Toyama, Japan

Set in the middle of Honshu’s western coast along the Sea of Japan, Toyama is capital of its namesake prefecture and center of Japan's pharmaceutical industry. Takaoka Kojo (Takaoka Castle) Park stands on the grounds of the city’s former Edo-period castle; today the expansive lawns welcome visitors with ruins of fortress walls, a small museum, and the Imizu Shrine noted for its torii gate. The park ranks among the top hanami (cherry blossom viewing) sites in the country; take a boat ride along the castle’s old moats lined with cherry trees. Toyama is renowned for its glassware, showcased in the striking Glass Art Museum and Toyama Glass Studio; while the Suiboku Museum focuses on suibokuga, the Japanese art of ink painting. Tucked within the wooded hills just west of the city the Folkcraft Village features numerous exhibits of local arts and crafts, as well as items related to the city’s 300-plus-year history of producing medicines. Take home some traditional Japanese herbal remedies from the historic Ikedaya Yasubei Shoten store downtown.