Chubu region refers to the area in the middle of Honshu island of Japan, including prefectures that have been a rising star recently for their photogenic destinations, such as Shirakawa-go in Gifu Prefecture and Gokayama in Toyama Prefecture. The area also houses Ishikawa Prefecture with Kanazawa, the center of gold leaf in Japan, and the home of the original Japanese dinosaurs, Fukuisaurus and Fukuiraptor. Last but not least, to start exploring the Chubu region, visitors from Singapore are recommended to arrive at Chubu Centrair International Airport, located in Nagoya City.
Read below a list of spots you should not miss once you can travel to Japan again. On top of that, getting a Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass would be handy (and save a lot!).
Nagoya Castle’s Hommaru Palace
Nagoya Castle’s Hommaru Palace, the icon of Nagoya City, was completed in 1615 under the first feudal lord of Owari. Unfortunately, the palace and much of Nagoya Castle were destroyed in wartime air raids of 1945, however using Edo period plans and other historical records, the Hommaru Palace of Nagoya Castle has been under restoration since 2009 and was authentically restored in 2018 to its original magnificence.
Many somei yoshino trees, several weeping cherry trees and small numbers of less commonly seen cherry tree varieties are planted, making up over 1,000 cherry blossoms trees on the precinct.
Kawaramachi District (cormorant fishing)
Kawaramachi District in Gifu City is a quaint neighborhood on the banks of the Nagara River, famous for its cormorant fishing. The area is also famous for the local catch, Ayu (sweetfish) and you can try Ayu dish at one of the restaurants Kawaramachi Izumiya.
After having your lunch, strolling around in the streets lined with old-fashioned Japanese houses. You can also find small stores with skillful artisans making the traditional craftwork “Gifu Uchiwa” (flat fans), or “Gifu Wagasa” (Gifu Japanese umbrellas).
Udatsu Wall Historical District
In Mino City, you can see the rising streets of Udatsu. Udatsu Wall Historical District. The street lined up with buildings having a distinctive structure called “udatsu,” a firewall made on both ends of the roof to prevent fires. In addition to “udatsu,” Mino City is also famous for its washi paper, and you can find art using washi on display throughout the city.
Shirakawa-go in Spring
Shirakawa-go is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan. When the weather slowly warms up you can enjoy beautiful cherry blossoms from mid-April to early May.
The combination of traditional Gassho-zukuri houses and cherry blossoms is a sight not to be missed!
Toyama City and the Port tram
When visiting Toyama, why don’t you take a ride on local transportation, Toyama Port tram that runs through the city.
Toyama Port tram runs to the north from Toyama Station, connecting Toyama City to the port town of Iwase. This transportation serves as a means of transportation for citizens and tourists’ attractions.
Iwasehama Beach and Traditional Townscape of Iwase
The beach town of Iwase features historic streets, which thrived on Kitamaebune-ship sea trading, and the Port of Toyama, the sea gateway to Toyama City. Take the tram from Toyama station in about 25 min for a panorama view of the Toyama Bay.
Tonami Tulip Park
Tulips are the prefectural flower of Toyama Prefecture, and Tonami City is one of the leading tulips producing areas in Japan. Every spring, Tonami City holds a tulip fair where 3 million tulips are spread out as far as the eye can see around the city.
The Tulip Marche, a market held near Tulip Park, is a popular spot that attracts many visitors.
The location and schedule may change for each event, so please check the website in advance.
Shinminato Kitokito Market
Another great place to try fresh seafood in Toyama is at Shinminato Kitokito Market. You can enjoy a wide variety of fresh and delicious fish from Toyama Bay in each of the four seasons, including white shrimp, benizuwai crab, and firefly squid!
Kazue-machi Chaya District (Spring)
Kazue-machi Chaya District is lined with old-fashioned restaurants and teahouses along the Asano River. At dusk, you can hear the sound of shamisen and taiko drums played by geisha, creating an atmosphere. While teahouses populate one side of the street, the other is lined with mature cherry blossom trees overhanging the river.
Kanazawa is famous for its gold leaf, which accounts for 99% of Japan’s gold leaf production.
Crafts using gold leaf are famous, but it is also a very popular ingredient to be added in food. In particular, we recommend the Hakuichi “Gold Leaf Kagayaki Soft Ice Cream”, which is covered in a luxurious edible sheet of gold leaf.
Rojo Park, Ishikawa
Rojo Park is famous for its cherry blossoms, which are lit up with about 600 bonbori when in full bloom. You can enjoy beautiful flowers in every season, including wisteria flowers and other flowers.
On your trip to the central Japan region, don’t miss a stay at the famous Awara Onsen! Spend a relaxing time in the hot springs to relax your body and mind. The next morning, you can enjoy walking around the hot spring town. If you get tired, there is a free public foot bath close to Awara-Yunomachi Station.
The Asuwa River Cherry Blossoms
The Asuwa River is a must-visit spot in Fukui in Spring. This place is one of the 100 best cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan. With a 2.2km-long tunnel of breathtaking sight of cherry blossoms along the river.
What to buy: Wakasa-nuri chopsticks
Wakasa-nuri chopsticks from Fukui Prefecture are famous Japanese crafts that you can find in this area. People love them due to their durability against heat and water, and are also very popular as souvenirs. And at Hashino furusatokan WAKASA you can make your original chopsticks too.
What to eat: Toyama Shiroi Ebi (White shrimp)
Toyama is famous for seafood, including white shrimp, also known as the “Jewel of Toyama Bay. If you visit Toyama Shiroi Ebi is a must to try dish! It is characterized by its soft sweetness and rich flavor.
One of the restaurants that served shiroi ebi is Shiroebitei, located in Toyama Station. You can enjoy an excellent dish made with white shrimp and Toyama koshihikari rice.
How to do it: Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass
Moving around Chubu Region will be easy and Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass can help to cut your cost. With this, you can enjoy an unlimited ride on designated JR local and limited express trains, Hokuriku Shinkansen and buses along the route, including the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Shin-Takaoka to Kanazawa.
Get your pass here when traveling to the area: https://bit.ly/3Gs1LyK
Above: The Hida Limited Express train runs along with major sightseeing spots in this area, for example, between Mino City to Takayama City.
Credit: Central Japan Area