ACanal Cruise from Fugan Canal Kansui Park to the Port Town of Iwase, which Prospered through the Kitamaebune Trade (Toyama City, Toyama Prefecture)
Take a cruise ship directly from the Fugan Canal Kansui Park in central Toyama City to the port town of Iwase. You can experience Toyama’s rich nature along with the town of Iwase, which has retained its historical feel. As you head back to Toyama Station from Iwasehama Station, hop on the symbol of the diverse railways of “RAILWAY KINGDOM TOYAMA, the LRT (a new generation train). This popular course allows you to tour around the northern part of Toyama City.
An Oasis of Healing Water and Greenery a Mere 10-minute Walk from Toyama Station
Fugan Canal Kansui Park, a mere 10 minutes from Toyama Station's North Exit, is an oasis in the city. An abundance of water flows in the canal running through the center of the park, which is surrounded by lush greenery. Many visitors are attracted by the park's natural beauty throughout the changing seasons, along with the lights that illuminate the waterfront. Don't forget to take a picture of the Tenmon-kyo Bridge, which spans the center of the park and is perfect for a view of the Tateyama Mountain Range! We also recommend a run or walk in the mornings during your trip.
Directly to Iwase via a Sightseeing Boat on the Fugan Canal
Within the park, there’s a harbor for the Fugan Suijo Line. Although you can take a round trip to the “Nakajima Lock,” this time around, we chose the course to Iwase, which prospered through the Kitamaebune trade. This popular course also includes an LRT ticket from Iwasehama Station back to Toyama Station. Once the boat departs, your guide treats you to the history of the canal and its migratory birds. Your heart is filled with warmth from the people of Toyama as they wave while you pass beneath the beautiful stained-glass windows of Kiba Bridge.
Experience a Water Elevator with the Famous Panama Canal System!
The Nakajima Lock gate is getting closer. Whenever a boat arrives in front of the door (the lock gate), the door at the rear (facing Fugan Canal Kansui Park) closes with a snap — just like the Panama Canal we all learned about in grade school. The steel doors are riveted together to keep the water out, and when the water level dropped 2.5 meters, the door towards Iwase opened, and off the boat went.
Gaze Out on the Impressive, Unique Views of a Trading Port
We thought we saw a stone pillar in the middle of the canal, but it happened to be a marker indicating that Toyama Port starts from that point. Since Toyama Port is used for trading, we saw many large ships as we got closer to the sea, and here the wind was much stronger. The Higashi Iwasemachi area was nearby the Toyama Port Observation Tower on the right, which is where we were headed. As we disembarked, we found an eco-friendly slow-mobility vehicle known as the "Boule BaaS" in the test drive Iwase Canal Hall's parking lot. We decided to ask for a ride to the old highway, Hokkoku Kaido.
Visit the "Doshoya Baba Family," a shipping agent that made its fortune through the Kitamaebune trade.
The town of Iwase prospered through the Kitamaebune trade. We arrived at the "Former Baba Family Residence," home of shipping wholesalers said to have made the most money during the trade. As we entered the house, I was surprised by the long passageway called "Tooriniwa. The 33-tatami mat hall has sturdy beams, and the kitchen and bathrooms retain a retro feel. The greenery seen through the glass panels sparkles so much that you'll be enchanted.
For Souvenirs and Snacks, Try Iwase's Specialty "Otsukaya" Triangular Dorayaki
Otsukaya, located along the old Hokkoku Kaido highway, sells dorayaki, which is considered to be a specialty of Iwase and is characterized by its triangular shape. The shape is believed to be inspired by the rough waves of Toyama Bay, and Iwase is the only place in Toyama that makes said triangular dorayaki. The rich red bean paste is made using red beans from Tokachi, Hokkaido, and Toyama’s fresh eggs are used for the dough. As these dorayaki are only sold at Otsukaya and at Iwase Canal Hall, they are a staple of Iwase. Each bag contains two dorayaki, making them a perfect snack between strolls.
Comparing Masuda Shuzo Brewery’s Rare Sake at "Saseki".
“Saseki” is a shop located in the Miyagi Family Residence, which used to be a shipping agency, and the thick tree towering in the store was given to the store by Zuisenji Temple in Nanto City after it was struck by lightning. The store carries more than 100 varieties of sake from Masuda Shuzo Brewery, a brewery in Iwase, and offers tastings for a fee. There are also rare brands that are not brewed often, so don’t miss your chance to try them all. Visitors on the Fugan Suijo Line will receive a free glass of the day’s recommended brand if they purchase a special wooden sake cup (220 yen) for tasting.
Head to Iwasehama Station on the Toyama Chiho Railway after Viewing Iwase
On the way back to Toyama Station, we walked to Iwasehama Station to board the Toyama Chiho Railway Toyamako Line Portram (formerly the Toyama LightRail). While we waited, an LRT (light rail transit) with a white body and orange lines arrived. Trains arrive every 15 minutes from 9:00 to 16:00 from Iwasehama Station to Toyama Station, so there’s no need to worry about your departure time. The history of Iwase and its development through the Kitamaebune trade was introduced near the station.
Riding a Quiet Tram to Toyama Station
On the line from Iwasehama Station to Toyama Station, the distance between the train line and the surrounding houses and stores is small, so you can observe the lifestyles of the locals. Some stations even have quizzes and such thought up by local elementary school students posted on the platforms, which makes us smile. The LRT cars are also very comfortable, as the ride is quite smooth.
Our Trip Full of Fun Comes to an End
The 7.6-km, 25-minute tram trip comes to an end with its arrival at Toyama Station. In addition to the tramcar shown here, there are a total of eight colors, and the Centrum and Santram trains also operate on this route. Toyama Station has a dedicated platform for Toyama Chiho Railway’s trams, and if you head in the direction of Toyama Station, you will also find a new commercial facility, MAROOT, that opened in March 2022. Why not take a short trip to Iwase using the Fugan Suijo Line and the tram? You’re bound to have a memorable time.
Walking Around Iwase, which Developed through the Kitamaebune Trade
The Higashi Iwase area of Toyama City prospered as a port for Kitamaebune trade ships. Even now, the houses of the wholesale merchants are lined along the Hokkoku Kaido (the main street), and they retain strong reminders of those days. The nostalgic and quiet townscape has been gradually changing, with the storehouses being renovated and used as restaurants, liquor stores, and artists' studios. Feel free to learn more about how to enjoy the Iwase area.See More
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