NHK WORLD > NHK WORLD TV > Journeys in Japan

Tue, May 16, 2017 Uchikawa: A retro river townscape *This program was first broadcast on Oct. 11, 2016
*You will leave the NHK website. *You will leave
the NHK website.

This neighborhood lying alongside the Uchikawa River in Imizu CIty, Toyama Prefecture, has been a thriving fishing port for over 1,000 years. Because of its proximity to the water and its unified townscape, it has been nicknamed the "Venice of Japan." Through the centuries, people in this district have lived alongside the river, protecting and handing down their traditional lifestyle from to the next generation.

This river runs for about two kilometers east-west, just inland from Toyama Bay. This area is known to have been inhabited since the Nara Period (710-794). With its calm atmosphere and retro architecture, the neighborhood alongside river is very peaceful and relaxing.
Azuma House (Real-experience House Azuma)
Azuma House (Real-experience House Azuma)
This house is available for people to stay in, if they want to experience what life is like in the area along the Uchikawa river.
Address: 17-1 Hozoju-machi, Imizu City, Toyama Pref.
Phone: +81-766-82-2668
Shin-minato pleasure boats
Shin-minato pleasure boats
Visitors can enjoy a 50-minute boat ride following a circuit route along the Uchikawa River to Toyama Bay and back. The boats depart once an hour.
Address: 2 Kaio-machi, Imizu City, Toyama Pref.
Phone: +81-766-82-1830
Shin-minato Kittokito Market
Shin-minato Kittokito Market
This market offers fresh seafood straight from the nearby fishing port, along with other marine products. There are also stalls where you can eat fresh fish dishes. To observe the crab auction, group tours need to reserve in advance.
Address: 1 Kaio-machi, Imizu City, Toyama Pref.
Phone: +81-766-84-1233
Hojozu Hachimangu Shrine
Hojozu Hachimangu Shrine
This venerable shrine dates back to 746.
Address: 2-2-27 Hachiman-machi, Imizu City, Toyama Pref.
Café Rokkakudo
Café Rokkakudo
A former tatami-mat workshop has been renovated and now houses a café. The interior of this 70-year-old building is a striking blend of traditional architecture and contemporary design.
Address: 1-20-13 Hachiman-machi, Imizu City, Toyama Pref.
Phone: +81-766-30-2924
From Tokyo, take the Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo to Toyama Station, then transfer to the Ainokaze Line to Takaoka. From there, you take a local train on the Manyo Line to Shinmachiguchi Station. In all, the journey takes about three and a half hours.
Travel Log

Traveler: Kyle Card > More Info


Occupation:actor / talent

Length of residence in Japan:8 years

Reason:Improving my Japanese and work as an actor

For my third "Journeys in Japan," I had the opportunity to visit the ancient fishing village of Uchikawa, in Toyama Prefecture. I call it ancient, as the local history is said to span back over 1000 years, and it used to be the central hub of the region. Uchikawa is located directly beside Toyama Bay and the ocean waters flow inland to form a river around which the village was erected and continues to stand today.

Toyama Bay has deep undersea canyons, which allow the local fishermen to easily catch shallow-water fish as well as deep-sea fish, all in a small, localized area. Due to this natural phenomenon, the people of Uchikawa have a strong respect and appreciation for the ocean and the prosperity it has and continues to bestow upon them.

Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples and Onzohan (mini-shrines) blanket the town and surrounding area, in worship and admiration of the local gods and nature. In Uchikawa, people have a strong relationship with nature and respect for the bounty that the ocean provides.

This give-and-take relationship goes beyond just worshiping. The fisherman also practice eco-friendly fishing techniques, and only take what they are "given." They live by the moral axiom of "No fish tomorrow, no fish next year." So by preserving a healthy relationship with the eco-system in which they make their living, the people of Uchikawa continue to ensure their future livelihoods as well.

It was this aspect of my Journey that touched me most: the locals of Uchikawa recognize their prosperity and do not take it for granted. They count their blessings, so to speak, every day and express their gratitude for them. It was refreshing to see that in the modern world, where people tend to lose sight of their blessings, a place like Uchikawa exists that is continually conscious of and relentlessly grateful for theirs.

*You will leave the NHK website.