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Spending a Day Exploring Toyama

Posted By on Oct 13, 2014

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Toyama is a city rarely visited by foreign tourists, although it is a popular destination for locals, especially in the Takayama area. While many people come to enjoy larger shopping malls and a more varied assortment of restaurants than what they have back in Takayama, there are other places of interest that make Toyama a worthwhile city to visit.

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The Toyama Folkcraft Village is a nice place to start your day. The area can easily be reached both by car and public transportation. There is a free museum bus that departs across from Toyama’s main train station, which will take you there.

The village is actually not a village, but a theme park showing Toyama’s history and culture. Inside the park you’ll find a folk art museum, a ceramics studio, a tea house, an art museum and a medicine museum showcasing the 300-year history of Toyama’s medicine practice.

There is also an interesting clay doll studio with displays explaining this fine art. You can buy these local, traditional clay dolls as well as have a doll-painting experience.

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After spending some time exploring the Folkcraft Village, my favorite spot is just a short walk from there.

This place is called Gohyakurakan, meaning the “Hill of 500 Buddhas”. Hidden away in a forest in the Kureha Hills, the site is very underrated. It consists of 500 stone statues all depicting Buddha’s disciples.

The statues are all lined up along a hill overlooking Toyama city. They are draped in colorful ribbons and prayer flags, and each face was unique with varying expressions.

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The site was built over a 50-year period beginning in the early 19th century, but no one seems to quite know its history or why.

Exploring the statues along the hill, there was almost no one else in site. The peace and quite really added to the serene atmosphere, and it was easy to look track of time wandering up and down the rows of statues.

Part of the allure of the area is being able to explore and wander in the silence. It provides an almost eerie contrast against the animated faces of the statues.

Address: Place/1118-1 An-yobo,Toyama City

[post by Beth]

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Beth Williams

Originally from Chicago, Beth got her first true taste of travel when she studied abroad in Japan during her final year of university. She ended up loving Asia so much, she found herself moving right back upon graduating and is currently teaching English full-time in Hong Kong. Armed with her camera and a passion for travel, she is currently on a mission to photograph the world-- proving that you can work the normal “9-5” and still find time to travel on her blog Besudesu Abroad.

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