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.

? The Noto Peninsula was named one of GaijinPot Travel’s Top 10 Japan Travel Destinations for 2018.

Ishikawa Prefecture, located in Japan’s eastern Chubu region, faces the Sea of Japan. Its Noto Peninsula stretches across the water like an elegant hand, boasting 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 Noto Peninsula, and with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen connecting Tokyo to Kanazawa, accessing Ishikawa’s sights is that much easier.

Kanazawa

Kanazawa in Ishikawa, Japan.

Historic districts abound in Kanazawa.

Kanazawa is a popular destination for tourists thanks to beaches, mountains, hot springs, rice paddies, and temples. These are all elements that feature in Ishikawa’s vibrant arts and crafts heritage.

The famed Kenroku-en Gardens is one of the top three gardens in the country. The picture-perfect former geisha and samurai districts are a perfectly preserved glimpse into the past. The partially reconstructed castle, Kanazawa-jo, 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 Myoryu-ji, commonly known as Ninja-dera. The temple is a former hideout of the shogun full of secret rooms, trap doors, and concealed corridors. In between sightseeing, Omicho Market, a maze of local seafood shops, is an excellent spot for sushi. Kanazawa is also the spot to pick up lacquerware, Ohi pottery, and Kutani porcelain souvenirs crafted in the region.

The Noto Peninsula

Chirihama Beach Nagisa driveway

The Chirihama Nagisa Driveway

Take a trip north into the Noto Peninsula for gorgeous coastal vistas, rural traditions, and renowned arts and crafts. Visit the historic fishing port of Wajima, home to colorful Wajima-nuri (lacquerware), and illuminated rice fields during the Senmaida Light Up festival.

When it’s warm, swing by Chirihama for a scenic drive along the beach and fresh seafood. You can also visit sacred Hatago Iwa, a pair of “married” rocks south of Wajima in the sea that are connected by a ceremonial rope. After a day of driving, head to Wakura Onsen (Map) for a quick dip in one of the well-equipped hot springs. 

At the opposite end of Ishikawa, south of Kanazawa, you can make like the monks 1,300 years ago and discover Kaga Onsen, four hot spring towns close to the holy Mount Hakusan.

Plan your trip to Ishikawa with the links below!

Places to visit

Omicho Market in Kanazawa Japan

Omicho Market

Chow down on fresh fish at one of Japan’s liveliest seafood markets, packed with plenty of restaurants.

Kanazawa

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


Myoryu-ji Temple (Ninjadera)

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

Kenroku-en

The perfect garden for all seasons.


Kaga Onsen

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

21st Century Museum of Modern Art

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


Shiroyone Senmaida

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

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Traditional street in Takayama, Gifu prefecture

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Monkeys bathing in the onsen in Nagano

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

Maruyama rice terraces at sunset, Mie prefecture

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