Region
Chubu
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Kanazawa
Population
1,180,935

Ishikawa

Chubu's dignified cultural center

Rich cultural heritage, great seafood and some stunning coastal scenery - if you're into that sort of thing.

Ishikawa Prefecture is a thin strip of land in the eastern Chubu region that looks as though it’s trying to offer the Sea of Japan an elegant hand. Reaching out into the water is the remote Noto Peninsula which boasts breathtaking coastal scenery best viewed from the winding highways that run along the peninsula’s edge. The historic cultural center of Kanazawa with its beautiful Kenroku-en gardens marks the entrance to the peninsula. A handful of beaches, mountains, hot springs, rice paddies and temples are scattered in between – elements that feature in Ishikawa’s rich arts and crafts heritage.

The recent opening of the Hokuriku bullet train line connecting Tokyo to Kanazawa has made access to Ishikawa’s sights much easier. Kanazawa is hugely popular with tourists, drawn to the famed Kenroku-en gardens which are ranked as one of the top three gardens in the country, as well as the picture-perfect former geisha and samurai districts. The reconstructed castle in the center is the city’s dignified landmark with an approach lined by cherry blossom trees.

Southwest of the castle in the Teramachi temple district, you can take a guided tour of Ninja-dera, a former shogun hideout full of secret rooms, trap doors and concealed corridors. In between sightseeing, Omicho Market, a maze of local seafood shops, is a good place for sushi. Kanzawa is also the spot to pick up lacquerware, Ohi pottery and Kutani porcelain souvenirs crafted in the region.

Rent a car if you can and head north into the Noto Peninsula for gorgeous coastal vistas, rural traditions and renowned arts and crafts. On your way to the historic fishing port of Wajima, home to colorful Wajima-nuri (lacquerware), swing by Chirihama for a drive along the beach and some fresh seafood or stop at the Wakura Onsen resort for a quick dip in one of the well-equipped hot springs along the water. Towards the end of the peninsula along the rugged Okunoto coast you can see the 1000 rice fields at Senmaida.

At the opposite end of Ishikawa, south of Kanazawa, you can make like the monks 1300 years ago and discover Kaga Onsen, four hot spring towns close to the holy Mount Hakusan.

 

Places to visit

Kanazawa

Kyoto's rival is a city of as much elegance and historical significance - just more compact.

Shiroyone Senmaida

You didn’t know rice tourism existed — until now.


21st Century Museum of Modern Art

Concoction of tradition and wild, beautiful modern art. A must if you're traveling to Kanazawa.

Kaga Onsen

And after a long day in pursuit of enlightenment, what better way to unwind than a long soak in the onsen?


Kenroku-en

The perfect garden for all seasons.

Myoryu-ji Temple (Ninjadera)

With a nickname like “Ninja Temple,” it’s gotta be good.

Other Destinations in Chubu

Nagoya, Japan city skyline, Aichi Prefecture

Aichi

Aichi prefecture is the dynamic capital of Japanese industrialization.

Karamon Gate in Fukui Prefecture

Fukui

Discover dinosaurs and the art of Zen in fossil-filled Fukui.

Traditional street in Takayama, Gifu prefecture

Gifu

Scenic Gifu prefecture is a rewarding stopping point on the way from Kanto to Kansai.

Monkeys bathing in the onsen in Nagano

Nagano

World-class winter sports, hot springs (occasionally monkey-filled), delicious local food and a foreigner-friendly vibe.

Maruyama rice terraces at sunset, Mie prefecture

Niigata

The rice is right in Niigata prefecture where there's skiing in winter, festivals in summer and sake all year round.

View of Mount Fuji, Shizuoka Prefecture

Shizuoka

It's resorts galore in serene Shizuoka.

Lake Kurobe in Toyama Prefecture

Toyama

Toyama's speciality is mountains and there's no better place to experience them than here.

View of Mt Fuji Yamanashi Prefecture

Yamanashi

Pack a prized Yamanashi piece of fruit in your camping bag and head for the hills.