The prefectural capital, Toyama City, is located
almost at the center of Toyama Prefecture. The
city developed as a 100,000-koku castle town
(koku: unit of measurement to assess the wealth),
and now has been flourished as a city on the
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route and the gateway to
the Kurobe Valley. Over the years, the city has
also become known nationwide as a town of
medicine. Toyama City's rich nature, with water
and greenery, is another asset that the city can
boast. The city faces the magnificent Tateyama
Mountain Range in the east and Toyama Bay, which
is called the treasury of seafood, in the north.
The green Toyama-joshi-koen Park is situated in the remains of Toyama Castle, and has been loved by people as a place to relax. The Matsu-kawa River, which flows around the park, is well-known as a spot for viewing cherry blossoms and can be enjoyed from a cruise boat. Along the river, works by local sculptors are exhibited. The Minzoku Mingei-mura Village (folk art village) places Gohyakurakan, or more than 500 luohans facing Mt. Tate-yama, and is composed of a medicine museum and a folklore museum that exhibit excavated artifacts, agricultural tools, and folk art to show you how people used to live in those days.
In April 2006, Toyama Light Rail, Japan's first full-scale LRT (Light Rail Transit) began operating. Since then, the light rail system has played a significant role in forming a public transportation network and revitalizing the central area of the city, while receiving nationwide attention.
Takaoka City, located west of Toyama City, is the birthplace of Ecchu culture. Otomo Yakamochi, the famous poet known for "Manyo-shu" (the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry), used to live here and wrote a number of excellent poems in this city.
Since the city was built more than 400 years ago, it has left a number of cultural assets such as Zuiryu-ji Temple (a national treasure) and maintained a traditional atmosphere. The scenery of the 3,000-meter-high Tateyama Mountain Range, which you can see over the ocean from Amaharashi Beach, is regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world. Takaoka is also a city of commerce and industry, with 170,000 inhabitants and an international trading port. The city has many industries, such as aluminum, copperware, paper/pulp, and medicine, whose volume is the highest among the cities located on the Sea of Japan side.