Every spring season, we eat Hotaruika, firefly squid and know spring has come.

I was eager to visit Hotaruika Museum in Namerikawa city, while visiting Kurobe Dam in Toyama. It takes about 40 mins by car or public transportation from Toyama Station.

The information panel of Hotaruika was only in Japanese, but the illustrations clearly explained the biological system of Hotaruika.

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Panels on Hotaruika

Toyama’s Hotaruika is so popular. Hotaruika lives at depths of 200-600 m in deep sea. Its skin and eyes are light-emitting organs. When it is attacked, it emits pale light. From March to June, they come toward the seashore for spawning.

Hotaruika Fishing began more than 400 years ago in Namerikawa city. Because of the Toyama Port’s landscape, the Hotaruika fishing grounds and fishing port are so near. It takes only 15-20 mins to the seashore. After being caught, the Hotaruika is immediately transported to keep its freshness.

Hotaruika Tour Boat is available every spring season to see Hotaruika fishing at midnight. We can not ride in the fishing boat, but we can see the fishing boat at close range.


Hotaruika Tour Boat

Hotaruika Museum has a special exhibition with live Hotaruika from March to May, which explains how Hotaruika emit light.

Live firefly can only be seen during spring season at Hotaruika Museum. During other seasons, we can see deep sea fire-emitting plankton.

You can touch and feel Toyama’s crustaceans at their Touching Pool.

Crab in the Touching Pool

Crab in the Touching Pool

Before having a barbecue lunch, we visited Uozu Buried Forest Museum and Uozu Aquarium in Uozu city. It takes only 20 mins from Hotaruika Museum to Uozu Buried Forest Museum.

  I had never heard of Maibotsurin, a buried and preserved forest before, but it sounded mysterious and interesting.


Submerged forest

Uozu Buried Forest is a primitive forest trail that was formed 2000 years ago. The age of trees is about 500 years and their diameter is more than 2 m.

The forest was buried by sediment from the River Katagai and preserved well by the groundwater, which came from rain at 1,000m altitude and flowed to the ground over a 10 to 20 year period.

The tree is still kept by the groundwater of River Katagai as a display. The shape and color was so strange and unique. It takes one hour to see around and it is well worth doing.


Preserved tree

The size of Uozu Aquarium is not huge, but the exhibition contents are very substantial.


Uozu Aquarium



Fish Market Shinkiro is located near the Uozu Aquarium. We had grilled seasonal fish just caught in the Uozu fishing grounds.

Barbecue at the Fish Market

Barbecue at the Fish Market

We could not swim near the Uozu Port, but we chatted with local people who were fishing and catching small crabs.


Port near the Fish Market


Small crabs

Ishikawa Prefecture lacquerware is more famous than Toyama’s. However, I liked the design, touch and feel of Takayasumi’s Uozu lacquerware.

Uozu lacquerware

Uozu lacquerware

In the early 1930’s, there were more than 300 stores in Uozu city, but currently Takayasumi lacquerware is the only workshop.