Toyooka (豊岡市) is located in northern Hyōgo Prefecture in the centre of the San'in Kaigan Geopark (山陰海岸ジオパーク). While the city stretches over 700 square kilometres after its merger with the surrounding towns of Hidaka, Izushi, Kinosaki, Takeno, and Tantō in 2005, the actual town centre is quite easy to explore.
The first sight to see close to Toyooka Station is the morning market. The Aozora Ichiba (青空市場, "open-air market") offers rice and local produce, under the roof of Kōsetsu Ichiba (公設市場, "public market"), Japan’s oldest wooden market, visitors can buy flowers and local food specialities. Toyooka is also renowned for its handmade bags. In Caban Street (かばん kaban means "bag") scores of speciality bag stores sell bags under the brand name of “Toyooka Kaban”, a title that is given only to those manufacturers that meet the strict criteria set by the local bag association.
Toyooka Kaban in Caban Street
Kōnotori no Sato Kōen (コウノトリの郷公園), the Hyōgo Park of the Oriental White Stork, is a research facility established in 1999 with the aim of breeding and reintroducing the oriental white stork which disappeared from the wild in 1971. The storks can be observed in the public section of the park. Every afternoon, the storks flock back to the park to be fed by the staff. The museum and the visitor centre provide plenty of information on the storks and the breeding programme that has been under way since 2005 when the first five oriental storks were released into the wild.
Oriental White Stork (コウノトリ)
The park is about 4.5 kilometres from JR Toyooka Station. The easiest way there is by car or by Zentan Bus (take the bus bound for 'Konotori no Sato Koen' or 'Hokkeji' and get off at the 'Konotori no Sato Koen” stop'). The park is open daily from 09:00-17:00; closed on Mondays (if Monday is a public holiday, on Tuesdays) and from December 28 to January 4. Admission and parking free.
The Genbudō Museum (玄武洞ミュージアム) and Genbudō Park are both located north of Toyooka along the Maruyama River. The museum was reinaugurated in March 2018 and exhibits precious stones, rare minerals and fossils of prehistoric animals such as the Tyrannosaurus rex, the Pterosaur as well as the skeleton of an Asian mammoth. Visitors can replenish in a restaurant and a cafe that offer seasonal products prepared with local ingredients, the museum shop offers Toyooka shoes and bags, stones and minerals. Visitors can participate in weaving workshops; weaving is a traditional art with a 2,000-year history in the region.
The museum is located at the entrance to Genbudō Park. The five basalt caves of Genbudō were designated National Natural Monuments in 1931 and are part of the San'in Kaigan Geopark. Their columnar joints were formed over 1.6 billion years ago after the magma from a volcanic eruption cooled, contracted, and formed vertical cracks. These curvaceous columns have a distinctive hexagonal shape and a honeycomb pattern. Genbu (玄武) means black tortoise, a term that refers to one of the four Chinese mythological creatures representing seasons and directions.
The museum and the park can be reached by train (JR Genbudo Station) and by ferry (300 JPY fare) or by by Zentan Bus from JR Toyooka Station.
Admission to the museum: adults and children over 13 years of age 800 JPY, children (6-14) 400 JPY, infants 300 JPY, group discounts available. Open 09:00-17:00.
The Naomi Uemura Memorial Museum (植村直己冒険館 Uemura Naomi Bōkenkan) is located in Hidaka, south of Toyooka, and dedicated to the Japanese Naomi Uemura (1941-c.1984), a native of Hidaka who disappeared on a solo climb on Denali (formerly known as Mt McKinley). He became famous for embarking on his expeditions all by himself, rafting down the Amazon River 6,500 kilometres in 1968, trekking from Greenland to Alaska to across the North Pole solo in 1978, and climbing the Denali alone in 1970. When he tried to repeat this feat in the winter of 1984, he disappeared on the descent from the summit. The museum displays equipment from Uemura's earlier expeditions. Open daily except Wednesdays 09:00-17:00.
See our guide on Kinosaki Onsen here.
- ようこそ豊岡市へ (Toyooka Official Website, in Japanese)
- Toyooka Tourism (in Japanese)
- Toyooka – Visit Kinosaki
- Hyogo Park of the Oriental White Stork
- Oriental White Stork Preservation – Visit Kinosaki
- 植村直己冒険館 (Naomi Uemura Memorial Museum, in Japanese)
- Genbudo Museum
- Sanin Coast Geopark