The old-fashioned charms of Nanto will have you wanting to come back again and again.
Located in the southwest corner of Toyama Prefecture, Nanto City is surrounded with incredible nature through all four seasons. Japan’s natural landscapes and traditional culture are alive and well here.
The famous gassho-zukuri thatched-roof villages of Gokayama are a Living World Heritage, maintaining their unique culture while sustaining the villagers still living there. The sankyoson scattered settlements dispersed throughout the rice fields provide another scene that can’t be seen anywhere else.
Locals will greet you with a warm smile as you explore many fascinating places in the mountain city of Nanto, such as Johana, which prospered as a silk-producing town until recent times; Inami, the famous wood carving town rich with history and culture; Fukumitsu, the place that world-renowned woodblock print artist Shiko Munakata once called home; Fukuno, a former mercantile hub; Inokuchi, famous for its camellia flowers; and Toga, a center for theatrics and exchange. Come to Nanto for a unique and unforgettable journey!
五箇山 Gokayama Area
Japan’s old natural scenery can be seen in Gokayama, which contains the two World Heritage gassho-zukuri thatched-roof villages of Ainokura and Suganuma. The villagers’ way of life has been carefully preserved to this day, leading the area to be called a living world heritage. Here, you can experience how people lived long ago through traditional washi paper-making and Japan’s oldest folk song and dance, kokiriko.
城端 Johana Area
Known as the Little Kyoto of Etchu, Johana prospered as the temple town of Zentokuji Temple. Old storehouses line the stone-paved streets in the quietly sprawling, poignant townscape. Back in the Edo period, the town flourished thanks to booming silk production under the protection of the Kaga clan, and its history and culture can be felt to this day. The Johana Hikiyama Festival, registered as a piece of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, is a spring festival that boasts 300 years of history and captivates the hearts of visitors with its elegance.
福光 Fukumitsu Area
World-renowned woodblock print artist Shiko Munakata lived in Fukumitsu for approximately six and a half years. You can experience his legacy as you stroll through the understated retro streets enjoying the art pieces and significant locations he left behind. Soetsu Yanagi, founder of the folk craft movement, also came here to visit Shiko, giving the town strong ties to folk art. Fukumitsu is also Japan’s largest producer of wooden baseball bats, and the Nanto Bat Museum is a must-see for enthusiasts.
福野 Fukuno Area
Long acting as the trading hub of the Nanto region, the town of Fukuno stands at the intersection of history, people, and culture. Every May, the streets are filled with the beating of taiko drums and colorful andon lantern floats for the lively Fukuno Yotaka Festival. Tradition and culture are carefully protected here, starting with the festival.
井口 Inokuchi Area
Located in the middle of Nanto City, Inokuchi is known as the village of camellia flowers. Many different varieties of camellia are cultivated and displayed at the Inokuchi Camellia Hall, where the Camellia Festival is held each year. Experience the great outdoors in all four seasons through barbeque and fishing at Akasofuko Lake
井波 Inami Area
Numerous wood carving studios line the atmospheric stone-paved streets of Yokamachi-dori street, where the clack of wooden mallets resounds. Wood carvings can be found all over, from phone booths to bus stops, filling the town with an artistic air. Drop by one of the many wood carving workshops or Zuisenji Temple, the origin point of Inami’s 250-year-old wood carving techniques, to experience the town’s traditional craftsmanship. The nearby Shogawa river sightseeing cruise also offers spectacular views of the region’s seasonal landscapes.
利賀 Toga Area
The village of Toga is surrounded by greenery and nature, with two clear streams running through beautiful mountains. Many people gather among this natural scenery for the world theater event SCOT Summer Season in summer, and the Soba Festival in winter. At the Village of Meditation, you can forget the flow of time and refresh your body and mind amidst giant mandalas painted by a Nepalese artist and colorful flower gardens.