Manhole Cover : Toyoma City

Toyama

Toyama City is famously known for the Shiragawa Village.  This sewerage cover depicts Gassho Zukuri houses with some snow falling on it.

 

Toyama Castle

About 10 minutes walk from JR Toyama Station you can find Toyama Castle.

Toyama Castle
It was built around 1543. It is also called Azumi Castle.

The castle ground is opened to the public but if you want to get inside, you need to pay. Unfortunately, the castle was still closed when I got there so I just roamed around and catch a glimpse of it’s beauty.

Toyama Castle The back of the castle. Toyama Castle
These stones where used in building the castle.

Toyama Castle

Front view.

Kurobe Gorge Adventure

Everytime I see this Japan adevertisement of a train running on a red track across the river with a beautiful nature all around, I feel like dropping everything and find that place.

For this summer, I decided to go to Toyama but I had no idea where to go. A few days before vacation starts , I searched for places to visit which does not cost a fortune.

I found Trini Traveller’s blog and I got the information and booked my train ticket to go to my next adventure 🙂

I prebooked my ticket for the train here (Sorry only Japanese). The round trip ticket costs : 3,420 yen.

The Kurobe Torokko Electric Train starts from Unazuki Station (宇奈月駅) and since I stayed in Toyama area, I need to take another train to Unazuki Onsen Station which is about 1 hour 30 minutes and cost 1840 yen , one way. From Unazuki Onsen Station, it’s about 3 minutes walk to Unazuki Station.

I totally forgot that tourist places like this always have some kind of free pass and  unfortunately I noticed it on my way back. The ticket cost 2,500 yen for Summer and 2,000 yen during Winter.

So let’s start the tour.
Unazuki Station. It was pouring when I got to the station.I arrived an hour before my scheduled train departs so that I can check out around the station and get some breakfast and maybe find a manhole cover. Train Schedule. You cannot just get  on the train.
Their is no assigned seats, so if you want a good one, you need to line up early. My train is next (10:03) so I`m lining up already. Once people go in, they would run to the train so make sure to move fast.

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From the second floor of the station, there is an observation area and you can see the Shin-Yamabiko (Moutain Echo Spirit) bridge where the train will cross it. It was called yamabiko by the fact that the sound of the train passing by echoes in the hot spring town.

Unazuki Dam Once we crossed Yamabiko bridge, we saw Unazuki Dam which is the newest dam in Kurobe Gorge area and was completed last 2001. Shin Yanagawara Hydro- Electric Power plant
Next we passed by a tower but actually a Hydro-Electric Power Plan (Shin Yanagawara)

Suspension bridge for Monkeys

Next is a Suspension Bridge hanging 15 meters over the lake and was specially made for monkeys to be able to traverse one shore to the other.

Hotokeishi (Stone Buddha) Hotokeishi (Stone Buddha). It not man-made but a natural rock formation that bears an uncanny resemblance to the stone Buddha. Another hanging bridge
Another hanging bridge, looks like it`s for human. It would cool and scary to be able to cross it.

to the tunnel we go Leaving Kuronagi Station and about to cross the last part of Atobiki Bridge before entering the tunnel. What is under the bridge ?
What`s under the bridge? Water 🙂 You can clearly see the bottom. The train is open so it`s exhilarating.

Dashidaira Dam We arrived in Daishidaira Dam. Untitled
Would love to stop the train and enjoy the beauty of the place.

We made a short stop and Dashidaira Station while the train going back to Unazaki arrives
Not out train :)

Misty River We passed by this lake with mist all around it. It feels like I`m in some kind of fantasy land. Approaching Kanetsuri Station
Approaching Kanetsuri Station. You can also stop at Kanetsuri Station, it is one stop before Keyakidaira(Last stop). I did not have time to explore and actually did not have much information on tickets so I stayed with my original plan and checkout Keyakidaira first.

Last stop : Keyakidaira Welcome to Keyakidaira. Now, before I boarded the train, their was an announcement that the rain is still pouring so having a rain coat is advisable, so I got one. As soon as my train left the station it stopped, so I did not need the rain coat at all. But as soon as I arrived in Keyakidaira, it poured again. My umbrella was enough though, but the raincoat helped protecting my bag 🙂 I have about 3 hours to explore the place before my return train. So let’s start exploring around Keyakidaira station. First stop is Okukane Bridge. It is 34-meters high above the river and has a really nice view of the river and the surrounding place. Like this : Keyakidaira Station from afar

Okukane Bridge Let’s cross the bridge. After crossing the bridge, you will reach Hitokui Cave Hitokui Iwa (People Eating Crag)

Some view while walking up
Untitled My next way is Sarutobi Gorge The route to Sarurobikyo (Monkey Jumping Gorge)
But before you can reach it , you need to walk into this tunnel.

View around Sarutobikyo Almost there.The kanji mean, Monkey Jump. I heard one of the maintenance worker explaining to a guest, that since a Monkey jump into the gorge, it has been called Monkey Jumping Gorge. It’s an observation platform with a great view. View around Sarutobikyo

View around Sarutobikyo

The rain started again and decided to grab some coffee and noticed that there is a free access to the rooftop and had an amazing view of the whole place
View of Okukane Bridge//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

On the way back, I was seating in the opposite side of the train and was able to see this aqueduct
Aqueduct//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

It was a nice adventure. I’m pretty sure this place will be very scenic during the autumn.
During the winter season, they close the railroad.
So if you are around Takayama area, I highly recommend visiting Kurobe Gorge and enjoy the view.

One more wish granted. 🙂

Summer 2014: The Dam Adventure

The next morning during breakfast we finally met with Miss I who arrived in Matsumoto a few days ahead of us. After a few minutes of discussion, it was decided that we will visit Kurobe Dam, which is considered to Japan’s highest dam.

Miss I drove us around and took a really great route to Kurobe Dam. The parking area were full so we had to park a few minutes away , where we could take a bus to the top. Then from there, we well take the electric operated bus all the way to the entrance of the Dam.

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The electric operated bus that will take you to the entrance of the dam itself.

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Noticed the electric cable attached to the back of bus?

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We took the route that will take us to the top to have a better view of the dam and it’s surrounding.

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Even on summer, the nearby mountains still have snows on them.

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The dam.

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We were able to get closer.

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Watching it on top, we saw a rainbow.

Y and I took a short walk around the dam, while Miss I and Mr.G decided to take the cable car to the top.

Took a panoramic view of the place. It was really beautiful.
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A view from the dam itself.

If you ever find yourself in the area, I definitely suggest visiting the dam itself. It was great work during the time in Japan where technology was still in it’s infancy. A real work of Japanese ingenuity that will hopefully stay on and continue for future generations.

Manhole : Gokayama

I found this in Ainokura, Gokayama which is part of Nanto(南砺) City , Toyama Prefecture. I have been searching for meaning in this symbol but I have not found one yet. For now I present you the Ainokura , Gokayama 🙂
Gokayama, Toyama Prefecture