1 Day Tour from Kanazawa: Takaoka's Temples, Metalworking Experience and Stunning Toyama Bay Views
All Year Round
08:00 - 18:15
1 Day Tour from Kanazawa: Takaoka's Temples, Metalworking Experience and Stunning Toyama Bay Views
Abutting the remarkable Toyama Bay, Takaoka is a city with a diverse history of over 350 years. Known as the “Kitchen of Kanazawa”, it produced large amounts of food, metal working and pottery. As the second city of the Kaga Domain, much wealth was poured into the city, mostly in the form of building great temples. Two of those great temples, Zuiryuji and Shokoji, still remain and are considered National Treasures. On this tour you will see those temples, try your hand at metalworking and see the Amaharashi Coast with a view of the snow-capped Tateyama mountains in the background.
- Visit the temples of Zuiryuji and Shokoji, Japan National Treasures, and learn about the interesting of a not often traveled part of Japan.
- Try your hand at metal-working in a city historically famous for it through making your own tin drinking cup or chopsticks rest.
- Explore Amaharashi with its beautiful views of the small island with the impressive Northern Japanese Alps in the background.
*For those looking to join the tour from Tokyo, please see the FAQ Section below
This tour will start at Kanazawa Station at 8:00 A.M., where your guide will meet you in front of the Information Center near the Shinkansen Ticket Gates. You will have the opportunity to put your belongings in a coin locker or send your luggage to the next hotel as well if you feel the need. Once you have left the inside of the station building, we will get on the shinkansen and take the short trip to Takaoka Station.
First we will walk to Zuiryuji Temple, the 350 year old temple that was built for the death of the second generation Maeda leader, Maeda Toshinaga. This is one of the aspects that make this temple unique, that in the place of a Buddhist god in the main altar, it is the o-ihai, or mortuary tablet of Maeda Toshinaga. It was built to be a grand tribute so a great amount of wealth was spent to make it in the grand continental style of temple design.
There is also an altar of Buddha in a central location on the temple grounds that used the highest quality Japanese timber, with the highest quality materials imported from China for the statues. The final interesting aspect to mention is the statue of the god of toilets. It is believed that the one in Zuiryuji is the only one in existence because, historically, just the name of the god on a placard is used in bathrooms.
As we head to the next destination we will travel back through Takaoka Station before arriving at the Takaoka Big Buddha. There has been a large Buddha here for centuries but the current metal Buddha is from the 1930’s, after a fire a few decades earlier. The inside includes many interesting pictures, especially the depictions of Buddhist hell, which look very familiar to those who have seen some of the European Renaissance paintings of hell. Also inside are some metal origami cranes and chimes. They are meant to represent your sound for the year, which based on your Chinese zodiac sign.
The tour will next head through the old town. Here you can see some culturally important buildings in a Meiji modern style. The dark blues and white create a surreal atmosphere that gives off a classic Japanese-Western mixture type of area. The final destination is the Kanaya District which was the center for metal-working in the city starting from 1609. The traditional Japanese buildings line the street and sometimes you can hear the clanking of hammers.
Next you will get to try making your own drinking cup. In this experience you will be able to design, pour and cool your own metal cup. This is definitely an activity that you will never forget and be able to take home a small souvenir that easily fits in any suitcase or carry-on!
After the metal-working experience we will head back towards Takaoka Station and have lunch along the way. Ask your guide for recommendations of where to go. Toyama prefecture is famous for its seafood and ramen so look for those types of shops for your lunch.
In the afternoon we will hop on the Himi Line train and head towards Toyama Bay. It’s a short ride until we arrive at the closest station to Shokoji, another National Treasure. It was originally built in 1471 before being moved to its current location in 1584. The inspiration for the architectural design was the Chinese Song Dynasty and the interior of the temple is amazing with its generous amount of gold-leaf throughout, the great example of the wealth and expertise of the Kaga Domain.
The last stop of the tour is a quick stop to see one of the famous views of Toyama prefecture. You have about 30 minutes to hop off the train to get a great glimpse of the very small rocky island covered in a handful of trees with the background of the imposing and beautiful Tateyama mountain range. When it is a clear day in the colder months you can clearly see the snow capped mountains in the distance. The rough Toyama Bay surf on the ocean makes a great contrast to those mountains. Even during less clear days, the island itself is picturesque and the colors of the brown-gray rocks, green trees and blue-green and white ocean is really something to marvel at.
After a long day we will finally take the train or bus back to Takaoka Station. Along the way you can still see the mountains in the Toyama Bay over the city while remembering all the historical and beautiful places you saw during the tour. From Takaoka Station we will get on our final train back to Kanazawa where we will say our goodbyes. Enjoy the rest of your time in the city!
|Start your tour at Kanazawa Station, where your guide will greet you begin the tour.
The meeting point will be outside the shinkansen ticket gate, in front of the information center sign. We will then head to the shinkansen to take the train to Takaoka at 8:26.
|Arrive at Shin-Takaoka Station. You will have time to go to the bathroom before heading out. It is about 15 minutes on foot to the first temple of the day.
|Arrive at Zuiryuji Temple. We will take our time walking through the grand layout and historical decorations and architecture. Make sure to take a long look at complexity of the ceiling of the central Buddhist alter and the statue of the toilet god in the main alter.
|Next, we will see the Takaoka Daibutsu or Big Buddha. A large Buddha has been in this spot for hundreds of years but after it burned down, a bronze version was made. This city is famous for its metal working so the redesign was right up their alley.
|After finishing seeing the Takaoka Daibutsu, we will take a stroll through two of the traditional preserved street of the city. The buildings in these areas are form various times but mostly the late 1800s and early 1900s. The mix of local construction techniques with "modern" design make for a type of architecture that is not well preserved in any other part of Japan.
|Time to start the metalworking experience! You will carve your design into a sand mold, pour the tin into to the mold and watch as your creation becomes a reality. It is really is amazing to participate along with masters of the craft that have passed on the craft for generations. And of course, you can bring your creation home with you.
|It's time for lunch! Feel free to ask you guide for recommendations in the area. There is some Japanese-style Western food, soba and ramen in the area.
|Meet-up at the location designated by your guide and you will head back to Takaoka Station
|Get on the train and arrive in Fushiki. On the way up to Shokoji we will see some interesting historical buildings, such as the first private meteorological station founded in Japan in 1883. Shokoji itself was once the center of Buddhism in the old province of Ecchu(modern Toyama) and it shows with its stunning golden interior.
|Hop on the the train again and get off at Amaharashi to see the magnificent views of the mountains surrounding Toyama Bay. If it is a clear day we will walk around the area and get a few different angles of different natural landscapes in front of the mountains. There are observation points, too, that can help you get see more of the area in your shot. If the weather isn't cooperating, there is a shrine with a cave underneath as well as some other nice natural formations. They look beautiful regardless of scenery, or lack thereof, behind them.
|Get on the bus or train back to Takaoka Station. If the weather is clear or we have a good view of the mountains we will stay until the later time. If weather is poor or there is low visibility we will probably take an earlier mode of transportation back. We will also transfer at Takaoka Station before getting on the final train of the day.
|Arrive back at Kanazawa and say goodbyes! Thank you for joining the tour and if you want any recommendations for food options for dinner in Kanazawa, feel free to ask your tour guide.
TOUR MEETUP POINT
1 / KANAZAWA STATION @ 8:00 A.M.
The meetup point is outside of the Shinkansen ticket gates, in front of the information center. If you are heading out from the gates, look forward and to the right and you will see a large ‘?’ inside of a circle, which is the sign under which we will be meeting. For those coming from outside the station, you will find this sign immediately inside of the East Entrance of Kanazawa Station. You may wait nearby there until the tour begins at 8:00 A.M. Be sure to look for the guide wearing a SNOW MONKEY RESORTS tour tag.
- Transportation to and from Takaoka and between all destinations during the tour.
- English speaking guide
- Entry fee at Zuiryuji and Shokoji Temple
- Kanayamachi Metalworking Experience Fee
- This tour involves several hours of walking in the outdoors. We recommend that you wear shoes and clothes which are easy to walk in. Please check the weather forecast before you head to the meetup point and prepare an umbrella or rain coat if necessary.
- In winter the temperatures will be below 10℃ at the high , and in the morning and evening may be close to or below 0℃. Please wear warm clothing and footwear appropriate for snowy and cold conditions. There may also be snow and ice on the road/sidewalk, and so you should take care to not slip by preparing the correct shoes for such conditions.
- There will be free time along the way for guests to enjoy the locations at their own pace. However, please make sure that you are at the respective meetup points at the time stated by your guide. If you get lost or need assistance, feel free to call the number which is listed on your tour pass, and our staff will assist you immediately.
- I’d like to join this tour from Tokyo/Nagano. Is that possible?
- Yes, it is possible to do so!
For those coming from Tokyo, please ride the Shinkansen departing Tokyo Station at 6:16 A.M., to arrive in Kanazawa at 8:43.
For those leaving from Nagano, you can catch the same Shinkansen from Nagano Station at 7:38 A.M.
Please feel free to contact us if you would like more information.
- Can I choose to end the tour in Takaoka, instead of returning to Kanazawa?
- Yes, you may stay in Takaoka.
Feel free to contact us if you are interested in the tour and would like to amend any part of it.
- What should I wear/bring?
- Please wear clothing appropriate to the season in which you are taking the tour, and check the weather forecast ahead of time. Guests may wish to bring rain coats or umbrellas on rainy days, or sunscreen to avoid sunburn during the summer months. In the winter months, the air temperatures will be cold (10 to -5 ℃ on average), and so gloves, winter boots, warm hats, and hand warmers are recommended. Otherwise, please feel free to bring any other items, such as water or a snack, which you would normally carry when walking in the outdoors.
- Can I add accommodation to my tour booking?
- Yes. We can help book accommodation for guests who will be spending the night in Kanazawa, or nearby areas. Please send us an inquiry if you would like to request help.
- Is this tour wheelchair accessible/appropriate for guests with limited mobility?
- The nature of this tour means it is not wheelchair accessible and may not be appropriate for guests with limited mobility, given the amount of walking involved. Should this be of concern, contact us prior to booking to discuss options.
- Is lunch included on this tour?
- No. This tour does not include lunch however there will be opportunities to purchase food and drinks during the tour. If you prefer to, please also feel free to bring snacks and drinks with you.
(Travel Agency License No: Nagano 2-562)
Snow Monkey Resorts Tours
Nagano City Kurita 1015-7, NK Copo 202, Nagano, 380-0921 Japan
Member of All Nippon Travel Agents Association
Travel Service Supervisor: Tomoko Kasahara
All Year Round
08:00 - 18:15