Sponsored by Himi City
Himi, a small town in Toyama Bay, located in Toyama Prefecture, owes its attractiveness to its distant views of the northern part of the Japanese Alps, as well as to its culture and fishing industry. Facing the sea from all angles, Himi is one hundred percent a fishing town and is without a doubt the place to go to taste the freshest and most incredible sashimi.
The Sushi Restaurant Manyô
Sushi Manyô (万 葉) is undeniably the place to go for excellent trays of sushi and sashimi. Needless to say, the fish are locally sourced and much fresher than the kinds you’d find in the metropolitan. Get a taste of the famous yellowtail (Buri 鰤), with its gorgeous pink fresh and melting texture. To date, this is by far the freshest and tastiest sushi I’ve ever had. The restaurateurs are adorable and will teach you about the various kinds of fish found in the region.
Stay in Minshuku
If I had to choose between Himi’s majestic hotels, it would undoubtedly be this one: Hashimotoya. At 20 minutes drive north of Himi City centre, this family-run accommodation complete with a cozy and very friendly atmosphere, will relax you to your core. The service is impeccable and, despite its small, cosy size, has no reason to envy some of the larger hotels in the region. Relax in the onsen, before enjoying the charms of a traditional Japanese room and sleeping on a soft futon. The smell of tatami is divine.
The most beautiful surprises are discovered at dawn. If you have the will to rise rather early in the morning and if you are lucky, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the sunrise over Toyama Bay and the Tateyama Mountains ( remember to ask for a room with a view!). The landscape is adorned with radiating rose-pinks, oranges and bursts of vibrant yellows, while the cold winter air produces a vapour over the sea, adding an air of mystery to the scene. But, there is an element of luck with seeing a view as precious as this, especially considering that the inhabitants say we can only see these shy mountains about 80-90 days a year, when the weather conditions are exceptional. It’s also said that, if you see it, it will rain the next day. Could it be true?
A Fish Festival
The cuisine of Hashimotoya deserves a few stars at least. If you love fresh fish, you simply cannot miss this place! As in many establishments in the region, they prepare fresh fish that was caught that morning and combine the flavours of fish found along the whole seabed, to truly discover new taste sensations. Dinner is a kaiseki (懐 石, a traditional Japanese meal consisting of a succession of small dishes) entirely composed of fish and shellfish, and the Buri is in the spotlight. Each dish you are presented with is as refined and gorgeous as the last, and are, of course, products of incredible freshness. The sashimi boat offers two varieties of Buri, one very pink and the other whiter, each with a different fat content. While enjoying the finesse, the fondant, and especially the rarity of this fish, just remember that it currently trades at several hundred euro depending on the season!
Time for breakfast, which is 100% traditional and composed of fish! There is simply no better way to gain strength for the day, not to mention to avoid the munchies at 10am. In the light of the day, the dining room opens its panels and lets us admire the view of the bay. The setting is truly beautiful.
Himi Wagyu Beef
So you thought we only found good fish in Himi? The carnivores among you will also be satisfied, because Himi is also famous for the tender flesh of its beef. The Tanaka restaurant offers you a taste of yakiniku (a kind of Japanese barbecue) and boasts the best meats in the region. You can also buy fresh meat, because the restaurant is located in a small cooperative and sells its own products.
How Can I Get to Himi ?
Just an hour from Kanazawa (easily accessible by car and Shinkansen, via Shin-Takaoka) you can find another cultural gem near the northern part of the Japanese Alps. Himi offers you breathtaking scenery and an escape from the big cities. About 4 hours from Kyoto and Tokyo by Shinkansen, Himi is the ideal destination for a weekend in the countryside.
From Tokyo, there are two main ways to get there:
- Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Kanazawa, and get off at Shin-Takaoka. From there, take a local bus (platform number 4 from the bus station, 500 yen) that will take you the michi-no-eki station named Himi Banyagai, close to the port and the city center.
- Another option : take the same Shinkansen but this time, get off at Toyama. Then, take a train on the Toyama Line (Ainokaze Toyama Tetsudo) and get off at Takaoka (4 stops). Finally, take a train on the Himi Line and get off at the last stop, Hima Station. Enjoy the sea of Japan and its beautiful landscapes.
Once there, you can rent-a-cycle, an electric bike for 500 yen and a normal bike for 200 yen a day, if you decide to stay in the center. But it is better to rent a car if you also want to explore the surroundings more thoroughly.
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Original article by Julie
Translated by Aika Ikeda