Wedged between the Oyabe and Shokawa rivers as they flow into Toyama Bay, Takaoka is a lively port once famed for its bronze industry. It’s clustered around the charismatic old town of Kanayamachi and the ruins of Takaoka Castle, while also being home to a magnificent temple and a fine art museum.
Things to do in Takaoka
At the heart of the city lies Takaokakojo Park where the ruins of Takaoka Castle are surrounded by water-filled moats. Admire the statue of Sengoku Period samurai Maeda Toshinaga and delve into the local history at Takaoka City Museum, then join the daily penguin feeding at Takaoka Zoo.
Wander over to the Takaoka Great Buddha, an immense bronze statue considered one of the three Great Buddha statues of Japan. Appreciate its skilled bronze craftsmanship and see the original head of the 18th-century wooden Buddha that the modern statue replaced.
Visit the 17th-century temple of Zuiryū-ji, which is reached through a kirizuma-style wooden gate adorned with plum blossoms and lions. Explore the Buddha Hall that combines Japanese and Indian architectural styles and admire the floral motif decorations of the Dharma Hall.
Art enthusiasts should visit the Takaoka Art Museum, which boasts an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, metal and lacquer work. In addition to showcasing the artistic traditions of Takaoka City, the museum hosts an exhibition by the great manga cartoonist, Fujiko Fujio.
Getting around Takaoka
Takaoka is around 2.5 hours by train from Tokyo and three hours from Osaka. Trams, trains and buses travel throughout Takaoka.