My friend living in Toyama strongly recommended joining the Hotaruika Boat Tour and to visit Yaomachi town’s Owara Kaze no Bon festival, if we visited Toyama Prefecture. When we went to Toyama to see the Kurobe Dam, we stayed at Yaomachi’s traditional inn, Miyata Ryokan. We could not see the festival, but enjoyed the old town atmosphere.
Miyata Ryokan was established in the late Edo era, in the mid 1850’s. It has an elegant and stylish design. We stayed at one of the best connected rooms facing the main street. The Tatami mat at our room was clean for laying and rolling.The inside of the Ryokan had historical pillars and stairs and it created a comfortable atmosphere. During Owara Kaze no Bon festival, guests can see and enjoy the festival through the main street from the guest room at Miyata Ryokan.
When we stayed at Miyata Ryokan, there were no cars and people on the main street. It was quiet and the light on the street was just enough to see around. The contrast of houses on the street and night sky was romantic and beautiful.
Breakfast at Miyata Ryokan
Grilled fish for breakfast was very tender and juicy. It was impressive to know Toyama’s rich and healthy foods. My kids seriously considered how they could start to live in Toyama where people can enjoy skiing and fishing and wonderful foods. It was hard to convince them not to do it now. We tried to explain how it would be difficult to drive in heavy snowfall areas in winter, however my kids insisted how good it would be to grow up in Toyama.
Old Merchant Street
Yaomachi became prosperous with sericulture, having produced and traded silkworm eggs since the Edo era in the 17th century, and it was called the silkworm town until World War Ⅱ. Yaomachi was said to pay 60% of duty for the Toyama clan at that time. Yaomachi’s merchants developed its culture with their huge fortunes.
Old merchant houses that sold raw silk and Japanese paper still exist on Suwa Honmachi Street. Next morning, we walked around Yaomachi. Old houses were well maintained and some had arranged flowers at the entrance with a high sense of beauty.
Owara Kaze no Bon festival
You can enjoy Owara Kaze no Bon festival in early September to pray for a good harvest and to prevent wind disaster. There is a pre-festival at the end of August. You can see the Ecchu Owara Bushi dance during the festival season. The Ecchu Owara Bushi has been performed for more than 300 years.
We walked on Suwa Honmachi Street and went to Ida River walking through Zendera Slopes. Zendera Slopes was developed to transport merchant goods from Ida River.
The Zendera Slopes was located on the riverbanks in order to enter Yaomachi town.It was enjoyable to see the slopes from Ida River with stone wall and potted plants. If you look back from the bridge at Ida River, you would enjoy a panoramic view of Zendera Slopes.
How to get there:
By Train & Bus
From Toyama Station, take Hida Express to Ecchu-Yao Station (16 mins) and walk for 30 mins to Miyata Ryokan. You can take a bus from Idashin bus stop near Ecchu-Yao Station to Higashimachi bus stop for approximately 20 mins.
From Tokyo, take Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train (3 hours) to Kanazawa Station and head to Kenrokuen Garden and Kanazawa Castle, to see traditional Japanese style garden and old castle. Then make your way to 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art to experience amazing arts.