Guideto JapanCulture History
Toyama Prefecture is located in the Hokuriku region of Japan. It is surrounded on three sides by land, with Toyama Bay and the Sea of Japan lying to its north. The Tateyama mountain range towers in the southeast of the prefecture, rising above 3,000 meters. Cloudy skies and precipitation are common through much of the year.
Toyama Prefecture at a Glance
- Established in 1871 (formerly Etchū province)
- Capital: Toyama
- Population: 1,035,000 (as of Oct. 2020)
- Area: 4,248 km2
Visitors can cross the mountains of Tateyama via the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route leading to Nagano Prefecture. The route is known particularly for its “snow corridor” near the highest point of Murodō, with great white walls that reach up to 20 meters high between April and June. Picturesque farmhouses with steep, thatched roofs at Gokayama have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, together with neighbors at Shirakawa-gō in Gifu Prefecture. Kurobe Gorge’s scenic railway offers spectacular views of the river below and surrounding peaks.
Toyama Prefecture is a major rice producer, while the city of Tonami is well known for its tulips. Toyama Bay supplies a great deal of fresh fish and seafood, including the local delicacy, the firefly squid. Traditional medicine salesmen who used to travel the country laid the foundations for today’s robust pharmaceutical industry in the prefecture. The city of Takaoka produces over 90% of Japan’s copperware, and the metal-casting industry is symbolized by the local Daibutsu, or Great Buddha.
- Fujiko F. Fujio (1933–96): The creator of Doraemon, one of Japan’s most famous characters.
- Ueno Chizuko (1948–): Feminist, sociologist, and writer, known for her highlighting of issues like gender inequality.
- Hosoda Mamoru (1967–): Director of anime films including The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Wolf Children.
(Originally published in English. Banner photo: The Onnaiwa rock on Toyama Prefecture’s Amaharashi coast with the Tateyama mountain range in the background. © Pixta.)
For the complete list of the country’s 47 prefectures, see “The Prefectures of Japan.”