Stroll Around the Uchikawa Area in Kimono and Ride a Cruise Towards Toyama Bay (the Uchikawa Area, Imizu City, Toyama Prefecture)
Don’t you want to take a peaceful walk around the river while you feel the movement of the people living near Uchikawa? Here is a course that takes you on a walk around the Uchikawa River in a kimono and around Toyama Bay via the Shinminato Sightseeing Cruise!
First, Let’s Rent Antique Kimono at KIPPO
KIPPO is a store specializing in rental kimono for a stroll around town. Every kimono here was donated by mothers living in the Uchikawa area. These are fine silk kimonos that mothers used to wear when they lived with their parents or that were given to them by their family as a wedding gift. The kimonos were tailored more than half a century ago, but they are all beautiful, with fresh, compelling patterns and color combinations. With so many obis, obi sashes, and decorative strings to choose from, deciding might prove harder than you think. Kimono for men and kids are also available, as well as yukata rentals during summer.
A Leisurely Walk in a Nostalgic Fishing Town While Dressed in a Kimono
When you go out dressed in a kimono, even the scenery you see will seem nostalgic. Your gait naturally becomes more elegant, and you’ll truly feel you belong in a quaint fishing town. Walk along, and you’ll see charming sights like the warehouses storing floats used in the autumn festivals and a shopping arcade loved by the locals on the next street. The Uchikawa area is often used as a filming location for movies and TV dramas.
Take a Break at Banya Cafe, a Renovated 100-year-old Wholesale Merchant’s House
Next, take a nice break at Banya Cafe, a renovated 100-year-old wholesale merchant’s and fishing equipment warehouse. As the nearby Toyama Shinko Port was a port of call for Kitamaebune ships (northbound ships) from the Meiji to the Taisho periods, there were many wholesale merchants in the area. The wooden walls of the building, having been exposed to the elements for many years, seem to have history itself seeping into them. The cool air that envelops you as soon as you step inside is also a characteristic of old earthen-walled buildings.
Enjoy Banya Cafe's Specialty Waffles with a View of the Uchikawa River
In the renovated interior of Banya Cafe, there are large windows from which you can enjoy the view of the Uchikawa River. You’ll also be soothed by the peaceful and simple scenes of daily life, such as fishermen chatting and locals walking their dogs. The waffles come highly recommended; their heartiness and light sweetness will make you forget your fatigue from walking. Other menu items include famous sweets from confectionery stores around Uchikawa, served with a drink, as well as more substantial meals that use soy sauce and koji (malted rice) from a nearby soy sauce brewery.
Speak the Dialect of Toyama, Have Fresh Conversations with Local Fishermen
Connecting with locals is one of the real thrills of travel. If you stroll about in a kimono, fishermen and other locals might cheerfully come over to chat. How about asking about Toyama Bay, fish you can catch during that particular season, or recommended spots in the Uchikawa area? It’s the perfect chance to find out things only locals know.
Hop Onboard the “Shinminato Sightseeing Cruise” from “Kawanoeki Shinminato” and Cruise Toyama Bay
Hop on the “Shinminato Sightseeing Cruise,” receive friendly waves from those walking along the shore, and feel the warmth of the townspeople's cheerful personalities as they greet you, their visitors. Also, the sounds reverberating from the engine as it slowly putters along, along with the retro seating and interiors, evoke a sense of nostalgia. The trip, known as the "Uchikawa River and 12 Bridges Tour," starts in the Uchikawa River and continues out into the open sea. If the weather is nice, you'll also be granted a view of the Tateyama Mountain Range beyond the waters.
*A reservation is required when boarding from Kawanoeki Shinminato.
The Bay’s Attendants, Soaring Gulls
Toyama Bay has many attendants of sorts – the gulls. Should you go out on deck lured by their calls, the gulls will soar around the boat, guiding your journey. Buying snacks from the boarding cabins for the flying guides (100 yen) is one of the many ways to enjoy the Shinminato Sightseeing Cruise. Being gulls, catching their prey with their beaks is their forte, so toss a snack and watch them gracefully spread their wings and fly about.
Moved By the Splendor of Toyama Bay. Shinminato Bridge and Kaiwomaru Await
Stop by Kaiwomaru Park and alight once more. Beyond the open water, the magnificent Tateyama Mountain Range towers before you. The combination of the Shinminato Bridge, one of the largest cable-stayed bridges this side of the Sea of Japan, and Kaiwomaru makes for a dynamic sight considered one of the cruise’s best features. After going round the Shinminato Bridge, you’re greeted by cargo and loading docks, all characteristic of a trading port. The sea wind caressing your cheeks will make you want to stay forever.
With a Return to Kawanoeki Shinminato, the 50-Minute Tour Comes to a Close
As you return from Toyama Bay and go around the tracks of the Manyo Line, you're once again greeted by the charms of the fishing village quickly making their appearance. Although the Uchikawa River is only around 3.4 kilometers long, it is crossed by twelve bridges, including the burnt red Azumabashi Bridge, the Sannou Bridge decorated by four hands carved from marble, and other uniquely characteristic bridges. Gazing up as the bridges pass overhead might make you a little nervous, though. The 50 minutes of this riveting trip, spent introducing you to the many facets of the fishing village, has now come to an end. The boat will once again disembark and head towards Kawanoeki Shinminato.
Get “Oranda-yaki” at Uoma Kashiho as a Souvenir
Why not buy the famous "Oranda-yaki" as a souvenir at Uoma Kashiho, just a short walk from "Kawanoeki Shinminato"? The waffle-like sweets are enormous, crunchy, and have a subtle vanilla aroma. You can hand them out to family and friends while relating pleasant memories from your trip.
What did you think about this walking and cruise tour of the Uchikawa area and Toyama Bay? We hope to see you in this fishing town where you can immerse yourself in a nostalgic mood!
How to Book
You can book the Kimono Walking Tour and the Uchikawa River and 12 Bridges Cruise from the links below.
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