TOYAMA -- The Toyama Prefectural Government has resumed full-scale promotional activities for the 102-kilometer Toyama Bay Cycling Route in a bid to show the scenic beauty of the central Japan prefecture to overseas cycling enthusiasts in anticipation of their post-pandemic return.
The route starts in the city of Himi, known for its fresh seafood such as yellowtail, and passes through popular tourist spots including Amaharashi Beach in Takaoka, where the Northern Alps and Tateyama mountain range can be viewed from Toyama Bay, and Shinkiro (mirage) Road in Uozu, before reaching Asahi, the easternmost town in the prefecture. With relatively little elevation change, the course is ideal for cyclists who want to combine cycling with sightseeing.
The prefectural government has so far installed road signs and other items for cyclists. The Toyama Bay Cycling Route was selected in fiscal 2021 as one of the "National Cycle Routes" by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, which designates some of the best cycling routes in Japan, but the trail is still not well known in the country. Under such circumstances, the prefecture has been making efforts to attract overseas cyclists, including those from Taiwan, known as the "bicycle kingdom."
Since 2015, the prefecture has also held cycling events on the route. However, an event was canceled in 2020 due to the global outbreak of the coronavirus. Direct flights from Taiwan to Toyama Airport have also been suspended, but the prefecture continues to provide information to stimulate demand for cycling in anticipation of an end to COVID restrictions.
In December 2021, the route was introduced in the Taiwan edition of a magazine for cyclists, and the prefecture has also launched a new website, Toyama Cycle Navi (https://cycling-toyama.jp/en/), that provides information on cycling.
According to Ryotaro Shibui, bicycle manufacturer Giant Japan's publicist, who organizes cycling tours from Taiwan, cyclists who actually visited Toyama gave high marks to the area, especially the snow-capped Tateyama mountain range, which was praised for its scenery not found in Taiwan.
In addition, the famous Yuki-no-Otani snow wall on the scenic Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is well known among Taiwanese. Shibui points out its potential by saying, "Toyama, with its direct flights (from Taiwan), is an attractive place where tourists can go cycling in addition to sightseeing."
The prefectural government intends to continue placing Taiwanese cyclists as its main target after the pandemic. An official said, "Through cycling, we hope to increase the number of connections between the people of Japan and Taiwan."
(Japanese original by Kenta Sunaoshi, Osaka City News Department)