The intention of going to Namerikawa at the Toyama Bay was simple. I wanted to catch the Firefly Squids live in action! I’ve seen so many photos of the seasonal phenomenon along the coast, the sea glowing blue in the darkness of the night… I wanted to see that in person! I made this last minute adjustment to the itinerary to take a detour to the Toyama Bay region because April is spawning season for the Firefly Squids!
I took Shirakawago (a day-trip from Takayama) off the itinerary and I have to say… I was disappointed. I’ve only managed to see the squids in the museum, where there was a live demonstration of the squids glowing after being slightly agitated! Sorry squidys, you know I don’t usually like to attend zoos and petting farms, but if not for the museum, I would have made a totally wasted trip to Namerikawa.
Namerikawa is a small town near Toyama, where the Firefly Squid Museum is located.
It’s really small and… pretty dead, even in the daytime. Which was totally fine, because I could cycle quite freely on the roads!
My ride that I loaned from the Sunroute Hotel that I stayed for the night.
The hotel itself was clean and pleasant, apart from the ventilation system which consists only of heating and I had to call someone to help me crank open the window (which was super jammed) a tiny notch so the room would be less stuffy. But the Wifi works perfect!
This is the Firefly Squid kept in a tank, at the museum! Poor dude seems really bored. There are no English explanations or anything for the exhibits in the museum, but the staff were very nice to hand me a simple print out explaining the dos and don’ts of the live show.
This was dinner! Oyako-don made by a mother and son team at a little local eatery. You see, I’m not big on famous eateries… I would much prefer to eat at obscure, hole-in-the-wall kind of local places instead. Losing out on “the travel experience”? I don’t think so. I think the normal local eateries are very nice already, thank you.
Anyway, the plan here was to tour the museum in the day, rest in the room at night and then head out in the early morning (ie. 3am or so) to try ride out to the coast and catch the squids in action… in their natural environment. But unfortunately, I was a few days too early for the big tourist event, when they will launch boatloads of gawkers out to sea together with the fishermen to haul the squids up from the nets set out in the sea. I was ok to miss that, actually. Wasn’t interested in an “orchestrated event” if you know what I mean.
What I didn’t expect was how DEAD the town was. At night, it became really chilly… which was fine. I had my coat, leather gloves and all the warm clothing that I needed for a night ride, plus some snacks and drinks. But the town was absolutely creepy to ride about at night. Namerikawa is a small town, like I’ve mentioned… and what’s left are the old folks and very empty houses.
My mind went a little wild that night as I rode down the quiet streets of Namerikawa. Perhaps a serial murderer would burst out of one of the dark houses and grab me… no one would hear me scream. Perhaps I would fall over the sea wall and die in the cold sea, with no one to save me.
That aside… I couldn’t find an end to that very long sea wall. DAMMIT! I was spooked out by being out alone in a dead quiet place. I posted a Facebook status about how I didn’t feel game enough to continue my hunt… and yeah. Better safe than sorry If I had a car I could really go hunt for the right beach to camp out at.
So that was it! I went back. Took a warm bath (the Peach bath salt that was given to me by the hotel made the water RED. A bit scary actually HAHAHA!) and went to sleep so that I could make the early train to Takayama.
I was disappointed alright. But I did like cycling around the town very much so it was just too bad I couldn’t quite fulfil my intention of seeing the Firefly Squids lighting up the shoreline with their bioluminescence. Ahh the wonders of nature!
However, I would very much like to visit the region again… the Tateyama mountain region is pretty awesome and perhaps one day I’ll bring Jeffwee along to walk on the Kurobe-Alpine Route.