Discover Ishikawa Prefecture - Japan

Posted by Crooked Compass

Ishikawa, is a prefecture on the Japanese island of Honshu. Sitting on the coast of the Sea of Japan, the capital city of Kanazawa is home to the perfect garden of Kenroku-en, designed to be beautiful during every season. Highlights of the region include traditional ryokan stays, learning calligraphy, forest farm stays, hot springs, salt farming experiences and more!  A very scenic two and half hour bullet train ride from Tokyo, the prefecture offers the traveller a mixture of traditional character, authentic experiences, raw beauty and a taste of real Japan. So how should you best spend your time in this little slice of authentic Japan...?

Kanazawa Castle || Photo Credit: Ishikawa Prefecture

Inspired by its scenic location being on the waters of Kujuku Bay, guests staying at Hyakurakusa Ryokan can enjoy the ultimate in relaxation. Scenery, food, hot spring water  - everything you experience here is soaked into your senses. A focus on water transcends your experiences throughout, including the opportunity to fish in the property’s exclusive pond and cook your catch as part of a coastal Japanese degustation. Guests can enjoy three spa baths throughout the property, including a cave spa with Noto sea water pumped from 350 metres below ground. An open-view bath allows guests to bathe with a panoramic outlook of the bay, whilst a private bath can be booked for those who seek solace or romantic soaks.

Cave Bath || Photo Credit: Hyakurakusou

Learn the art of authentic Shoko (calligraphy) in an artist’s studio. There is an ancient proverb that says “Words are the voices of your heart. Calligraphy is a picture of it.” The program run by Atelier Tokarin, will guide you on how to best express what is in your heart and mind to produce a work of art that is your own. The Atelier Tokarin sits on a hill overlooking the Goshikigahama beach (Five Colour Beach) and a part of the sea of Japan that the locals say, changes colour five times a day. Surrounded by nature and, on a clear day, with a stunning view of the Tateyama mountain range across the water, it is a perfect place to come and be inspired.

Atelier Tokarin || Photo Credit: Ishikawa Prefecture

Get back to nature and learn about traditional Japanese culture while staying off-the-beaten track in a farming community on the Noto Peninsula. The rural guesthouse takes only one group of guests at a time, during this exclusive experience guests can try their hand at local farming, Zen and traditional local craft making with villagers as a guide. Meal times are a highlight as the Noto Peninsula has a rich culinary culture that extends centuries, with focus on the local, seasonal produce from the hills and the sea, as well as an onsite organic vegetable garden. Immerse yourself in Japan’s rural coastline by taking time to explore the local villages, including a waterfall, temples, shrines and the local fishing port.

Shiroyone Rice Terraces || Photo Credit: Ishikawa Prefecture

Kaga Onsen is a collection of four traditional hot spring villages that is located south of Kanazawa. Our favourite is Yamanaka Onsen, which is a quaint resort located along the Kakusenkei Gorge. The village’s hot springs were discovered more than 1,300 years ago by a monk and are known for producing some of the best waters in the region that are enjoyed by both visitors and locals year-round. The famous haiku poet, Matsuo Basho, spent time in Yamanaka Onsen and applauded the hot springs as some of the best in Japan. He even wrote a haiku about it.

Yamanaka Onsen Spa || Photo Credit: Ishikawa Prefecture

Learn traditional salt farming in Okunoto Shiota Village. Okunoto means “inner part of Noto” and is home to a unique tradition of salt production. In this area of Japan, the locals have been producing salt from sea water for centuries. A visit to Okunoto Shiota Village is not to be missed, it is the only salt field in Japan that has preserved the traditional salt making method of ‘Agehama’. As the name explains, a salt field is a field for making salt, and the field is created by spreading clay on top of a bedrock, then spread sand all over it after the clay has harden. People used the same method to produce natural salt with rich minerals about 500 years ago. Enrich yourself in the Noto region’s coastal landscape with a hands-on experience, making salt from seawater on a deep-sea beach and is available between May and September.

Agehama Salt Making || Photo Credit: Ishikawa Prefecture

For further information on how to makes these experiences yours or to discuss a private touring option to best meet your interests, please contact our expert team. We look forward to helping you create a unique itinerary full of authentic experiences!