Toyooka (豊岡市) is a smaller city in northern part of Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. Toyooka includes the local towns of Takeno, Kinosaki, Hidaka, Izushi and Tanto.
Municipal (junior high) placements are normally as follows, with one placement in Takeno, Kinosaki, Kehi, Izushi and Tanto. While Hidaka and Toyooka central have two municipal placements.
More info to come re - Prefectural ALT placements
Getting In Edit
After Tokyo Orientation you will be broken up into prefectural groups and ride the bullet train down through Osaka and then take a bus to Yashiro. This is where you will be met by a representative of Toyooka, and then travel to your placement. From Yashiro it is about a 2 hour drive, normally you stop and get food in Asago along the way.
You will be hopefully given a chance to stop at a local supermarket before you are dropped off at your apartment or house that night and will told when to be ready the next morning to be picked up to go to the Board of Education to receive your official contract. Even though it will be in the middle of summer, it is recommended that you wear formal attire to this meeting.
Getting Around Edit
By Car Edit
Depending on your placement, you may or may not need to get a car. Takeno, Tanto and Hidaka west are the three places that require driving. But it is heavily suggested that the Kehi and Izushi placements also get cars as even getting groceries can be a long distance away and there are no trains to either. The Board of Education will not provide cars for you, you may be able to buy your predecessors car from them.
Most local ALTs rent cars from Wataki motors, which is in Toyooka near Aity. Naoko is very helpful and speaks English. They will help you set up your insurance and will cover maintenance, snow tires and are very helpful if you get into an accident. The prices can be high for renting though. It is also possible to buy your own car but you will need to cover shakken, tires and the like on your own.
By Train Edit
Again depending on your placement, you may be nearby or very far from the closest station. Local trains are infrequent at times, especially in the evenings to the more rural parts of Tajima. You can take limited express trains like the Konotori or Hamakaze to Himeji or Osaka but these can be more expensive than the local trains but will get you there much faster.
By Bus Edit
Buses around Toyooka are relatively easy to use. If you don't understand Japanese making sure you get on the right bus can be a challenge, so it pays to be prepared with the name of your destination in Japanese if you have to ask for help.
By Bicycle Edit
Biking around Toyooka is a good way to see more of the city. In recent years the laws have changed, you now are required by law to get bicycle insurance which is around ￥5000 per year and if you buy a new bicycle you are required to register it with the police. Most stores will do this for you when you get a new bike. Look for the red sticker on the bike if you are inheriting a bike and make sure you update the ownership with the police. It is very rare but if you are caught riding a bike registered to someone you can be detained.
Also be on the look out for 'gaijin traps', or the deep ditched on the sides of the road. You don't want to bike or drive into them.
Municipal ALTs of Toyooka City are employed by the Board of Education. Within your base school you will have a supervisor which could be your Principal or Vice Principal. There is also an ALT supervisor at the Board of Education but sometimes is it difficult getting in contact with them.
Unfortunately, during the summer, winter and end of year breaks municipal ALTs here are required to still go to their base schools (you might be let go early on some days if you are lucky and have a nice Vice Principal). Sometimes even during days where the students have been told to not come to school because of dangerous weather, you will still be required to go to school or use nenkyuu/annual leave.
Occasionally you will need to work on a Saturday for things like PTA day, sports festival, cultural festival or even sometimes beach cleaning. These days will be replaced with a daikyuu day, that will normally follow on the next regular work day. For example, work Saturday, have Sunday and Monday off. This will vary on your school.
Some ALTs will have visit days to local Elementary schools. These visits can be weekly, bi-weekly or quarterly.
Toyooka is lucky with weather, where it experiences almost every type of weather that Japan has to offer.
In previous years the snowfall in winter has been very heavy but recently it has been light. The snow can be considerable and builds up over night. The local ski fields in Hidaka and Kannabe normally open around Christmas.
Spring is slow to warm but is generally pleasant weather, with Kinosaki being a local hotspot for hanami and Sakura. Following spring is tsuyu or the rainy season, which is normally around June . This is when the typhoons and rain start to hit Toyooka.
While Toyooka is on the northern side of Japan and is mostly sheltered from typhoons we do get them in summer.
Summers in Toyooka are hot and humid. Whether you are out on the coast or in the valleys, you will be hit with the heat. Take care looking out for signs of dehydration and salt depletion. Heatstroke is not pleasant.
Nearby Cities Edit