Senmaida Rice Terraces
We hired a car and took a drive along the west coast of Noto Hanto. This is a spectacular drive. We really enjoyed the views of the rugged coastline.
The children's main aim was to see a UFO...part of the drive involves the Chirihama Nagisa Driveway, a strech of beach between the towns of Chirihama and Hakui, where UFO sightings are apparently at a premium! They were sadly disapointed, as there were none out that day!
My object was to visit Wajima, the home of Wajima Laquerware. There is a museum there with laquerware works on display, and others for sale downstairs. We had also wanted to go to the morning market (Wajima is a fishing port) to see the fun, but got there too late.
Further north were the Senmaida Rice Terraces, and the village of Sosogi, where you can visit Tokikuni-ke, built in 1590, and a 'National Important Cultural Property'.
There is a rest stop near the terraces that sells GREAT ice-cream!
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
- Arts and Culture
If you're hiking any mountain, you should be prepared for rain. Hakusan, being on the sea of Japan makes it even more probable. Make sure to bring rain gear and water proof your stuff.
Mountain weather can change quickly, so be ready.
Everyone knows that Mt. Fuji is the most sacred mountain in Japan, but few know that Hakusan, outside of Kanazawa is the 2nd most sacred mountain in Japan.
As well, the hiking season is much longer than Fuji. The hike is easier as well, which is to say it can be done in a day if you're in fairly good shape. Most Japanese do it in 2 days though. They stay at a cabin called Marudo, close to the summit.
The Mountain itself if much better looking than Fuji also.
During the main summer season, you can catch a morning bus from Kanazawa station to the base of Hakusan. You have to go early though, the bus leaves at 5:30am or 6 am. not sure, cause i drove there.
Kazuemachi Chaya District
Instead of heading direct to Higashi Chaya district after alighting at the bus stop, deviate towards this restaurant lined district situated right along the river. Wind through the narrow alleys behind the main walk for some interesting shop fronts. Across the river, walk through a quiet residential area. Stone arched bridges span across the river.
- Hiking and Walking
Kanazawa from the 19th Floor
The West side of Kanazawa offers very little in the way of tourist attractions and is mostly the industrial and government side of the city. However, if you find yourself on the West side of Kanazawa, be sure to check out the Kanazawa city government office. The building is opened for free and the 19th floor is opened for observation of the cityscape in all directions. The 19th floor also hosts various local arts on a rotating schedule. The building is only opened during normal government hours, so the observation deck is usually closed about 5pm so you will be unable to see the city at night.
Frankly, I think you find better things to do with your time especially since Kanazawa isn’t the most dazzling city to see. The price is right though!
The Government building is easy to find because its right off the main road that heads west from the train station. It is the only talk buildings in the area so they should pretty easy to spot. See the photos of the building below so you have an idea of what to look for. They should be about a 5 to 10 minute ride from the west exit of Kanazawa station.
Noto Peninsula Tip #9 Senmaida
Senmaida, or a 1000 fields in a top scenic spot to stop and gaze out on the ocean, or the beautifully staked rice fields. There are usually some merchants around selling little knickknacks and such as well. It’s a great to stop and stretch your legs. The area is very close to Wajima and the village of Sosogi.
Yellow spring flowers
Ok, this is kind of a strange tip, but here goes. If you’re in Kanazawa during early April, you should check out the fields of beautiful yellow flowers (not sure what they7re called) that are used to make cooking oil. The best place to head is CCZ (check out my CCZ tip). Next to the beach are a couple of huge fields of flowers which are perfect for photographing and frolicking. These flowers seem to be harvested rather quickly, so there is a small window of opportunity to see them.
Noto Peninsula Tip #8 Wajima
Most will never get a chance to see any of the wonderful festivals in the Noto area, but you can catch a glimpse of the some the excitement at the Kiriko-kaikan exhibition hall (8-5 600yen). Kirikos are giant paper lanterns, which are displayed here along with videos of some Wajima’s festivals. Defiantly worth it if you don’t have a chance to see the real thing.
Noto Peninsula Tip #7 Wajima
There are a few things in Wajima that deserve some real attention. The main tourist attraction is the morning market (8-11:30) where hundreds of vendors setup on the main street near the port and sell fish, fruit, knickknacks, lacquerware and things like that. It’s a good slice of life and you’re sure to meet some colorful characters and get a chance to try some excellent local food.
Noto Peninsula Tip #6 Wajima
No trip up Noto would complete without a stop over in the peninsula’s largest town, Wajima. The town has many eating options and well as lodging options, so it’s a good place to take a breather.
There are also a few “noteworthy” places to see in the town, most are just mildly amusing though. A good example is the Inachu Gallery (8-5 800 yen) which houses replica art or the Wajima Lacquerware centre, where you can see old lacquerware (8:30-5 200yen).
Noto Peninsula Tip #5 Monzen
Very close to the top of the west side of the Noto Hanto you’ll find the small town of Monzen, which has been particularly hard hit by the great Noto Hanto earthquake of 2007. Rebuilding efforts are on the way, but the town will be scared for a long time to come. There isn’t much to do here, but there is one temple of importance to see, Soji-ji. It’s mostly a reconstruction of older building, but you can participate in meditation sessions if you come at the right time.
You will be forgiven if you pass through to the areas largest city, Wajima.
Noto Peninsula Tip #4 Noto-kongo
Probably the most impressive and beautiful area of Noto Hanto is Noto-kongo, a 16Km section of the coast with unique rock formations. This area has been battered for thousands of year by the harsh unforgiving tide which has cut and shaped the rocks into interesting cliffs and embankments.
Don’t drive it! There are car a few car park areas with free parking, so get out and walk the trails to really appreciate the beauty. Be careful though, the rocks are slippery and it can be a little dangerous.
This location is prefect for lunch (heaps better than Chiri-hama) and a top spot for sunsets.
- Road Trip
Noto Peninsula Tip #3 Myojoji-ji
A few kilometers from Keta-Taisha is the impressive Myojoji Temple, which was founded in 1294 and housed over a dozen buildings. Most of impressive is Goju-no-to, a 34 meter, 5 story Buddhist pagoda completed in 1618. You can not enter the pagoda, but it’s impressive to look at and photograph. The other building of importance is Joroku-do, which contains the temple’s principal image of Shakyamuni Buddha.
Price is 500 yen, which is a little steep, but still worth it. They also have English pamphlets.
- Road Trip
Noto Peninsula Tip #2 Keta-Taisha
A little ways north from Chiri-Hama you’ll find two shrines of importance. The first is Keta-Taisha, a kind of dating shrine. Founded well over a 1000 years ago, however the main structure now dates from about 1865.
Noto Peninsula Tip #1 Chiri-hama
Kanazawa is a great jumping off point if you want to explore Noto Hanto, which is renowned for it laid back atmosphere and scenic beauty. The following collection of tips will guide you through the highlights of the peninsula.
The best way to see the peninsula is by car, but if it’s not an option you can always go by train and bus, yes you will need the combination of the two. The tips outlined here are for going on your own.
The first mildly interesting place is Chiri-hama beach, which is a beach that is packed so tight that any car can drive on it. Expect to find lots of Japanese people hanging around and littering. It’s nice as a brief diversion from the highway but there’s not much to do.
Its free to drive on to, so why not?????
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