Road Trip on Johana and Himi Line (Part 2)

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Road Trip on Johana and Himi Line


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Road Trip on Johana and Himi Line (Part 2)

We continue our two-day trip on the JR Johana Line and JR Himi Line in Toyama Prefecture. We have spent the first day travelling on the JR Johana Line. After dinner at Takamasa, we resume our search for hotels. We finally manage to check into Manten Hotel, which is a minute's walk from Takaoka Station.

The next morning, we explore Takaoka, which was a bustling castle town in the Edo era. The refined old architecture of the buildings and the Takaoka Buddha are among the many attractions found here. We drop by a coffee shop called Ranzu and order the breakfast set, which includes eggs, bread and coffee. We then head to Takaoka Station, which connects the JR Johana and JR Himi lines. On the second day, we’ll be visiting places along the JR Himi Line.

We board the 9.45am train and go to Nomachi Station, two stops ahead. We reach the station about 10 minutes later and we opt to take the 12.10pm train next, so we have over two hours to explore the area. We stroll around the residential neighbourhood near the station. A resident suggests we try a dish called totomaru at a coffee shop called Wonderful. Unfortunately, it is not open yet so we have to seek other recommendations. After walking around for 1.5 hours, we are unable to find any popular local spots.

With time running short, we return to the station and take the train to Amaharashi, three stops down the railway line. We are thrilled to ride on the Ninja Hattori-kun train again. A passenger on the train tells us that when we reach the final stop Himi, we should visit the marionette clock. The popular manga character Ninja Hattori-kun emerges from the clock every hour. He also tells us to check out a rock formation called Benkei Iwa at Amaharashi, which is connected to famous warrior Minamoto no Yoshitsune.

We arrive at Amaharashi Station after a scenic 15-minute ride along the Sea of Japan. We decide to take the train which will depart 1.5 hours later at 2.10pm. We walk for about 10 minutes to Benkei Iwa. Yoshitsune and his retinue were driven out by the Kamakura shogunate and said to have sought shelter from the rain in the Amaharashi Iwa rock formation. Legend has it that his loyal servant Musashibo Benkei moved the rocks into place and built the cave where Yoshitsune took shelter.

After this, we continue exploring the area and ask people to recommend a place where we can have lunch. We are told about Yokiya, a restaurant which is popular among locals and visitors too. The restaurant's speciality is locally sourced fresh fish. An example is fukuragi, which is a type of yellowtail. Besides yellowtail sashimi, we also try dishes such as "zan", which includes koji miso paste, and "ara jiru", a soup made by boiling yellowtail.

We return to Amaharashi Station and travel for around 10 minutes to Himi Station. It is two stops ahead and is also the last station on the JR Himi Line. We first visit the recommended marionette clock, located near a bridge. At the top of the hour, manga character Ninja Hattori-kun makes an appearance from the clock as part of a mini performance.

After this, we make our way to another recommended spot, Himi Banyagai. Along the way, we pass by the Himinoe Bridge, from where we can see the Tateyama mountain range. We finally arrive at Himi Banyagai, a roadside rest stop which opened in 2012. The facility offers a staggering array of items such as seafood from the Himi Fishing Port and local products made in Toyama. There is also a food court and foot hot spring here. We eat at Himimae Sushi, a popular conveyor belt sushi restaurant which draws huge lunch crowds. It mainly serves seafood from Toyama Bay, such as red snow crab and Himi yellowtail.

We want to end our two-day trip in Toyama Prefecture by soaking in a hot spring. The Himi coast boasts about 20 hot spring resorts. A local tells us to go to a hotel called Himi no Hana. By the time we reach there, the day spa is closed. The hot spring is open through the evening to the inn’s guests but the proprietors are kind enough to grant us access. The inn opened in 2006 and the hot spring contains sodium chloride, which is said to relieve fatigue and beautify one’s skin. From the hot spring on the second floor, guests can enjoy the view of the Sea of Japan and the Tateyama mountain range.


1) Visit Amaharashi’s Benkei Iwa rock formation which is connected to famous warrior Minamoto no Yoshitsune
2) A popular attraction in Himi is the Ninja Hattori-kun marionette clock