Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Toyooka – The City of Extraordinary Landscapes and Sceneries

Toyooka (豊岡) is a city in northern Hyōgo Prefecture. Starting from the famous hot spring resort Kinosaki Onsen with views that the Michelin Guide has recognized to the amazing landscapes created by volcanic activities in Genbudō Park and Kannabe Kōgen, this city is packed with beautiful sceneries and natural wonders!

Having the Sea of Japan located on one side, it has been said that Takeno Coastline in the city is considered one of the best beaches in Japan. With clean and highly transparent water, the beach is perfect for swimming and for those wanting to engage in all kinds of water sports!

If you are after some decent shopping, then drop by the Toyooka Bag Street (カバンストリート) for a series of bag stores. Toyooka is known as the city of bags, with many shops on the street offering tailored bag solutions (obviously checking with the staff to see if they do international shipping first).

Here is a list of places for you to consider adding to your itinerary when you visit Hyōgo Prefecture next time:

Hyōgo Park of the Oriental White Stork (兵庫県立コウノトリの郷公園)

© 豊岡市

If you are a bird-lover, take a bus from JR Toyooka Station to check out the beauty of the White Storks, which were nearly extinct at one point!

The park is a facility for protecting and proliferating Japan’s Natural Monument – white storks. Different from the Hachigoro Toshima Wetland (豊岡市立ハチゴロウの戸島湿地) close to Kinosaki Onsen, at Hyōgo Park of the Oriental White Stork, you are guaranteed to at least be able to meet one of the white storks that the park is taking care of throughout the year.

From spring to summer, you can even observe the white storks’ chicks being raised and cared for by their parents!

Also, from the Yorozukyū Temple (萬休寺) at the hill opposite the park, you should be able to get a full view of the park, which gives you a high chance of seeing the white storks flying freely in the sky.

Hyōgo Park of the Oriental White Stork’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • The park can be accessed for free from 9 am to 5 pm daily except Mondays and from the 28th of December to the 4th of January
  • If Monday falls on a public holiday, it will close on the next business day
  • The park’s car park is also free as well
  • From JR Toyooka Station (豊岡駅), you can take the Zentan Bus (全但バス) and get off at Kōnotori no Sato Kōen (コウノトリの郷公園). Please note that the number of services will be limited.
  • If you are coming from Kyoto, it is a 40-minute walk from Kyoto Tango Railway’s (京都丹後鉄道) Kōnotori no Sato (コウノトリの郷) Station
    • HERE is the timetable for trains departing from Miyazu Station (宮津駅)
    • HERE is the timetable for trains departing from Amanohashidate Station (天橋立駅)

Genbudō Park (玄武洞)

Genbudo-Park-Mascot-Basalt-Gen-sanTooyoka-Hyogo-Japan
© 豊岡市

Discover one of the few places in the world where the NS pole is reversed Σ(゚Д゚)!

Close to Kinosaki Onsen, the basalts caves in Genbudō Park created by volcanic activities 1.6 million years ago contain some of the country’s most astonishing terrains.

For more information, please refer to our article on Genbudō Park!

Kinosaki Onsen (城崎温泉)

Kinosaki Onsen (城崎温泉) in northern Hyōgo Prefecture is becoming more and more popular amongst tourists across both Japan and around the world. This shouldn’t surprise you once you take a look at the Michelin two-star rated scenery from Mt. Daishi (大師山) and other historical and cultural charms of the hot spring resort that has prospered for over 1,300 years!

For more information, please refer to our article on Kinosaki Onsen (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Kinosaki-Onsen-Toronagashi-Tooyoka-Hyogo-Japan
© 豊岡市

Izushi Castle Ruins (出石城跡) and Izushi Castle Town

© 豊岡市

Izushi is a quaint town in Toyooka City where you can find traces of Japanese history since the Edo period (1603 – 1867). Although it might not seem like it nowadays, the castle town used to be so prosperous that people called it Tajima Province’s Kyoto!

The small town is also a great place for exploring Japanese culture and Tajima Province’s history if you have unlimited time to spend.

For more information, please refer to our article on Izushi!

Takeno Coastline (竹野海岸)

At the north of Toyooka City, there is a beautiful coastline with crystal clear seawater suitable for various beach activities. Having the Sea of Japan located on one side, it has been said that Takeno Coastline (竹野海岸) is considered to be one of the best beaches in Japan. With clean and highly transparent water, the beach is perfect for swimming and for those wanting to engage in all kinds of water sports!

For more information, please refer to our article on Takeno Coastline!

©  山陰海岸ジオパーク推進協議会

Ryūkokuji Temple (隆国寺)

© 豊岡市

On the way to Kannabe Kōgen, you can stop by the 6th Kansai’s Temple of Flowers (関西花の寺) called Ryūkokuji.

Also known as Tajima Province’s Peony Temple, it boasts over 1,000 peonies in the temple’s garden. The 150 different kinds of camellia in the camellia garden is another reason why this temple is famous for its flowers!

Below is the flower calendar of Ryūkokuji Temple so that you will know what to expect when you visit the temple:

  • Camellia: March to early April
  • Cherry blossom: late March to early April
  • Peony: late April to early May
  • Hydrangea: mid-May to June
  • Kousa dogwood: late May to June
  • Japanese stewartia: mid-June to mid-July
  • Bush clover: September
  • Autumn foliage: peaks in mid-November

Other Highlights of Ryūkokuji Temple

Apart from the flowers, there are also various highlights in the temple that you cannot miss. The tall mountain gate at the entrance, rebuilt in 1802, is one of them. It is considered one of the three biggest mountain gates in the San-in region.

The two-storied gate has a worship hall enshrining the Gautama Buddha, Manjushri Bodhisattva, Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, and the 16 Arhats. With them guarding the entrance, it has been said that the evil thoughts of the pilgrims are dispelled, protecting Ryūkokuji Temple from any evil presence.

As you pay your respect to the Kannon Bodhisattva, don’t forget to pay attention to the paintings on the fusuma sliding doors. Painted by famous artists in the mid-19th century, the images of peacocks and tigers are all vibrant and very realistic looking!

Ryūkokuji Temple’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information

  • The temple is open from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • The admission fee is 200 yen.
  • From JR Ebara Station (江原駅) west exit, take Toyooka City Community Bus Innaka’s (豊岡市営バス「イナカー」) Mikata Line (三方線) and get off at Arakawa (荒川). From the bus stop, it is a 3-minute walk to the temple
    • As the number of services is limited, please refer to HERE for the service’s timetable to plan.

Kannabe Kōgen (神鍋高原) 

If you haven’t seen what a crater looks like in real life, then make sure you drop by Kannabe Kōgen when you visit Kansai!

This part of Toyooka City boasts various types of amazing landscapes created by volcanic activities and lava flows that occurred thousands of years ago. When the weather is too warm to ski, you can enjoy the aerial view of the plateau as you fly with one of the experienced paragliders instead.

For more information, please refer to our article on Kannabe Kōgen!

Kannabe-Kogen-Mt.-Kannabe-Crater-Hyogo-Japan
© 日高神鍋観光協会

Ankokuji Temple (安国寺)

©  豊岡市

In autumn, from mid to late November, one must-see place when you visit Toyooka City is Ankokuji Temple. The view of the Enkianthus perulatus from the temple’s worship hall looks just how its depicted in the left image.

The most amazing thing is that the scenery is created by just one Enkianthus perulatus. This 100-plus-year-old tree has branches that can spread more than 10 meters from all angles!

If you want to take a similar photo to the one above, visit the temple during the light-up event. During the day, the leaves will be bright red instead of the bright golden color.

The Fall Foliage Event at Ankokuji Temple

In 2021, the event was open from the 8th to the 19th of November. Please note that the usual light-up event at night was CANCELLED.

Important: Please expect a large crowd at the temple for Enkianthus perulatus’s autumn foliage, especially on weekends and public holidays.

©  豊岡市

Ankokuji Temple’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information

  • The temple is open from 8 am to 5 pm with the last admission at 4:30 pm.
  • The admission fee is 300 yen for senior high school students and above.
  • To get to Ankokuji Temple from JR Toyooka Station or from Izushi, you will have to change buses a couple of times. As the number of services is only limited, it may actually be more convenient to drive there or take a taxi. Otherwise, please use Google Map as this will give you a summarised bus trip itinerary.

Tantō Flower Park (たんとう花公園)

Traveling further east towards Kyoto, the Tantō Flower Park there is famous for its tulips and sunflowers festivals during spring and summer.

  • Tantō Turlips Festival (たんとうチューリップまつり)
    • In 2021, the festival was held from the 12th of April for a week from 9 am to 5 pm
    • For weekends and public holidays, we recommend that you arrive before 11 am or after 3 pm to avoid the crowd
    • The cost is about 800 yen for high school students and above
    • Temporary food stalls are currently canceled due to COVID-19
  • Tantō Sunflowers Festival (たんとうひまわりまつり)
    • In 2021, the festival was held from the 6th to the 16th of August 9 am to 4 pm. The last admission is at 4:30 pm
    • It is possible to take some flowers home, but please check with the staff first before picking
    • The cost is about 500 yen for high school students and above
©  豊岡市
©  豊岡市

How To Get To Tantō Flower Park

From JR Toyooka Station (豊岡駅)’s bus stop no. 1 or Jōkamachi Izushi (城下町出石), take the Izushi Toyooka Line (出石豊岡線) bound for Oku Fuji (奥藤) and get off at Mongoru Kakubutsukan-mae (モンゴル博物館前). From there, it is a 15-minute walk.

Please note that the number of services will be limited.

Discover the Beautiful Nature in Yabu City Next Door

Bekku-Rice-Terrace-Yabu-Hyogo-Japan-1
Click the photo to find out more about this stunning spot!

If you love to visit destinations filled with picturesque natural scenery, make sure you check out the beautiful spots in Yabu City, south of Toyooka. The city is literally a treasure trove of gorgeous nature. Plus, there is a ski resort for you to enjoy the snow in winter (=゚ω゚)ノ.

For more information, please refer to our article on Yabu City!

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