Four Roadside Stations That Will Make Your Road Trip More Enjoyable-1

Four Roadside Stations That Will Make Your Road Trip More Enjoyable

In Japan, there are rest facilities for drivers called "roadside stations" located along public roads. However, they are not only equipped with rest areas and restrooms, but also serve as tourist facilities with restaurants and commercial facilities where you can buy souvenirs.

In Toyama Prefecture, there are many unique roadside stations. Find out more about them in this article.

Wave Park Namerikawa Rest Stop, Located Right Next to the "Hotaruika Museum" (Firefly Squid Museum), the Only Museum in Japan That’s Themed Around the Firefly Squid

Located about a 10-minute drive from the Namerikawa Interchange on the Hokuriku Expressway, “Wave Park Namerikawa Rest Stop” is a roadside station that has a museum, cafe, souvenir shop, and restaurant.

The "Hotaruika Museum" (Firefly Squid Museum) is the only museum in Japan dedicated to the firefly squid, and offers fun ways to learn about the ecology of this mysterious creature from Toyama Bay. They offer activities such a firefly squid lights show and firefly squid fishing.

In addition to the firefly squid, you can also learn about other creatures that live in the deep parts of Toyama Bay.

At “Michi Cafe Wave” in Wave Park Namerikawa Rest Stop, there is a wide selection of famous delicacies with a focus on fast food that can be eaten with one hand, so that you can easily enjoy Namerikawa City's specialties.

In addition to exquisite warm dishes such as deep-fried firefly squid and glass shrimp croquettes, they also offer a wide variety of sweets, including sweets that are cute representations of firefly squid and conger eel. The fried, bite-sized firefly squid is crispy and perfect as a snack! It's so delicious that you can eat it all in one go.

The Firefly Squid Soft, a representation of the firefly squid, is a cute and photo-worthy soft-serve ice cream. Don’t forget to take a quick photo before it melts. In addition, the mini parfait that depicts a spotted garden eel, is a sweet and savory treat!

The souvenir shop also offers a variety of Toyama's delicacies! You will find a wide selection of carefully selected local sake, seafood, and other delicacies that are perfect as snacks. Have fun looking for souvenirs that you can enjoy even after you return home.


A Large Statue of Kannon (the Goddess of Mercy) is the Landmark! Roadside Station Manyo no Sato Takaoka

“Roadside Station Manyo no Sato Takaoka,” located near the Takaoka Interchange on the Noetsu Expressway, boasts one of the largest selections of souvenirs in Toyama Prefecture, and is the perfect place to look for souvenirs.

Takaoka City is also the birthplace of the creator of Doraemon, one of Japan's most popular anime. So, many Doraemon merchandise are sold here. If you like Doraemon, please stop by!


This roadside station is also attracting attention as a roadside station that offers dishes with strong visual impact, such as a chicken curry that’s 4 to 5 peoples’ worth of servings, and the 10-tier Goddess of Mercy soft-serve ice cream. You’d want to try them at least once!

The 10-tier Goddess of Mercy is three times taller than regular soft-serve ice cream. If you love vanilla flavored soft-serve ice cream, please give it a try!

You can ask the staff for an extra cone, so you don’t have to worry about having to finish it alone as you can share it with someone.

If you are looking for a souvenir, are a Doraemon fan, or just want to fill up on good food, please visit!

“Road Station Taira,” Where You Can Experience Toyama's Traditional Culture

Located about 20 minutes from the Gokayama Interchange on the Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway, Road Station Taira offers visitors the opportunity to experience the traditional culture of Toyama by making washi (Japanese paper).

In the Japanese paper making experience, you can make a postcard with your favorite Japanese paper decorations. The craftsperson will carefully teach you how to make Japanese paper, so there’s nothing to worry about!

The process takes about 30 minutes and is a great way to experience the art of Japanese paper making while you are exploring Gokayama. What’s more, the finished Japanese paper is warm and inviting, and makes a great souvenir.

The finished postcards can be sent to anyone by affixing a stamp. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to send a postcard from Toyama Prefecture? It’s sure to become a nice memory of your trip.

The store also sells bookmarks and other small items related to Japanese paper, as well as Gokayama's specialties. You can purchase souvenirs that are unique to Gokayama.

In addition, at the restaurant "Furusato," you can enjoy a wide variety of Gokayama's delicacies, such as char and wild vegetables.

Gokayama is known as one of Toyama's most popular tourist spots, and no matter which season you visit, you can enjoy stunning scenery.

As this roadside station is located near Gokayama, why not stop by while sightseeing in the area?

Enjoy Fish Shipped Directly from Toyama! Himi Banya-gai, the Harbor Market of Himi Fishing Port, Where You Can Enjoy Everything from Souvenirs to Hot Springs!

Located an 8-minute drive from the Himi Interchange on the Noetsu Expressway, the Himi Himi Banya-gai harbor market features 30 restaurants serving Himi beef, Himi winter yellowtail and other seafood directly from Himi Fishing Port, as well as Himi-style curry and other popular delicacies.

There are many restaurants to choose from, from those offering small bites to those offering heavier meals, so you can enjoy a variety of tastes that can only be found in Himi.

In addition to restaurants, there are also many souvenirs available.
There are shops selling seafood, from fresh fish to dried fish, as well as a wide variety of products unique to Himi, such as sweets and knick-knacks. All of them look so tempting that it is hard to decide which one to buy.

Also, Himi Banya-gai even features hot spring facilities such as a footbath and a public bath with natural hot spring water. The footbath is free of charge. Sit on a footbath chair, dip your feet in the hot water, and let the water warm you up.

When the weather is nice, you can see Toyama Bay with the Tateyama Mountain Range as its backdrop from the windows of the footbath facility.

Located beside Himi Banya-gai is Himi Soyu, a natural hot spring with free-flowing hot-spring water that is popular with locals and tourists.

After enjoying plenty of delicious food, you can pick up souvenirs and relax in the hot springs to relieve the fatigue from your travels, all at Himi Banya-gai. Here, you can enjoy some of the best that Himi has to offer even if you don't have much time.


Which roadside station would you like to visit? When you come to Toyama on a road trip, why not stop by one to take a break, have a meal, or look for souvenirs?

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