This compact city is pleasant to explore, with a covered arcade of shops, restaurants and bars. Toyooka is Japan’s largest producer of bags, so head to Caban Street (Bag Street) for bag shopping; there’s even a bag vending machine. But the city is best known for its conservation work, so head to Kounotori Sato Kouen Sanctuary to learn about the work to save the endangered Oriental White Stork.

Designated a national monument, the Genbudo Caves located on the outskirts of Toyooka make an interesting excursion. This is where the reversed polarity of the earth was first discovered in 1926, a process involving the reversal of the Earth’s magnetic poles which has occurred around 170 times during the last 100-million years.

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