At Kagaya, you will be spoiled by the inexhaustible Wakura onsen and pampered by the services. In addition, its strategic local near the Nanao Bay means that guests have plenty of options to customise a special itinerary catering to the individuals' preference and availability of time, giving endless possibilities in exploring the multitude of events and scenic spots in the Noto Peninsula and its surrounding areas.
Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots:
Every year from the beginning to mid-April is the optimal sakura viewing period on Noto Peninsula at the various gardens and nature spots.
Kenroku-en, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, is probably the most famous venue for cherry blossom viewing. It was built in mid-17th century during the Edo period. The promenade garden was constructed with winding footpaths around the lake endowed with beautifully composed sceneries. Come spring every year, there is the amazing view of over 400 sakura trees blooming in unison.
From the JR Kanazawa station, take a 15min bus ride to the Kenroku-en stop and then walk for 1min.
The Noto Kashima station is popularly known as Sakura-eki or the Station of Cherry Blossoms. Dozens of someiyoshino trees that were planted by locals when the station opened in 1932 are lining both sides of the rail tracks. The trees have grown substantially over the past 80 years and with the arrival of spring every year, these trees blossom thereby forming a “sakura tunnel”.
Noto Railway Noto Kashima Station (Anamizu-bound)
In June 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations designated the Noto Satoyama and Satoumi as the first Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), conserving its diversity in traditional farming, forestry, and fishing methods. For example, traditional methods such as “hazaboshi”, or rice sheaves drying on wooden stilts, are still being practiced today. Another example is the clever adaptation of the areas between the paddyfields along mountain slopes and the valley below, and the over 2,000 irrigation ponds. Over time, the development has helped to sustain the ecosystem as well as becoming itself a unique nature sight.
This course takes you to the beautiful landscapes and traditional cultures of Noto, allowing you to immerse yourself in its traditional cultures, techniques, and farming or fishing production.
The annual illumination event Senmaida Light Up (Aze no Kirameki) is held. The rice paddies twinkle in the darkness with 21,000 solar LED lights every night from mid-October and mid-March. The LED lights, each placed manually by local volunteers, change colour every 30 minutes from pink to yellow against the backdrop of the ocean.
*Photo from Noto Airport Promotion Council
The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine (pronounced “Alpen”) Route is known as the “Roof of Japan”. The route passes through the dynamic scenery of Mt. Tateyama in the Japan Alps. It is traversed using a variety of vehicles with an elevation change of 2400 meters from Toyama Prefecture to Nagano Prefecture.
The festival is held in commemoration of Lord Maeda Toshiie’s entry into Kanazawa castle on 14th June in 1583 which laid the foundations of the present day Kanazawa. Every year, it takes place over the first Friday to Sunday of June: on Friday night, the beautifully serene Kaga Yuzen Toro Nagashi takes place by the Asanogawa Ohashi bridge floating the yuzen lanterns down the river; on Saturday, the Hyakumangoku Parade is the highlight of the festival; on Saturday evening, the traditional Takigi Noh dances are performed by 10,000 people outdoor by the bonfire in the park and anyone is welcome to join in on the spot!
On the first Saturday of August each year, 6 massive Kiriko lanterns weighing up to 2 tonnes each carried by 100 men in a parade. It is an exciting and challenging task for the men to navigate through the narrow streets bearing the giant Kiriko and dancing at the same time!
Location: Ishizaki-machi, Nanao-shi
Visitors can watch the 10 meter-tall Kiriko lanterns as well as handheld paper lanterns being carried through the streets along with portable shrines called “omikoshi”. These giant Kiriko is an integral part of the various festivals in Noto. Wajima's Kiriko is particularly magnificent because of its famous Wajima lacquer coatings. As the festival reaches its climax, a special bonfire is lit by the sea, and men fight to get their hand on Gohei (a wooden wand decorated with white paper streamers used in Shinto purification rituals) that fall from the top of the Kiriko. It is believed that anyone who catches the Gohei will succeed in everything he does.
Location: Towns in Wajima City including Kawai-machi (Juzo Jinja Shrine), Fugeshi-machi, Wajimazaki-machi, Ama-machi
In the summer months, the Noto Peninsula sees over 100 festivals and celebratory events. For the most authentic taste of Noto, festivals in August is an event not to be missed! At the festival site, you will find an array of stalls selling local snacks and festival related souvenirs starting in the afternoon.
|JUNE||4th - 5th||Shobuyu Matsuri||Katayamazu Onsen and Yamashiro Spa, Kaga-shi.|
|First Saturday||Sea Harvest Festival||Shirayama Hime Shrine, Tsurugi, Hakusan-shi.|
|First Saturday & Sunday||Wajima Taisai||Wajima city|
|Second Friday to Sunday||Kanazawa Hyakumangoku Matsuri||Kanazawa city|
|Third Sunday||Kannnon Matsuri Hiwatari||Takidanji Temple, Sakai-Shi|
|JULY||First Friday & Saturday||Abare Matsuri||Ushitsu, Noto-cho|
|Second Saturday||Gion Matsuri||Ootokome Shrine, Nanao-shi|
|Third Sunday||Hasebu Matsuri||Anamizu, Anamizu-machi|
|17th, 18th||Hakusan Matsuri||Shiramine-mura|
|18th, 19th||Monzen Matsuri (Gourai Matsuri)||Kushihi Shrine, Monzen-machi|
|20th, 21st||Toroyama Matsuri||Iidacho, Suzu-shi|
|27th||Lovers' Bonfire||Koiji Kaigan, Noto-cho|
|Fourth Saturday||Matsunami Doll Kiriko Matsuri||Matsunami, Noto-cho|
|End||Nakai Matsuri||Nakai, Anamizu-machi|
|End or early August||Dance Competition||Wakura Onsen, Nanao-shi|
|31st||Kouda Fire Matsuri||Kouda, Notojima|
|31st||Nafune Taisai||Nafune-machi, Wajima|
|AUGUST||First Saturday||Issaki Hoh-Toh Matsuri||Ishizaki-machi, Nanao-shi|
|3 days around the first Sunday||Fukui Phoenix Festival||Downtown Fukui-shi|
|6th||Lantern Dance Festival||Iidacho, Suzu-shi|
|7th||Chirico Festival||Mitsuke Coast, Suzu-shi|
|10th, 11th||Sanou-sai||Minazuki Hiyoshi Shrine, Monzen-machi|
|13th||Sunatoribushi Matsuri||Matsunagi-machi, Suzu-shi|
|13th - 16th||Ono Shiro Matsuri||Downtown Ono-shi|
|14th - 16th||3-Night Dance Celebration||Wajima-shi|
|17th||Sosogi Taisai||Sosogi Coast, Wajima-shi|
|17th, 18th||Kuroshima Festival||Wakamiya Hachiman Shrine, Monzen-cho|
|Mid - End||Ichihime Festival||Wajima-shi|
|23th - 25th||Wajima Taisai||Downtown Wajima|
|24th||Improvisation Festival||Ukawa, Noto|
|27th - 29th||Guzuyaki Festival||Iburihashi-machi, Kaga-shi|
Rent a bike from the Wakura Onsen Sightseeing Association for a ride on the 42km cycling route along the coast of Nanao Bay is undoubtedly one of the best ways to enjoy the ocean breeze while taking in the gorgeous scenery of the Japanese countryside. The cycling route is also dotted with various stops and stores.
The calm water in the bay filled with plentiful sea life is also home to the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins. It is believed that two dolphins came to settle in the bay and the family has grown to 11 member-strong. Dolphin-watching excursions can be booked and visitors are required to observe the related viewing guidelines.
In the summer months, the Noto Peninsula sees over 100 festivals and celebratory events. For the most authentic taste of Noto, the Abare Festival in August is an event not to be missed! At the festival site, you will find an array of stalls selling local snacks and festival related souvenirs starting in the afternoon.
Visitors may take a rental bike in Wajima, drop by the Wajima Kobo Nagaya and even take advantage of their hands-on workshops learning the makie (sprinkling precious metal powder) and chinkin (making inlays) techniques. In the traditional wooden building that oozes a soothing ambience reminiscent of old Japan, visitors can observe the various processes in creating Wajima-nuri and even speak to the artisans at work, making it a novel way to appreciate the world-famous lacquerware.
*Photo from Wajima City
Yuzen refers to a traditional technique of dyeing silk fabrics for kimonos or products made with the technique. KyotoYuzen and Kaga Yuzen are famous. Miyazaki Yuzensai established the fundamental technique of yuzen at the beginning of the 18th century.
Kaga Yuzen is characterized by designs of realistic natural beauties in five vivid tones called “Kaga gosai”(literary means Kaga five colors), and it frequently uses gradation dyeing called “bokashi.” A roll of yuzen is completed through complicated processes, such as pattern transfer, paste coating, coloring, steaming, and rinsing. Kaga Yuzen with splendid, fine, beautiful patterns is known as a luxury brand.
Kanazawa's modern Kutani porcelain is based on a revival of Kutani porcelain early in the 19th century. Originally, Kutani porcelain was baked in Kutani Village in the southern part of Ishikawa Prefecture for several decades from the middle of the 17th century. Later, Kutani porcelain leaped to fame when it was exhibited at the 1873 World Exposition. Kutani porcelain has been once exported to the West. Kutani porcelain is characterized by the technique of thickly heaping up paint in five colors, i.e., red, yellow, green, purple, and dark blue and drawing natural beauties boldly. It developed as typical Japanese colorful ceramic ware.
n recent years, not only traditional Kutani porcelain vessels and ornaments but also coffee cups and wineglasses with beautiful Kutani porcelain stems have been manufactured.
The UNESCO World Heritage Gassho-Zukuri historic villages are located in the Shirakawa-go and home to the gassho-zukuri or prayer-hand houses. 300 years ago, local inhabitants in these valleys developed a unique architectural style characterised by timber construction with a steep (up to 60 degrees) thatched roof. The design is exceptionally strong that allows the houses to not only withstand the harsh winds but also shed the weight of heavy snowfalls in winter. It is a spectacular sight to visit the Gassho-Zukuri villages in winter and witness first-hand these joint-palms constructions of wood and thatched roofs without using any nails or metal materials.
With a history dating back over 1200 years, Wakura Onsen is the only hot spring resort along the coast in the Hokuriku region, renowned for its plentiful, top quality spring water. The seafront is lined with ryokans and hotels overlooking the serene Nanao Bay. At the Yuttari Park (Tsumakoibune-no-Yu), visitors can relax after a long day of sightseeing at this free foot bath, enjoying the view of the Notojima Bridge and the vast tranquil ocean while soaking your feet in the soothing spring water.
*Photo from Wakura Onsen Tourism Association