Toyama belongs to the coastal side of Japan Sea.
In winter, the strong wind coming from the Asian continent, scoops moist air ascending from the sea, bringing it towards Tateyama mountain range and finally dumping it on the region. This means it snows a lot in Toyama during winter. When that happens, temperature hits -3 to -5 degrees and the snow accumulates as much as 100cm, even on the city area of Toyama. So please make sure to put on snow boots when you walk Toyama in a snowy day or you will take trouble stepping even 100 centimeter ahead!
In addition, you should be advised that the weather pattern changes easily in winter here.
For example, one day you may feel comfortable with the clear winter sky but…
In next 30 minutes, you may happen to see the dark and cold clouds covering the sky.
That kind of thing often happens in Toyama.
So please prepare both a down jacket and wind breaker so as to adjust the warmth you feel with your clothes. If you still feel cold, get a disposable body warmer (“kairo” in Japanese) which is attachable to your cloth.
A package (10 pieces) of kairo is available for about 300 yen at every convenience store in Japan!Now let me show three snow view points in Toyama city.
Kureha hill, located west of Toyama station, shows the iconic landscape of Toyama city.
You can walk to the hill in 30 minutes or use a bus and walk there in 10 minutes.
Kureha hill has an elevation of 120 meters even at the highest point. You can see a breathtaking scenery there.
If you would like to see a good snow landscape in the city area, Matukawa river area would be the best recommendation.
This is where you can see a beautiful small river and stylish walk, which I think the best place for leisure time in Toyama.
You can reach to the river easily by walking south for 10 minutes from JR Toyama station.
There is a walk along the river. This quarter is characterized by seven unique bridges built in Showa period and gas lamps installed in Taisho period (You will get more information in my future articles). In order to see Matsukawa river, why not stay in Toyama Manten hotel near the river instead of a convenient hotel in front of JR Toyama station? The river is a stone’s throw from the hotel and you can enjoy the deck-like large bath room (public) with a great scenery of Tateyama mountain range through the window.
Toyama is not such a big city as Tokyo and Osaka.
In fact, you can visit a huge rice field by train not more than 30 minutes from the center. If you feel like walking a spacious rustic road without thinking anything, Ohirota (pronounced like oh-hirota) would be one of good choices.
In order to get to Ohirota, please take a train of ainokaze-Toyama railway, get off at Higashi-Toyama station (10-15 minutes from Toyama station), walk north for 10 minutes and you will see the huge snowy field and Mt Tateyama.
There are nothing special around here for ordinary tourists, however, indulging yourself in walking will surely be your special experience here.