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Mizuho Kannondo Temple

The Mizuho Kannondo Temple is a Buddhist temple that is said to have been founded in the 8th or 9th century. The temple has been rebuilt several times in its history and the current building dates to 1768. The temple actually consists of two buildings. The larger building in front of the main gate is a worship hall used for conducting services and festival performances. Atop the hill behind the worship hall is the much smaller 'Kannon-do' where the temple's priceless wooden statue of the bodhisattva Kannon is kept. Kannon is a spiritual figure in Japanese Buddhism who is said to be the embodiment of compassion and mercy. It was carved sometime during the Fujiwara period (894 - 1285) from a single cherry tree and stands at a little over 1.5 meters in height. It is missing hands, but it is unclear whether this was part of the design or a result of damage. The statue is registered as a Nationally Important Cultural Property of Japan and is traditionally only displayed to the public once every 33 years. However, it is also displayed every May 1 during the Mizuho Spring Grand Festival. (※In the event of inclement weather, the statue may not be displayed)

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  • Nature and Best Views
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn

Shiraike Pond Forest Park

Gorgeous Autumn Colors and Hiking Trails Shiraike Pond, located just above the community of Kijiya alongside the road to Renge Hot Springs, offers beautiful views of the mountains and trees reflected in its surface. Swamp lanterns growing around the trails are a sight to behold in early spring while in autumn the colors of the leaves cannot be beat!

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  • Places and Activities

Sea of Japan Sunset Lookout

Panoramic views of Itoigawa's Sea, Downtown and Mountains Itoigawa Station is the closest shinkansen station to the Sea of Japan, and this is the perfect place to see it! Use the pedestrian underpass to cross the highway and climb the steps to enjoy panoramic views of the Sea of Japan and Itoigawa. On clear days, you can see as far as Noto Peninsula and even Sado Island! It's also a great location to see the Japanese Alps that tower over the city to the south.

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  • Places and Activities
  • History and Culture

Chojagahara Archaeological Park

At the Center of the World's Oldest Jadeworking Culture The Chojagahara Archaeological Site was the site of a number of massive settlements over 5,000 to 3,500 years ago. The people who lived in these settlements collected jade from the nearby rivers and coast. Recognizing its durability and beauty, they used it in the crafting of tools and jewelry, eventually devloping into the first example of jadeworking known in the world. Today, the Chojagahara Archaeological Site is recognized as one of the largest neolithic sites in Japan's Hokuriku Region and is registered as a National Historic Site of Japan. The Chojagahara Archaeological Site is massive and it is estimated that not even 10% has been unearthed. A few of the dwellings have been rebuilt as they might have appeared millennia ago.

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  • History and Culture

Kijiya Woodworking Village Museum

Preserving the story of a village of woodworkers Sitting along the road leading to Shiraike Pond and Renge Hot Springs, the mountain village of Kijiya once flourished as the center of a small woodworking and lacquerware industry. The people here harvested trees from the nearby mountains and created beautiful bowls, trays and other utensils which were highly prized in Itoigawa and beyond. This is even reflected in the village's name: "kijiya" means "woodworker" in Japanese. Unfortunately, in the 1930s cheaper imports from Asia began to become popular throughout Japan and many villages like Kijiya lost their livelihood. The local artisans were forced to give up their craft and instead pursue farming and forestry to make ends meet. The Kijiya Woodworking Village Museum seeks to preserve the story of these woodworkers and displays over 1,000 artifacts related to their work and livelihoods. Next to the museum, the 'Tochinoki' restaurant and produce shop sells locally made woodworking crafts to carry on the tradition of Kijiya Village. Make sure to try the soba noodles as well! Museum Admission Adults: 300 yen Under 18: 200 yen

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  • Nature and Best Views
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn

Umidani Gorge & Sankyo Park

Gorgeous autumn colors and hiker's paradise! This park and campground is located at the entrance to Umidani Gorge. It serves as the basecamp for climbing Mt. Komagatake or hiking down into the Umidani Gorge itself. Multiple lookout points offer beautiful views of Mt. Senjogatake, the Umidani Mountains and the distant Sea of Japan. Enjoy brilliant new greenery in spring and fiery reds, oranges and yellows in autumn.

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  • Nature and Best Views
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn

Amakazari Foothills Shiroike Pond & Forest Park

Hiking Trails and Mt. Amakazariyama The view of Mt. Amakazariyama reflected in this pond is breathtaking and the forests around Shiroike Pond are full of natural plants and wildlife waiting to be discovered. Thanks to its remote location deep in the Nechi Valley, this park is also one of the best places in Itoigawa to enjoy the night sky. In addition to a number of leisurely trails, this park is also the best place to start a climb of Mt. Tokurayama. At 927 m, Mt. Tokurayama is definitely one of the easiest climbs in Itoigawa, but the view from the top is surprisingly beautiful!

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  • History and Culture

Birthplace of Princess Nunakawa

Birthplace of Itoigawa's Local Ruler and Goddess Known locally as the ubusho or 'birthplace,' legend has it that these boulders located deep in Itoigawa's picturesque Shimamichi Valley, were the birthplace of Princess Nunakawa. The boulders have long been regarded as an object of worship and a small shrine is built into the crevice of the boulders. The ubusho is often visited by those wishing to pray for happy marriage or safe childbirth.

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  • Places and Activities

Itoigawa GeoStation GeoPal

Your first stop in the Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark! Itoigawa GeoStation GeoPal, on the first floor of Itoigawa Station, is features a variety of attractions for the entire family making it a great place to stop first on your visit to Itoigawa. At the Geopark Tourist Information Center, learn all about the fun and exciting things to see and experience in the Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark. Children will enjoy the play equipment including a Mt. Myojo-themed Slide and Kid's Climbing Wall. Make sure to visit us at the Tourist Information Counter for brochures and information about the Itoigawa area! Waiting for a connecting train? Why not visit the Kiha 52 Waiting Room which features an actual Kiha 52 diesel train which used to run along the Oito Line. In the Model Railroad Diorama Gallery, visitors can enjoy large model railroads of Itoigawa City, Tokyo and the Himekawa Gorge. You can even have a go at operating the model trains yourself!

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  • History and Culture
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn

Salt Trail Museum

Museum dedicated to the Historic Salt Trail Located in a repurposed farm house deep in the heart of the Nechi Valley, this museum features a collection of over 2,100 items are on display here and include tools used by the 'bokka' porters who carried goods along the Salt Trail. These bokka were mostly peasant farmers of the Nechi Valley who made a living during the winter months by carrying large heavy packs loaded with salt and other goods bound for markets in Matsumoto. The collection of tools and other artifacts found here are registered as a Nationally Important Cultural Property of Japan.

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