Flourishing as the historical centre of Tajima, Toyooka is an attractive city along the banks of the Maruyama River. It’s renowned for its oriental white stork reintroduction program and the Ankokuji temple, as well as being near the castle town of Izushi and Kinosaki Onsen.
Things to do in Toyooka
Get up close to elegant white storks at the Homeland for the Oriental White Stork, which has been created to protect this endangered species. Birds bred here are released into the Ramsar-listed wetlands of the Maruyama River, which runs through Tokyooka and its surrounding basin.
Spend an afternoon exploring the Zen Buddhist temple of Ankokuji, which dates back to 1345. Admire the 100-year-old azalea tree that ignites a brilliant red during autumn and explore the old temple ruins along its pathways, which are lined with hundreds of Japanese camellia trees.
A short hop south of Toyooka is the charismatic castle town of Izushi, where traditional Edo-era buildings are clustered with soba noodle restaurants. Admire the 19th-century Shinkorou clock tower and walk between the red torii gates that lead to the Arikoyama-inari shrine, then soak up the views across Izushi’s traditional streets from its ruined castle.
To the north of Toyooka are the hot springs of Kinosaki Onsen, which is home to the 1,000-year-old Koman Ryokan. Stroll along the willow-lined river wearing a yukata kimono, soak in the public bath houses or at a traditional ryokan, then try your luck in one of the retro gaming and target shooting arcades.
Getting around Toyooka
Toyooka is around two hours’ drive from Osaka International Airport and there are daily flights from Osaka to Tajima Airport. Buses travel throughout Toyooka and connect to the surrounding towns.