Takashi Ryokuchi Park with some fine black pine trees is one of the most popular city parks in Toyohashi. The park is home to family visitors, pet owners and joggers. The park has huge lawn ground fit for family picnic. The jogging circuits are flat and covered with pine shade so it is often recommended for jogging starters. The park has East side which is the larger side of the park and West side the smaller side but with children's playground with various kinds of playsets and a nice pond and is a good place to see cherry blossoms durng early April. Unfortunately the train line and huge road divides the park and it has no overpasses nor underground tunnels to connect the two areas. So even local children need bicycles to move from one place to the other. The larger area also has a children's playground with large playsets.
Cocola Avenue is a shopping mall close to the start of Toyohashi Railway Atsumi Line. It is a part of complex connected to Cocola Front by fancy pedestrian deck. While Cocola Front is more to do with hotel and restaurant and office space, Cocola Avenue is more into shopping for casual visitors. Cocola avenue has a food court as well as nice shops, a bakery and a coffee beans shop. To find about more about what are in there also see shopping and restaurant tips.
Cocola Front is a new landmark of Toyohashi opened in 2008. It is a 16-story building 72.9 meters in total height. The first to third floors are used for shopping mall including some restaurants such as starbucks coffee, Saru Cafe and Aloha Table, fourth to 9th for office space, 10th to 16th for Hotel Arche Riche with french restaurant, Restaurant Kei, on the 16th floor.
In Toyohashi there are two former post stations of Old Tokaido Road: #33 Futagawa, #34 Yoshida. While former Yoshida station area has few remnant of Old Tokaido sites, Futagawa still has some historical sites on ancient highway.
Futagawa-shuku(juku) is located about ten minutes walk east from JR Futagawa station. Futagawa area has some old houses and the biggest draw is the former Honjin building currently a historical museum showing how Old Tokaido travel had been like. There are nice Historical museums in former post stations of Old Tokaido but this museum is the best I have seen so far. I only wish there are more English-language materials for oversea visitors. Around Futagawa-shuku Honjin Historical Museum there are nice temples and shrines such as Futagawa Fushimi Inari Shrine with nice walking paths with a number of red torii gates, Myosenji temple with Basho monument, Shouon-ji temple with nice maple views.
Also see Futagawa travel page.
When you walk along Toyo river you will find a conical mountain on the east direction. This is Mount Ishimaki, 358m in elevation. This religious mountain is blessed with places with karst landforms On the flank of the mountain stands Ishimaki Shrine and a small natural history museum. The mountain is also noted for its nighttime views.
Toyokawa is a neighboring town of Toyohashi and it is only 20 minutes train ride away. It is best known for Toyokawa Inari with fox mound, and also for 1,000-meter-long cherry tunnel on both sides of Toyokawa Park. The town has two Old Tokaido stations, Goyu, and Akasaka and other than Toyokawa Inari there are some nice shrines and temples such as Saimyoji temple known for its beautiful garden, Sammyoji temple for three-storied pagoda, and religious mountain and popular hiking destination for both Toyohashi and Toyokawa residents, Mount Hongu.
Also see Toyokawa Travel Page
The Orthodox Church in Japan is one of the most successful Christian churches in Japan with 30,000 followers. Its Toyohashi church was established in 1875 and current building with Byzantine Architectural style, built in 1913 was designated as Important Cultural Asset by Japenese government in 2008. Together with Public Hall and Kurogane tower, this church buildings are popular landmarks of Toyohashi.
This Romanesque styled public hall was built by the hands of Yoshihei Nakamura in 1931 who also did Shizuoka Municipal Hall in 1934. The building is said to have influenced from Spanish Colonial Revival style prevalent in 1910s and 20s. This public hall and Shizuoka City Hall also has domes reminding of Islamic domes(Toyohashi has two domes while Shizuoka hall has one). This building was designated as National Intangible Asset in 1998.
Toyohashi Park, opened in 1949 encompassing the most of former Yoshida Castle area such as Honmaru(Main Enlosure), Ninomaru(Second Enclosure) and Sannomaru(Third Enclosure). Until the end of the second world war the area was used as training grounds for 18th Infantry Regiment of Imperial Japanese Army founded in 1884 and perished in Saipan in 1944. The small sentry post at the main gate of the monument of the infantry is one of the things that shows Toyohashi used to be a military base. Current Toyohashi Park is quite a peaceful, relaxing park with art museum, historical monuments, flowers, sports facilities, a swimming pool, a kiddie park and riverside walking trail.
Yoshida Castle ruins lie at the western part of the Toyohashi Park. Although there is no keep right now, dry moat and stone wall structure is beautiful. Particularly the view from the riverside is great. Unfortunately Kurogane Tower, keep-like yagura building is open to public, free of charge, only on Sundays.
Guidebook says it takes six minutes walk from JR Futagawa station to Non-Hoi Park. How could it be! Particularly with children. But 10 minutes walk to the park will be rewarded by seeing the cute dino and animal statues along the road.
Perched atop a hill extension of the mountain range forming prefectural border between Aichi and Shizuoka is a kannon statue. Iwaya Kannon had been and still is one of the major landmarks in Toyohashi for travelers and walkers of Tokaido. The hill area is now a park called Iyaya Ryokuchi (Iwaya Green).
Tateiwa is a crag near the JR Shinjohara station near the prefectural border between Aichi and Shizuoka. This crag is popular among local rock climbers but Toyohashi city officials warn that they cannot be sure whether climbing that crag is safe enough. People who worship the rock as the object of worship also raise the eyebrows for recent rush of climbers fearing climbers could damage the sacred rock.
This natural history museum may consume about 2 hours just going through Paleozoic through Cenozoic section but to get the topographical information of Toyohashi area, maybe you may have to visit this section first. There are two important exhibits you may never miss: 1 Central Tectonic Line booth and 2 Shiokawa Higata exhibit. On Central Tectonic booth you can see the fault line from the sky by pushing the A button. Pushing B button you can enjoy the beautiful seacoast around Toyohashi. And Shiokawa Higata display about 7 minutes is also impressive. This display in Japanese describe the life of Shiokawa Higata(Tidal Flat) during one day. There are also exhibits on Mt. Ishimakisan and Imo Bog, major topographic features around Toyohashi. Also impressive is the exhibits on the rich marine life of Mikawa Bay.
Until the Dinosaur Museum in Fukui was built, this museum was said to be #1 Natural History Museum in Japan. Recently the museum has been doing renovation so that the museum could be up-to-date as much as possible. It had Paleozoic section renovated in 2004, Mesozoic section, 2008. Probably the next renovation will take place in Cenozoic section. But it seems not so immediate future. I got grade A in Earth Science during my high-school days but to fully understand the exhibit even though I understand Japanese seems pretty difficult. For example in Paleozoic and Precambrian era section, there are some 4 billion year stones indicating the first sign of life-form on Earth. This is too up-to-date for me! There are few material for non-Japanese visitors. Museum phamphlet is available in Japanese, English and Portuguese but not Chinese and Korean not reflecting that the park is also popular among them.