Toyama City: Entryway to the Tateyama Mountains and the Alpine Route
Toyama City, located west of Tokyo on the main island of Honshu near the Sea of Japan, lies on a plain formed by meltwater flowing through the Jintsu River, Jyoganji River, and others descending from the surrounding snow-capped peaks. In addition to its agriculture, Toyama has historically hosted many industries thanks to the convenience of shipping across the Sea of Japan, and an abundance of water power from the nearby rivers. Toyama Bay is also well known for its fishing areas teeming with local varieties of yellowtail, squid, shrimp, and crab.
A 70 meter observation tower has been built atop Toyama's city hall. You might be able to get a nice view from the upper floors of city halls or prefectural headquarters in other parts of Japan, but Toyama's separate tower, with access free of charge both to city residents and visitors, is a rare treat.
Upon getting off the elevator, I was treated to a sweeping 360 degree view of Toyama City and the stunningly clear blue skies surrounding it.
The most popular sight from the observation tower is the Tateyama mountain range to the southeast. The 3000 meter expanse will soon be covered with snow, turning the entire range completely white.
The famous "Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route" is a journey by cable car, ropeway, bus, and more, traversing Mt. Tateyama and eventually emerging in Nagano Prefecture. It runs every year from April through November, meaning it will soon conclude for the winter. When the route reopens next spring, buses will once again run between the massive walls of snow that no doubt will accumulate in the months to come.
I hope you have a chance to experience the delicious seafood of Toyama Bay and the spectacle of Tateyama's Alpine Route. Toyama City is a great destination!