Travel Reports by mfedley view profile of mfedley

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Note: The opinions and views expressed in this user report are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of japan-guide.com.

June 30, 2015 - Itoigawa Salt Road - Niigata

Yesterday I travelled along the ocean to see what Itoigawa had to offer and today I headed inland along the old Salt Road to Matsumoto so I can get a taste of 'old Japan'. As always, I also visited some of the main sites in Itoigawa city as well.
For those who don't know, Itoigawa is located a little over 2 hours from Tokyo on the new Hokuriku Shinkansen and is also home to one of Japan's main geoparks along with being the home to Japanese Jade.

So did your wish come true?

As you can see, most of my travels have been heading towards Kanazawa. I will say that Iiyama and Itoigawa have a very different but definitely country town or rural feel.

My travel map in more detail: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zp0MtAJdtIro.kxeafFLd0Sjg&usp=sharing

For today I visited the following in this ordeR:

(1) Itoigawa Geopark Office - Itoigawa Station
(2) Amatsu Shrine
(Unnamed) Zendoji Temple
(3) Suizen Shrine
(4) Chojagahara Archaeological Museum
(5) Fossa Magna Museum
(6) Fossa Magna Park
(7) Hisui-en Garden

A much better map with fantastic explanations put together by someone in the Itoigawa Government Office is here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=zmKkKqyPqS3U.kFWNipEzVLcY

At the south exit of Itoigawa Station is the Itoigawa Geopark Tourist Information office. Normally, they are normally a pokey little office with some dusty brochures in English made in 1997. However - this office is an attraction in itself with a good range of things to see and do. You can also hire a bike here (which I did again - 2,500 yen for an electric assisted bike) and pick up a plethora of English information for many walks and day activities.

Go through the train to see some more train stuff!

About a 4 minute bike ride from the station is Amatsu Shrine - the main shrine for Itoigawa city. Do note that even though it's on a rather big piece of land it's a little hard to find the entrance.

The odd architecture of Zendoji Temple
The battery killing entrance to Miyama park

Around 6-7 minutes from the last temple is Suizen shrine. The shrine is nothing spectacular but at least it's really green

In all of my wisdom I used google maps today and it stated to go up this track. Well - the track is easily walkable but it's a bit difficult when it's mainly uphill when your pushing a heavy electric bike for 15 or so minutes

After being puffed from pushing a bike up a hill for a while, I enjoyed watching some retirees play an interesting version of golf. I even watched someone score a hole in 1!

Around a 6 minute bike ride from the golf is the Chojagahara Archaeological Museum which costs 300 yen to enter or 600 yen with the magma museum. One thing that should be noted is that someone at the Itoigawa offices who is a native speaker has spent a lot of time correctly translating most major explanations and signs in the city in one form or another. This was true in this museum however looking at old pottery is not really my thing. However - it seems as though Itoigawa was an important ancient town who was the first to trade Jade in Japan.

A 2 minute walk from the last museum is the excellent Fossa Magma museum which costs 500 yen to enter or is included with the 600 yen combo ticket. It should be noted that English translation at this museum is very good and gives some of the more notable museums in Japan a good run for their money. My only complaint (from a geologists point of view) is they have a lot of pretty rocks as an emphasis than the ones that I find more interesting. But alas - I think people want to look at pretty things than 10 different types of granitic schists.

A delicious tempura soba lunch at a Japanese speaking only establishment. Totally local.

After leaving the soba restaurant I jumped on the Old Salt Road. It takes over an hour to reach the Fossa Magma Park and what surprised me the most was that there were quite a few signs explaining what was going on with equivalent english explanations. My only worry is that not many english speaking people will ever use them.
When you ride to the Magma park, do note that it is extremely beautiful but also uphill which means that I decided to conserve my battery by putting it as low as possible and pushing my bike up the few relatively steep bits.

Typical view along the way

The Fossa Magma park has two things to view - one is a relatively poor quality (geologically speaking) example of pillow lava and the other is an interesting example showing where the eurasian and pacific plate meet. It's not everyday you see something like this.

Around 60 minutes mostly downhill from the Magma park is Hisui-en Garden which costs 500 yen to enter. It's a medium sized Japanese garden with an emphasis on Jade.

In general, I've enjoyed my time in Itoigawa but I need to slow down a little as I'm doing too much each day without relaxing. However - this may be because I have not had an onsen in two days and I'm having withdrawal symptoms. Both options are possible.

For tomorrow, I'll be hiring a car again and driving around the Noto Peninsula. Specifically for tomorrow - I'll be driving up the west coast from Kanazawa to Wajima.

Further information:

Geopark (English): http://www.geo-itoigawa.com/eng/

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List of Posts:
2018/07/18 - Hidden Honshu: Fukuyama
2018/07/17 - Hidden Honshu: Tomonoura
2018/07/17 - Hidden Honshu: Iwakuni
2018/07/16 - Hidden Honshu: Tsuwano
2018/07/15 - Hidden Honshu: Hagi's Residences
2018/07/15 - Hidden Honshu: Hagi's Shrine District & Temples
2018/07/15 - Hidden Honshu: Hagi's Castle Town
2018/07/14 - Hidden Honshu: Iwami Ginzan
2018/07/14 - Hidden Honshu: Izumo
2018/07/13 - Hidden Honshu: Yonago
2018/07/13 - Hidden Honshu: Matsue's Gardens
2018/07/12 - Hidden Honshu: Mikuni
2018/07/11 - Hidden Honshu: Awara Onsen
2018/07/10 - Hidden Honshu: Kanazawa's Museums
2018/07/09 - Hidden Honshu: Kanazawa's Samurai District
2018/07/09 - Hidden Honshu: Kanazawa's Castle District
2018/07/08 - Hidden Honshu: Sado's Shukunegi
2018/07/08 - Hidden Honshu: Southern Sado
2018/07/07 - Hidden Honshu: Northern Sado
2018/07/06 - Hidden Honshu: Getting to Sado
2018/07/05 - Hidden Honshu: Sakata
2018/07/04 - Hidden Honshu: Akita
2018/07/03 - Hidden Honshu: Kakunodate
2018/07/02 - Hidden Honshu: Nyuto to Tamagawa Onsen
2018/07/01 - Hidden Honshu: Morioka to Nyuto Onsen
2018/06/30 - Hidden Honshu: Matsumae
2018/02/23 - Southern Odyssey - Taketomi
2018/02/23 - Southern Odyssey - Ishigaki City
2018/02/22 - Southern Odyssey - Ishigaki Island
2018/02/21 - Southern Odyssey - Iriomote
2018/02/20 - Southern Odyssey - Okinawa to Iriomote
2018/02/19 - Southern Odyssey - Okinawa WW2 Sites
2018/02/19 - Southern Odyssey - Okinawa Day 5 Southern Attractions
2018/02/18 - Southern Odyssey - Okinawa Day 4 Naha
2018/02/17 - Southern Odyssey - Okinawa Day 3
2018/02/16 - Southern Odyssey - Ocean Expo Park
2018/02/16 - Southern Odyssey - Ie Island
2018/02/15 - Southern Odyssey - Okinawa Hanami Report
2018/02/15 - Southern Odyssey - Okinawa Day 1
2018/02/14 - Southern Odyssey - Amami to Okinawa
2018/02/13 - Southern Odyssey - Amami Day 3
2018/02/12 - Southern Odyssey - Amami Day 2
2018/02/11 - Southern Odyssey - Amami Day 1
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2017/07/03 - Otaru to Shikotsu - Hokkaido
2017/07/02 - Otaru - Hokkaido
2017/07/02 - Yoichi - Hokkaido
2017/07/01 - Biei to Sapporo - Hokkaido
2017/06/30 - Sounkyo Onsen to Biei - Hokkaido
2017/06/29 - Shibetsu to Sounkyu Onsen - Hokkaido
2017/06/28 - Hokkaido: Wakkanai to Shibetsu
2017/06/27 - Rebun Island - Lake Kushu & Kafuka
2017/06/26 - Rebun Island - Momoiwa Course
2017/06/25 - Rishiri Island - Hokkaido
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2017/06/22 - Asuka & Sakurai - Nara Prefecture
2017/06/22 - Nara Yamoto 4 Temple Pilgrimage
2017/06/21 - Yoshino - Nara Prefecture
2017/06/20 - Sakai - Osaka Prefecture
2017/06/19 - Osaka - Namba Area
2017/06/19 - Western Osaka
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2017/02/06 - Closed Kurume - Fukuoka
2017/02/05 - Miyazaki to Kobayashi
2017/02/04 - Obi Castle Town - Miyazaki
2017/02/04 - Nichinan Coast - Miyazaki
2017/02/03 - Gardens & Museums of Miyazaki City
2017/02/02 - Shrines of Takachiko - Miyazaki
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2017/01/31 - Hita & Surrounds - Oita
2017/01/31 - Yufuin Onsen - Oita
2017/01/30 - Hells of Beppu
2017/01/30 - Oita City - Oita
2017/01/29 - Kitsuki Castle Town - Oita
2017/01/28 - Hiji Castle Town - Oita
2017/01/28 - Templing in Kunisaki Hanto
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2017/01/27 - Eastern Kyushu Trip Info & Nakatsu
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2016/08/01 - Fukuoka's Gion Temple Cluster
2016/07/31 - Unzen Onsen - Nagasaki Prefecture
2016/07/31 - Shimabara - Nagasaki Prefecture
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2016/07/29 - Nagasaki City - Southern Attractions
2016/07/29 - Hashima - Nagasaki Prefecture
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2016/07/27 - Huis Ten Bosch Day 1 (Night)
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2016/07/26 - Hirado Part 1 - Nagasaki
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2016/07/24 - Yutoku Inari Shrine
2016/07/24 - Ureshino - Saga
2016/07/23 - Yoshinogari Park - Saga
2016/07/23 - Saga City - Saga Prefecture
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2016/07/21 - Karatsu City - Saga
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2016/02/20 - Okayama Museum Cluster - Okayama Prefecture
2016/02/19 - Marugame & Kotohira - Kagawa Prefecture
2016/02/18 - Matsuyama - Ehime Prefecture
2016/02/17 - Uchihiko - Ehime
2016/02/17 - Ozu - Ehime Prefecture
2016/02/16 - Seiyo
2016/02/16 - Uwajima - Ehime Prefecture
2016/02/15 - Kochi to Otsuki
2016/02/14 - Kochi - Kochi - Kochi
2016/02/13 - Toyo to Yasu via Aki
2016/02/12 - Naruto to Toya
2016/02/11 - Takamatsu to Naruto
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2016/02/11 - Artsy Naoshima: Tsutsuji-so to Miyanoura Port
2016/02/10 - Takamatsu - Kagawa Prefecture
2016/02/10 - Shikoku Trip Info & Artsy Teshima
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2015/07/19 - Food in Japan
2015/07/15 - Hongu Taisha - Wakayama
2015/07/14 - Shingu & Ogi Matsuri - Wakayama
2015/07/13 - Nachi Taisha & Kii-Katsuura - Wakayama
2015/07/12 - Kii-Tanabe & Kumano Kodo - Wakayama
2015/07/10 - Wacky Wakayama City - Wakayama
2015/07/08 - Tottori City - Tottori Prefecture
2015/07/06 - Izushi - Hyogo
2015/07/05 - Kinosaki Onsen - Hyogo
2015/07/04 - Yamanaka Onsen - Ishikawa
2015/07/03 - Wajima to Wakura - Ishikawa
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2015/06/29 - Coastal Itoigawa - Niigata
2015/06/28 - Kurobe Dam Railway - Toyama
2015/06/27 - Iiyama City & Madarao Kogen - Nagano
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2015/06/24 - Manza Onsen - Gunma Prefecture
2015/06/23 - Kusatsu Onsen - Gunma
2015/06/21 - Dewa Sanzan - Yamagata
2015/06/20 - Tsuruoka to Dewa Sanzan - Yamagata
2015/06/19 - Tsuruoka Town - Yamagata
2015/06/18 - Haruna Jinja - Gunma
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2014/06/07 - Ajiro Onsen
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2014/04/12 - Futagawa - Cherry Blossom Report
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2014/02/08 - Eiheiji & Fukui City
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2013/12/22 - Okayama
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2013/12/08 - Ito - Through The Seasons
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2013/11/17 - Showa Kinen Koen
2013/11/10 - Kofu City - Autumn Report
2013/11/09 - Shosenkyo Gorge - Autumn Report
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2013/10/25 - Hirosaki Castle Park & Surrounds - Autumn
2013/10/24 - Oirase Stream - Autumn Report
2013/10/23 - Lake Towada & Yasumiya - Autumn Report
2013/10/22 - Rural Tono - Autumn Report
2013/10/21 - Tono - Shrine Cluster
2013/10/20 - Central Tono - Iwate
2013/10/19 - Urabandai - Autumn Report
2013/10/02 - Kamikochi - Autumn Report
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2013/09/14 - Atami - Shizuoka Prefecture
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2013/08/12 - Mt Asahidake - Daisetsuzan National Park
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2013/08/08 - Lake Toya - Hokkaido
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2013/08/06 - Osorezan - Shimokita Peninsula
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2013/08/03 - Yumoto Onsen to Chuzenji Lake Walk
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2013/07/10 - Kyoto - Mt Hieizan
2013/07/09 - Kyoto - Ohara
2013/07/07 - Kyoto - Koryuji Area
2013/07/06 - Uji - Summer
2013/07/05 - Hikone
2013/07/04 - Kyoto Station & Surroundings Attractions
2013/06/01 - Tokyo Parks & Gardens - Part 2
2013/05/26 - Tokyo Parks & Gardens - Part 1
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2013/03/03 - Kawaguchiko - Fuji Five Lakes
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