Toyama

Seafood from Toyama Bay: Why It's So Tasty

The Tateyama Mountain Range rises about 3,000 meters (9,842 ft) above Toyama Bay. Melting Snow and rain from the highland forests flow into the bay, washing down rich organic material. This creates ideal conditions for the development of huge amounts of plankton for fish in the bay to eat.

The conditions are improved further by another phenomenon of natural geography in the bay. The water in Toyama Bay has three different zones: water near the coast, water flowing in with the Tsushima Current, and water lying at the bottom. Each zone has unique characteristics offering different habitats for different kinds of marine life.

Added to all this is the fact that the unique configuration of Toyama Bay and the nearby Tateyama Mountain Range has created what is known as an "indigo pot," a dark blue reservoir delineated by the depth of the sea and the shape of the high mountains. There is a difference in elevation of about 4,000 meters (13,123 ft) within a short distance! The gradient is especially steep near the coast, so the fishing grounds are close to the ports, and fish can be saved very fresh indeed.

Why not look at a few spots where you can fully enjoy the flavors of Toyama Bay, from its fruits of the ocean and land to its history and culture?

1. Unazuki Onsen Hot Spring Spa

One of Toyama Prefecture's best hot spring spas is undoubtedly Unazuki Onsen. It is located in a steep valley by a lush green bank of the Kurobe River, and will welcome you with Japanese-style inns, Western-style hotels, riverside outdoor baths, and even hot springs for soaking tired feet. The spa waters gush out clear and alkaline, steaming hot at 87.8°C (31°F) and copious in amount—3,000 tons per day! The water is gentle on the skin and the air is cool, creating ideal conditions to rest your body and soul.

2. River Retreat Garaku

This hotel beside the Jintsu River is a tranquil place to enjoy a forest in a mountain valley. The lobby and lounge feature a spacious atrium, and each room has a unique design. These elements and the corridors are decorated with a total of about 300 works by contemporary artists, creating an atmosphere akin to an art gallery. Skilled chefs use famed ingredients from the Hokuriku region to offer scrumptious meals at the restaurant L’évo, helping to create memories of a wonderful journey in Japan.

3. Historic Iwase Hama

Jump on a streetcar from Toyama Station and ride for about half an hour to the Iwase district. There, along the main road, are old warehouses of shipping agents and the residences of rich merchants. They stand as witnesses to the history of trading along the coasts of the Sea of Japan during the Edo Period (1603-1867).

The residence of the Mori Family is now designated as an Important Cultural Property. Its doors are made from sturdy Yakushima cedar and its beams from Noto black pine. They highlight the architectural styles of those days. In lease Hama, you can experience the unique atmosphere of wealthy trading town and stores for travelers on an ancient post road.

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