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Ishikawa: Gardens, Geishas, and Coastal Drives

"Ishikawa Prefecture is located in the Hokuriku region of Japan and is characterized by its rich nature and deep history. Kanazawa City, the prefectural capital, is known for its beautiful Japanese gardens such as ""Kenrokuen Garden"" and modern cultural facilities such as ""21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa”. The ""Higashi Chaya District,"" a traditional townscape, is another popular tourist spot. Famous hot springs such as Wakura Onsen and Yamanaka Onsen are also part of Ishikawa's charm. The Noto Peninsula has beautiful natural scenery, and the Chirihama Nagisa Driveway and Noto Kongo are beloved by tourists. Local markets, festivals, and crafts also reflect the strong culture of Ishikawa Prefecture."

Where is Ishikawa?

Kanazawa Area

About 2 hours 30 minutes from Tokyo station by trains.

Kenrokuen Garden

Kenrokuen Garden is a famous Japanese garden in Kanazawa City and is designated as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty by the Japanese government. The garden covers an area of approximately 11.7 hectares and represents the "Six Beauties" of garden design. These include vastness, serenity, artificiality, old-fashioned charm, flowing water, and beautiful views. The scenery is beautiful in all four seasons, with cherry blossoms in the spring and autumn leaves in the fall being especially beautiful. In winter, visitors can see the trees protected by a technique called snow suspension.


Higashi Chaya District

Higashi Chaya District in Kanazawa is a historical district where the culture of the Kaga clan remains strong, and the teahouse district is lined with traditional architecture. This district is known as the place where geishas and maiko entertained guests during the Edo period. Even today, the emotional atmosphere of the streets attracts tourists, and old buildings are used as cafes and stores. Visitors can feel the atmosphere of old Japan, especially when the area is lit up at night, which has a reputation for being beautiful.


21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa is located in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, and specializes in contemporary art. The museum opened in 2004 and features a unique circular design. It exhibits contemporary art works from Japan and abroad, and is particularly popular for its interactive art works and hands-on exhibits. The museum's goal is to provide visitors with new discoveries and surprises by offering new values and ways of thinking through art. There is also a café and store on the premises, making it a place where visitors can enjoy not only the artwork but also the architecture.


Kanazawa Castle

Kanazawa Castle is located in Kanazawa City and is known as the center of the Kaga Hyakumangoku clan. The castle was built in the 16th century and served as the residence of successive Kaga lords. The castle is famous for its white walls and many stone walls, especially for its beautiful architecture and vast grounds. Today, parts of the castle have been restored and are open to the public, and the gardens and surrounding moat have been maintained. Kanazawa Castle is one of the most iconic spots in Kanazawa, loved by many tourists for its history and beauty.


Oyama Shrine

Oyama Shrine is located in Kanazawa City and is closely associated with the Maeda family of the Kaga Domain. The shrine is dedicated to Maeda Toshiie, the first lord of the Kaga clan, and his wife, Matsu. Toshiie is known as a man who contributed greatly to the development of the region, and Oyama Shrine was built to honor his achievements. The architecture of the shrine is gorgeous, and the wooden carvings and decorations are especially appreciated for their beauty. The shrine also attracts many visitors in the spring when the cherry blossoms on the grounds are in beautiful bloom. Oyama Shrine is one of the most important places to experience the culture and history of Kanazawa.


Omicho Market

Omicho Market is a famous market located in Kanazawa City. The market is a popular spot for visitors to experience Kanazawa's food culture; it was established in the 1700s and still attracts many locals and tourists today. The market is lined with stores selling fresh seafood, vegetables, and fruits, and visitors can purchase local specialties. There are also many eateries serving sushi and seafood bowls, allowing visitors to enjoy the tastes of Kanazawa. This lively market is a great place to get a taste of everyday life and culture in Kanazawa.


Yuwaku Hot Spring

Yuwaku Onsen is a historical hot spring located in Kanazawa City. This hot spring has been known since the Edo period (1603-1868) and was used as a purveyor to the lords of the Kaga domain. Located in a quiet mountainous setting, it is surrounded by beautiful nature. Yuwaku Onsen offers many relaxing hot spring resorts, each offering its own unique hot spring water. In addition, there are many historical buildings and spots where visitors can enjoy nature in the surrounding area, offering healing for body and soul to those who visit. Even today, many travelers visit this popular hot spring resort, which combines its traditional charm with modern comforts.


Kaga Area

About 1 hour from Kanazawa station by trains.

Yamashiro Hot Spring

Yamashiro Onsen is surrounded by rich nature and dotted with many hot spring inns. In particular, there are inns with "footbath squares" and beautiful gardens that offer visitors a relaxing experience. The onsen is said to be good for neuralgia, muscular pain, and recovery from fatigue. Yamashiro Onsen is also known for its history and traditions, and is known as a famous hot spring that was once visited by the feudal lord of Kaga. A stroll through the spa town is a great way to experience Japan's onsen culture.


Yamanaka Hot Spring

Yamanaka Onsen has a history of over 1,300 years and is known for being a favorite of successive lords of the Kaga Clan. This hot spring resort is located in a scenic area surrounded by beautiful mountains, where visitors can enjoy the natural beauty of the four seasons. The valley called "Kakusenkei" is especially famous for its autumn foliage. The hot springs themselves are alkaline and gentle on the skin, and are said to be effective in relieving neuralgia, joint pain, and fatigue. In addition, the onsen town is lined with quaint ryokan (traditional Japanese inns), where visitors can experience traditional Japanese hospitality.


Katayamazu Hot Spring

Katayamazu Onsen is a hot spring resort located in Kaga, Ishikawa. This hot spring is located near the Sea of Japan and is surrounded by the natural environment of a lake. The spring water is sodium calcium chloride spring water, which is said to be effective for skin diseases, neuralgia, and relieving fatigue. Katayamazu Onsen is especially popular with families and the elderly, and many accommodations offer family-friendly services. The area is also close to a beautiful coastline that has been selected as one of the "100 best beaches in Japan," allowing visitors to enjoy both the hot springs and the sea scenery at the same time. The hot spring resort is relatively new, and many hotels are equipped with modern facilities.


Awazu Hot Spring

Awazu Onsen is an ancient hot spring with a history dating back 1,300 years. The spring water in this hot spring is sodium calcium chloride spring water, and its benefits are said to be good for neuralgia, muscular pain, joint pain, and relief from fatigue. Awazu Onsen is surrounded by beautiful nature and has a serene atmosphere that offers healing to visitors. In addition, there are many ryokan in the hot spring resort area, where visitors can experience traditional Japanese hospitality.


Kaga Fruit Land

Kaga Fruit Land is a fruit theme park located in Kaga City, Ishikawa Prefecture. The facility allows visitors to experience growing and harvesting a variety of fruits, and is especially popular with visiting families. In addition to the fruit fields, the park also has an area where visitors can interact with animals, including sheep and rabbits. Visitors can enjoy different fruits each season, such as apples, grapes, and strawberries, which they can pick and taste directly. Sweets and juices associated with the fruits are also available for purchase, and visitors can enjoy the fresh taste of nature at this facility. Kaga Fruit Land is well known as a place where visitors can have a good time while enjoying nature.


Noto Area

About 1 hour from Kanazawa station by trains.

Wajima Morning Market

Wajima Morning Market is a market facing the Sea of Japan in Wajima City, Ishikawa Prefecture, and is one of the oldest morning markets in Japan. It is held every morning and has a history of about 1,000 years. Here, fresh seafood, vegetables, fruits, and local crafts are sold. The market is well known by locals and tourists alike as a place to experience local culture and food culture. Currently, due to the Noto Peninsula earthquake that occurred in January 2024, the market is temporarily suspended in Wajima, but market activities continue on a regular basis in Kanazawa. The Wajima morning market plays an important role in supporting local products and offers visitors the opportunity to purchase local foods directly from the market.


Shiroyone Senmaida Rice Terraces

Shiroyone Senmaida is a terraced rice paddy field (terraced farm) located in Wajima City, Ishikawa Prefecture. The area consists of approximately 2,000 rice paddies and is known for its beautiful scenery. The Shiroyone Senmaida is also designated as a national Important Cultural Landscape, and attracts many tourists and photographers, especially during the spring watering and fall rice harvesting seasons. Terraced rice paddies are a traditional farming method that utilizes steep slopes to create rice paddies, and are considered a symbol of the symbiosis between nature and people in Japan. They are still cultivated by local farmers and contribute to the preservation of the local ecosystem and cultural heritage.


Wakura Hot Spring

Wakura Onsen is a famous hot spring resort located in Nanao City, Ishikawa Prefecture, with a history of over 1,200 years, and is known for its beautiful scenery facing the Sea of Japan. The hot spring resort is lined with many inns and hotels and draws many visitors with its abundant hot spring water and its beneficial properties. The spring water is sodium calcium chloride spring water, which is said to be effective for neuralgia, muscle pain, and joint pain. In addition to hot spring therapy, Wakura Onsen is also a popular tourist destination for its seafood meals and sunset views of the Sea of Japan.


Noto Kongo

Noto Kongo is a spectacular coastline located in the western part of the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture. The area is characterized by rugged rock formations and beautiful beaches facing the Sea of Japan, natural sculptures created by wave erosion. Dotted along the coast are rocks of all sizes, whose powerful scenery leaves a deep impression on visitors. Noto Kongo is a popular destination for nature lovers and photographers, who can enjoy a variety of activities such as hiking, walking, and relaxing on the beach.


Chirihama Nagisa Driveway

Chirihama Nagisa Driveway is a unique tourist attraction in Ishikawa Prefecture. It is the only driveway in Japan that allows cars and motorcycles to drive directly on the sandy beach, which is approximately 8 kilometers long. This coastline faces the beautiful Sea of Japan, and on a clear day, the drive can be enjoyed with spectacular views. The sandy beach is very hard and can be driven safely by ordinary cars. Tourists can also park their cars and play in the ocean or enjoy the surrounding scenery. The Chirihama Nagisa Driveway is loved by many visitors for its unique experience.